Anterior insula activations in perceptual paradigms: often observed but barely understood
- 806 Downloads
Anterior insular cortex is among the non-sensory brain regions most commonly found activated in functional brain imaging studies on visual and auditory perception. However, most of these studies do not explicitly address the functional role of this specific brain region in perception, but rather report its activation as a by-product. Here, we attempt to characterize the involvement of anterior insular cortex in various perceptual paradigms, including studies of visual awareness, perceptual decision making, cross-modal sensory processes and the role of spontaneous neural activity fluctuations in perception. We conclude that anterior insular cortex may be associated with perception in that it underpins heightened alertness of either stimulus- or task-driven origin, or both. Such a mechanism could integrate endogenous and exogenous functional demands under the joint criterion of whether they challenge an individual’s homeostasis.
KeywordsVisual perception Auditory perception Anterior insular cortex Functional magnetic resonance imaging
We thank Sepideh Sadaghiani for helpful comments on the manuscript. AK received support from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (SPONTACT grant) and PS from the German Research Foundation (Emmy-Noether Programme).
- Benoit MM, Raij T, Lin FH, Jaaskelainen IP, Stufflebeam S (2009) Primary and multisensory cortical activity is correlated with audiovisual percepts. Hum Brain Mapp 31:526–538Google Scholar
- Damasio AR (2003) Looking for Spinoza: joy, sorrow, and the feeling brain. Hartcourt, OrlandoGoogle Scholar
- Kosillo P, Smith AT (2010) The role of the human anterior insular cortex in time processing. Brain Struct Funct. doi: 10.1007/s00429-010-0267-8
- Nelson SM, Dosenbach NUF, Cohen AL, Schlaggar BL, Petersen SE (2010) Role of the anterior insula in task-level control and focal attention. Brain Struct Funct. doi: 10.1007/s00429-010-0260-2