Hippocampal dependent neuropsychological tests and their relationship to measures of cardiac and self-report interoception

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Abstract

The hippocampus is involved in interoceptive processing (i.e., perceiving internal bodily states), with much of this evidence relating to hunger and fullness. Here we examine whether cardiac and self-report measures of interoception are related to two measures of hippocampal dependent learning and memory (HDLM) – the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) and Logical Memory. Healthy adults completed a neuropsychological test battery including all of these measures, along with assessments of intelligence and executive function. Biographical, medical and psychological-related data that might confound detecting an HDLM-interoception relationship was also collected. Both measures of HDLM were associated with cardiac interoception after controlling for confounding variables. More accurate cardiac interoception was linked to better HDLM performance. On the self-report measure of interoception, better performance on the RAVLT was associated with better-reported attention regulation, consistent with the hippocampus's known role in mindfulness. Overall, these findings suggest hippocampal involvement in cardiac and self-report interoceptive capacity. The broader functional role of the hippocampus in interoception is discussed.

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