Interoception our 8th sense, connects us to inner bodily awareness (e.g. pain, thirst, hunger, desire, hygiene & toilet needs, temperature, heart rate, breathing, even our bones, etc.) rather than sensations outside our body (vision, noise, smells, touch, taste and movement).

The difference from noticing the fragrance and colour and sounds during a wak through bue bell woods, to recognising the way it makes you feel? Senses from outside yourself combine with those inside yourself, to give you an over all sense.

Interoception, the perception of sensations from inside the body, also incudes the autonomic nervous system, which houses our emotions.

Autism & Interoception – YouTube

Interoception: The process of sensing signals from the body, like heartbeat, breathing, hunger, or the need to go to the toilet.

What is Interoception and Why is it Important? · Frontiers for Young Minds

Neuroception, the unconscious sense enabling us to notice danger (being with a safe human (a care-giver) or a potential non-safe human (a stranger)). Also, internal body state of safe or dangerous, triggers neurobiologically determined prosocial or defensive behaviours (e.g. knowing I’m about to throw-up, hit out at someone or something etc).

Interoception and neuroception are linked because they each inform the other, but in autism when our attention is taken over we may not notice or be able to name either inner or outer sensory information.

Autism & Interoception – YouTube

What is the word for the sense of signals that come from inside your body, such as feeling your heart beating and your breathing, or knowing when you are hungry? This is called interoception. Interoception is one of our senses, like vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

Most of us have heard of the five basic senses, touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing, but few of us know the term interoception. Interoception means sensing internal signals from your body, like when you are hungry, when your heart is beating fast, or when you need the toilet. You probably do not pay attention to these signals all the time, but if your teacher asks you to give a class presentation or you have just sprinted for the bus, you will probably feel your heart thumping in your chest. Parts of your brain are constantly tracking your internal signals to keep your body functioning properly and to notify you when something changes. For example, your brain might notice you are running low on water, prompting you to feel thirsty and grab a drink. Keeping the body in a balanced, neutral state is called homeostasis.

What is Interoception and Why is it Important? · Frontiers for Young Minds

Interoception is, simply stated, an awareness of the inner state of the body. Just as we have sensors that take in information from the outside world (retinas, cochleas, taste buds, olfactory bulbs), we have sensors inside our bodies that send our brains a constant flow of data from within. These sensations are generated in places all over the body—in our internal organs, in our muscles, even in our bones—and then travel via multiple pathways to a structure in the brain called the insula. Such internal reports are merged with several other streams of information—our active thoughts and memories, sensory inputs gathered from the external world—and integrated into a single snapshot of our present condition, a sense of “how I feel” in the moment, as well as a sense of the actions we must take to maintain a state of internal balance.

All of us experience these bodily signals—but some of us feel them more keenly than others. To measure interoceptive awareness, scientists apply the heartbeat detection test, the one John Coates used with his group of financial traders: test takers are asked to identify the instant when their heart beats, without placing a hand on the chest or resting a finger on a wrist. Researchers have found a surprisingly wide range in terms of how people score. Some individuals are interoceptive champions, able to determine accurately and consistently when their heartbeats happen. Others are interoceptive duds: they can’t feel the rhythm.

Though we may not notice such differences, they are real, and even visible to scientists using brain-scanning technology: the size and activity level of the brain’s interoceptive hub, the insula, vary among individuals and are correlated with their awareness of interoceptive sensations. How such differences arise in the first place is not yet known. All of us begin life with our interoceptive capacities already operating; interoceptive awareness continues to develop across childhood and adolescence. Differences in sensitivity to internal signals may be influenced by genetic factors, as well as by the environments in which we grow up, including the communications we receive from caregivers about how we should respond to our bodily prompts.

Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain | Open Library

Attaching a label to our interoceptive sensations allows us to begin to regulate them; without such attentive self-regulation, we may find our feelings overwhelming, or we may misinterpret their source. Research shows that the simple act of giving a name to what we’re feeling has a profound effect on the nervous system, immediately dialing down the body’s stress response.

Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain | Open Library

Further reading,