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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00180

The interaction between interoceptive and action states within a framework of predictive coding

  • 1General and Experimental Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

The notion of predictive coding assumes that perception is an iterative process between prior knowledge and sensory feedback. To date, this perspective has been primarily applied to exteroceptive perception as well as action and its associated phenomenological experiences such as agency. More recently, this predictive, inferential framework has been theoretically extended to interoception. This idea postulates that subjective feeling states are generated by top-down inferences made about internal and external causes of interoceptive afferents. While the processing of motor signals for action control and the emergence of selfhood have been studied extensively, the contributions of interoceptive input and especially the potential interaction of motor and interoceptive signals remain largely unaddressed. Here, we argue for a specific functional relation between motor and interoceptive awareness. Specifically, we implicate interoceptive predictions in the generation of subjective motor-related feeling states. Furthermore, we propose a distinction between reflexive and pre-reflexive modes of agentic action control and suggest that interoceptive input may affect each differently. Finally, we advocate the necessity of continuous interoceptive input for conscious forms of agentic action control. We conclude by discussing further research contributions that would allow for a fuller understanding of the interaction between agency and interoceptive awareness.

Keywords: predictive coding, motor control, Embodied selfhood, interoception, agency

Received: 17 Oct 2017; Accepted: 02 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Ezequiel Morsella, San Francisco State University, United States

Reviewed by:

Henrik Svensson, University of Skövde, Sweden
Bruno Lara, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Mexico  

Copyright: © 2018 Marshall, Gentsch and Schütz-Bosbach. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Amanda C. Marshall, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, General and Experimental Psychology, Munich, Germany, amanda.marshall89@gmail.com