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Marshall, Amanda C.; Gentsch, Antje; Schütz-Bosbach, Simone (2018): The Interaction between Interoceptive and Action States within a Framework of Predictive Coding. In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 9, 180


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.