Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What do neuroeconomists think of the insula?

I'd like to know.

From the NYT's story:
According to neuroscientists who study it, the insula is a long-neglected brain region that has emerged as crucial to understanding what it feels like to be human.

They say it is the wellspring of social emotions, things like lust and disgust, pride and humiliation, guilt and atonement. It helps give rise to moral intuition, empathy and the capacity to respond emotionally to music.

Its anatomy and evolution shed light on the profound differences between humans and other animals.

The insula also reads body states like hunger and craving and helps push people into reaching for the next sandwich, cigarette or line of cocaine. So insula research offers new ways to think about treating drug addiction, alcoholism, anxiety and eating disorders.
...
The bottom line, according to Dr. Paulus and others, is that mind and body are integrated in the insula. It provides unprecedented insight into the anatomy of human emotions.
...
The insula itself is a sort of receiving zone that reads the physiological state of the entire body and then generates subjective feelings that can bring about actions, like eating, that keep the body in a state of internal balance. Information from the insula is relayed to other brain structures that appear to be involved in decision making....
...
the insula was “assigned to the brain’s netherworld,” said John Allman, a neuroscientist at the California Institute of Technology. It was mistakenly defined as a primitive part of the brain involved only in functions like eating and sex. Ambitious scientists studied higher, more rational parts of the brain, he said.

The insula emerged from darkness a decade ago when Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist now at the University of Southern California, developed the so-called somatic marker hypothesis, the idea that rational thinking cannot be separated from feelings and emotions. The insula, he said, plays a starring role.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow..great to know such thing.
matter of fact its good to know there is somethin useful in the body:P
but seriously, discovery of things doesnt end..and still things to be discovered up in the near future.
thanks for sharing!

11:12 PM  

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