Neuroception is a term coined by Professor Stephen Porges and refers to the neural circuit that evaluates risk from cues in the environment. In the stress literature the term perception is often used to describe how it is our perception of threat, rather than an objective evaluation of the stressor that leads to feelings of anxiety. E.g. a potential job interview may lead to feelings of anxiety although it does not pose any real threat to our safety. However Professor Porges states that perception is an inaccurate way to describe the process as the evaluation of environmental cues often occurs outside of conscious awareness.  Faulty neuroception, the inaccurate evaluation of risk where there is no threat, therefore may lie at the root of many difficulties such as anxiety and depression disorders, as well as schizophrenia, autism and reactive attachment disorder. A person may therefore be unable to inhibit defense systems in a safe environment, or they may be unable to activate defense systems in a risky one, or a combination of both.

For more information read Neuroception: a subconscious system for detecting threats and safety