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See Inside August/September 2007

Where Mind and Body Meet

Conscious physical sensation and conscious emotional awareness come together in the right frontal insula

Do you consider yourself to be emotionally intelligent? Are you empathic, able to read other people's feelings even when they try to hide or swallow them? Or do friends rib you about your social cluelessness? Do people see you as spiritually grounded, emotionally balanced, a rock? Or do they say youre repressed, tactless, juvenile? If you werent in good touch with your own emotional inner world, how would you ever know?

Several years ago nine women and eight men came to Hugo Critchley's laboratory at the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London to explore their level of emotional sensitivity. Critchley, an expert on brain mapping who is now at the University of Sussex in England, was interested in the relation between emotional intelligence and a brain function called interoception--your ability to read and interpret sensations arising from within your own body.

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