Discourse Scholarship

¿Is Vedanā Interoception?

Is vedanā interoception?

Or is interoception vedanā?

In a 2018 talk on Vedanā (link) @MartineBatchelor referred to @LisaFeldmanBarrett’s book, How Emotions Are Made. She described interoception and asked, “…the question is, is she talking about the same thing [as] me?” [4:29]

Here’s my take:

In HEAM, Barrett says:

“Simple pleasant and unpleasant feelings come from an ongoing process inside you called interoception. Interoception is your brain’s representation of all sensations from your internal organs and tissues, the hormones in your blood, and your immune system.” [pg 121]

Later Barrett describes affect:

“Affect is the general sense of feeling that you experience throughout each day. It is not emotion but a much simpler feeling with two features. The first is how pleasant or unpleasant you feel, which scientists call valence. … The second feature of affect is how calm or agitated you feel, which is called arousal.” [pg 150][Emphasis added.]

What I am understanding is that interoception is the process of the body sending signals to the brain, and the brain using these signals to predict the state of affairs on the body budget. What comes out of this is affect, which is made up of two parts: valence (pleasant/unpleasant) and arousal (calm/excited).

If I’ve got it right then, no, interoception is not vedanā. Interoception seems to be a part of Phassa. But valence, that feels like a pretty strong yes. Valence is vedanā.

Your thoughts?

One reply on “¿Is Vedanā Interoception?”

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