How do you feel — now? The anterior insula and human awareness

  title={How do you feel — now? The anterior insula and human awareness},
  author={A. D. Craig},
  journal={Nature Reviews Neuroscience},
  • A. Craig
  • Published 2009
  • Psychology
  • Nature Reviews Neuroscience
The anterior insular cortex (AIC) is implicated in a wide range of conditions and behaviours, from bowel distension and orgasm, to cigarette craving and maternal love, to decision making and sudden insight. Its function in the re-representation of interoception offers one possible basis for its involvement in all subjective feelings. New findings suggest a fundamental role for the AIC (and the von Economo neurons it contains) in awareness, and thus it needs to be considered as a potential… 

Anterior insular cortex and emotional awareness

A model in which AIC serves two major functions: integrating bottom‐up interoceptive signals with top‐down predictions to generate a current awareness state and providing descending predictions to visceral systems that provide a point of reference for autonomic reflexes is proposed.

The sentient self

  • A. Craig
  • Psychology
    Brain Structure and Function
  • 2010
The neuroanatomical evidence for a progression of integrative representations of affective feelings from the body that lead to an ultimate representation of all feelings in the bilateral anterior insulae, or “the sentient self,” is addressed.

Role of the Insula in Human Cognition and Motivation

The insula is a “hub” where the subjective feelings of humans regulate emotion, cognition, and motivation and a pleasant stimulus induces an action aimed at the persistence of that feeling, while unpleasant interoceptive information leads to avoidant behaviors.

The pathways of interoceptive awareness

It is found that the insula and ACC were not critical for awareness of heartbeat sensations, and this awareness was mediated by both somatosensory afferents from the skin and a network that included the insular and ACC.

Conjoint activity of anterior insular and anterior cingulate cortex: awareness and response

The case that anterior insular and anterior cingulate cortices are crucial, firstly, for the production of subjective feelings and, secondly, for co-ordinating appropriate responses to internal and external events is reinforced.

Emotional moments across time: a possible neural basis for time perception in the anterior insula

  • A. Craig
  • Biology, Psychology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2009
A model of awareness based on interoceptive salience is described, which has an endogenous time base that might provide a basis for the human capacity to perceive and estimate time intervals in the

The insular cortex

All the Self We Need

I use evidence from psychiatric disorders involving the experience of depersonalisation to decompose the causal and cognitive structure of experiences reported as self-awareness.  I combine insights

Interoceptive predictions in the brain

The Embodied Predictive Interoception Coding model is introduced, which integrates an anatomical model of corticocortical connections with Bayesian active inference principles, to propose that agranular visceromotor cortices contribute to interoception by issuing interoceptive predictions.

The Body in the Mind: On the Relationship Between Interoception and Embodiment

An overview over present findings and models on interoception and mechanisms of embodiment is given and its relevance for disorders that are suggested to represent a translation deficit of bodily states into subjective feelings and self-awareness is highlighted.



How do you feel? Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body

  • A. Craig
  • Psychology
    Nature Reviews Neuroscience
  • 2002
Functional anatomical work has detailed an afferent neural system in primates and in humans that represents all aspects of the physiological condition of the physical body that might provide a foundation for subjective feelings, emotion and self-awareness.

The human orbitofrontal cortex: linking reward to hedonic experience

The functional neuroanatomy of the human orbitofrontal cortex is described and a new integrated model of its functions proposed, including a possible role in the mediation of hedonic experience.

Insula of the old world monkey. III: Efferent cortical output and comments on function

A collective consideration of afferents and efferents indicates that the insula has connections with principal sensory areas in the olfactory, gustatory, somesthetic, and auditory AI and AII modalities.

Wandering Minds: The Default Network and Stimulus-Independent Thought

It was demonstrated that mind-wandering is associated with activity in a default network of cortical regions that are active when the brain is “at rest” and individuals' reports of the tendency of their minds to wander were correlated with activity on this network.

Awareness of the Functioning of One's Own Limbs Mediated by the Insular Cortex?

The use of lesion mapping in 27 stroke patients is used to show that the right posterior insula is commonly damaged in patients with anosognosia for hemiplegia/hemiparesis but is significantly less involved in hemipLegic/hemIParetic patients without anos Cognosia, suggesting that the insular cortex is integral to self-awareness and to one's beliefs about the functioning of body parts.

Forebrain emotional asymmetry: a neuroanatomical basis?

  • A. Craig
  • Psychology, Biology
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2005

Neural systems supporting interoceptive awareness

In right anterior insular/opercular cortex, neural activity predicted subjects' accuracy in the heartbeat detection task and local gray matter volume correlated with both interoceptive accuracy and subjective ratings of visceral awareness.