DoP Seminar - Professor Sarah Garfinkel

16 February 2022, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

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Title: Interoceptive mechanisms to understand and treat mental health conditions

This event is free.

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Abstract: Cognitive and emotional processes are shaped by the dynamic integration of brain and body. A major channel of interoceptive information comes from the heart, where phasic signals are conveyed to the brain to indicate how fast and strong the heart is beating.  This talk will detail how cardiac afferent signals can interact with neuronal mechanisms to alter emotion processing. This interoceptive channel is disrupted in distinct ways in first episode psychosis, schizophrenia, autism and anxiety; specific interoceptive disturbances may contribute to our understanding of symptoms in these clinical conditions, including dissociation and altered affective processing. The discrete cardiac effects on emotion and cognition have broad relevance to clinical neuroscience, with implications for peripheral treatment targets and behavioural interventions focused on the heart.  

Biography: Sarah Garfinkel is Professor at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, where she leads the Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Group. She completed her PhD in Experimental Psychology the University of Sussex, before undergoing a fellowship in Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan. At the Brighton and Sussex Medical School she underwent further training in autonomic neuroscience before transitioning to UCL in September 2020. Her current work focuses on brain-body interactions underlying emotion and cognition in clinical groups, with a particular focus on the heart.