What is interoception?
- Information that we get from the internal organs
- Body cues
- Drives us to act
Interoception is the information that we get from our internal organs, and it gives us cues about our bodily state. Understanding these cues and being able to process and integrate them motivates us to act. As Kelly Mahler states, it is the basis for self-regulated behavior. An elementary example is your stomach growling and having a headache. This means you are hungry. You are connecting bodily cues to a feeling and emotion. You then act to regulate yourself by getting something to eat. This is purposeful, regulated, and directed behavior. Interoception is being able to understand ourselves and being responsive to our bodies.
Interoception also allows us to use these feelings as a reference point to connect with others and develop empathy. For instance, you know what hunger feels like; therefore, if somebody else tells you they are hungry, you can empathize with them. This creates perspective-taking allowing us to attune to other people, develop relationships, and ultimately to co-regulate and self-regulate.