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Visceral perception refers to the ways people feel sensations in their bodies. Perceptions of a stomach ache, a racing heart, or the feelings of needing to urinate are common examples of visceral perception. Historically, it was thought that our internal organs reliably sent signals to our brain so that we could accurately detect the states of our bodies. In recent years, however, it has become clear that our ability to read and understand our bodily cues is as complicated as our abilities to perceive sights and sounds from the outside world.

Visceral perception is only one kind of bodily perception, or interoception. While sitting in your chair reading this article, your brain is processing all sorts of bodily signals. Your ability to “know” that you are ...

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