Most work on psychosis focuses on hallucinations and delusions but there is good evidence that understanding psychosis requires a deeper consideration of body and self. Our sense of self arises from the integration of multiple brain inputs, including signals from the environment (exteroceptive) and the body (interoceptive). Influential models of selfhood suggest that signals from our heart and other visceral organs provide an important ‘glue’ which binds together the coherent sense of self. While clinical descriptions and theoretical models of psychosis strongly suggest that interoception is significantly disrupted in this condition, there has been little investigation of this thus far. To understand these mechanisms, this proposed PhD project will use state of the art measures of interoceptive processing in individuals with psychosis and examine the integration of interoceptive and exteroceptive signals in shaping the experience of the self.
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