What is the Insular Cortex?

The insula is the site of integration of the signals from the rest of your body systems.  We often refer to this sense as interoception.  Think of it as your Spidey sense. In that way, the insula is the seat of consciousness, your sense of self, managing homeostasis (your internal chemical, temperature, immune and emotional balance).  It also calculates your social emotions based on your body sensations.  Next time you have a gut feeling about someone or you get goosebumps during a scary scene to go with the chills down your back…thank your Insula.

 

Spoiler alert! I know we promised not to peek into the brain networks until later but I couldn’t resist bringing up the relationship between the Insular Cortex and the prefrontal cortex. This is some more advanced stuff that Dr Mani is geeked about so buckle your thinking cap on and take a look:  Differential effects of insular and ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions on risky decision-making.  Check out our introduction to the prefrontal cortex for a quick review of how that

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