Interoception and Decision-making: Testing the somatic marker hypothesis

Dr Jennifer Murphy (primary)
Royal Holloway, University of London
Prof Thalia Eley (secondary)
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre
King’s College London


This project tests the hypothesis that interoception (the perception of the body’s internal state) plays a fundamental role in decision-making. By utilising multiple, interdisciplinary techniques to address this question, including genetics, longitudinal modelling, casual inference methods, physiology, electroencephalography and machine learning, this project will provide the most comprehensive test of the somatic marker hypothesis to date. This project will shed light on individual differences in decision-making and interoception and the extent to which these factors are related at the genetic, behavioural and neuroscientific level, contributing to theory concerning the role of interoception in decision-making.


1 Damasio, A. (1994). Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (Putnam, New York).
2 Werner, N. S., Jung, K., Duschek, S., & Schandry, R. (2009). Enhanced cardiac perception is associated with benefits in decision‐making. Psychophysiology, 46(6), 1123-1129.
3 Dunn, B. D., Galton, H. C., Morgan, R., Evans, D., Oliver, C., Meyer, M., … & Dalgleish, T. (2010). Listening to your heart: How interoception shapes emotion experience and intuitive decision-making. Psychological science, 21(12), 1835-1844.
4 Kandasamy, N., Garfinkel, S. N., Page, L., Hardy, B., Critchley, H. D., Gurnell, M., & Coates, J. M. (2016). Interoceptive ability predicts survival on a London trading floor. Scientific reports, 6(1), 1-7.
5 Davies, J. L., & Turnbull, O. H. (2011). Affective bias in complex decision-making: Modulating sensitivity to aversive feedback. Motivation and Emotion, 35(2), 235-248.

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
GeneticsMathematics / StatisticsSimulation / Modelling