, Volume 214, Issue 5-6, pp 645-653

Risk and risk prediction error signals in anterior insula

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Abstract

Most accounts of the function of anterior insula in the human brain refer to concepts that are difficult to formalize, such as feelings and awareness. The discovery of signals that reflect risk assessment and risk learning, however, opens the door to formal analysis. Hitherto, activations have been correlated with objective versions of risk and risk prediction error, but subjective versions (influenced by pessimism/optimism or risk aversion/tolerance) exist. Activation in closely related cortical structures has been found to be both objective (anterior cingulate cortex) and subjective (inferior frontal gyrus). For this quantitative analysis of uncertainty-induced neuronal activation to further understanding of insula’s role in feelings and awareness, however, formalization and documentation of the relation between uncertainty and feelings/awareness will be needed. One obvious starting point is the link with failure anxiety and error awareness.