Published:  2020-10-02

Preoccupied with the body: mild stress amplifies the relation between rumination and interoception

Authors:  Caroline Schlinkert, Beate M. Herbert, Nicola Baumann, Sander L. Koole

Tags:  State orientation, body perception, dimensions of interoception, heartbeat perception, self-control

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Classic and modern emotion theories suggest that the perception of bodily sensations, or interoception, is foundational to emotion processing. The present research examined whether interoception is enhanced among people high in ruminative tendencies, especially under stress. To test this notion, the present research examined the effects of a mild stressor on subjective and objective measures of interoception among people varying in ruminative tendencies. Under conditions of mild stress, rumination was positively associated with self-reported private body consciousness -a marker of interoceptive sensibility- in Study 1 (N = 312) and with heartbeat detection accuracy (especially in the presence of auditory interference) in Study 2 (N = 180). In both studies, rumination was not significantly associated with interoceptive sensibility or accuracy in the absence of stress. These findings suggest that stress-induced amplification of bodily sensations may be important in explaining emotional dysregulation among chronic ruminators.