Prospective memory mediated by interoceptive accuracy: A psychophysiological approach

Satoshi Umeda, Saiko Tochizawa, Midori Shibata, Yuri Terasawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies on prospective memory (PM), defined as memory for future intentions, suggest that psychological stress enhances successful PM retrieval. However, the mechanisms underlying this notion remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that PM retrieval is achieved through interaction with autonomic nervous activity, which is mediated by the individual accuracy of interoceptive awareness, as measured by the heartbeat detection task. In this study, the relationship between cardiac reactivity and retrieval of delayed intentions was evaluated using the event-based PM task. Participants were required to detect PM target letters while engaged in an ongoing 2-back working memory task. The results demonstrated that individuals with higher PM task performance had a greater increase in heart rate on PM target presentation. Also, higher interoceptive perceivers showed better PM task performance. This pattern was not observed for working memory task performance. These findings suggest that cardiac afferent signals enhance PM retrieval, which is mediated by individual levels of interoceptive accuracy. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Interoception beyond homeostasis: affect, cognition and mental health’.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20160005
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1708
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 19


  • Autonomic nervous activity
  • Cardiac reactivity
  • Interoception
  • Prospective memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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