Researchers find a way to test and know how much babies are aware of their bodies’ internal signals. In this regard, it’s important to be known that interoception means the ability to consciously sense signals from your body.
Some people are more aware of these signals than others. A wide range of psychological processes are influenced by these differences between people. That includes how strongly you feel emotions, your decision-making, and mental health.
It’s really important to be aware of internal signals and how this ability differs among people. This is what Professor Manos Tsakiris from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway refers to.
He adds that despite the fact they know that this type of awareness plays a crucial role in cognition in adulthood. They know practically nothing about how its early developmental origins.
Thus, many questions are asked such as How and when does this ability develop? And how does this influence who we are as adults?
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Babies at age of 5 months feel their heart beats
For the first time, this ability could be measured by the researchers through creating a new test called IBEATS. They found that babies as young as five months old are able to sense their own heartbeats.
Dr. Lara Maister, also at Royal Holloway and the Warburg Institute, at the School of Advanced Study explains that they created a new experiment to see if young children were using interoception.
As if someone get butterflies before a speech, or he feel the heart thumping in his chest when he is scared, he is actually using the skill of interoception.
Thus researchers create a new experiment to see if young children were using interoceptin so they could see when these skill develop.
From the past till now, it has been difficult to understand how babies process internal signals. There has been no way to measure interoception in infants.
The researchers measured whether infants can discriminate between an animated character moving in synchrony or out of synchrony with their own heartbeat.
At their early age, infants preferred to watch the character that was moving out of synchrony. As infants are sensitive to their own interoceptive signals.
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Babies reflects your emotions
The test declares that some babies were more sensitive than others. The brain activity is measured by the researchers. As well, the infants who had shown a strong preference in the iBEATS task also showed a larger brain signal known as the Heart-Evoked Potential (or HEP) that refers to how the brains process signals from the heart.
Hence, when babies saw people making negative facial expressions like fear and anger, this special interoceptive brain signal got stronger. This makes us be sure that the way babies experience emotions might be closely linked to their bodies’ responses.