Acute cortisol response to a psychosocial stressor is associated with heartbeat perception

Shunta Maeda, Hiroyoshi Ogishima, Hironori Shimada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of an acute increase in cortisol in response to a psychosocial stressor on heartbeat perception, in a laboratory environment. Thirty-six participants (20 women, 16 men, mean age = 21.7 years, standard deviation = 1.7 years) completed a heartbeat counting task (Schandry paradigm) before and after exposure to an acute psychosocial stressor (Trier Social Stress Test; TSST). Heartbeat counting performance was compared between participants who exhibited strong cortisol responses (>15.5% increase in cortisol from baseline; responders) and those who did not (non-responders). Responders showed increased heartbeat counting accuracy following the TSST, which was not observed in non-responders. The two groups did not differ in their responsivity to subjective anxiety ratings or heart rate. These results indicated that acutely elevated cortisol in response to a psychosocial stressor is associated with increased interoceptive accuracy. The results provide a possible explanation for inconsistent findings on the effect of stress exposure on interoception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-138
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 1



  • Anxiety
  • Cortisol
  • Heartbeat perception
  • Interoception
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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