The Insular Cortex is part of the brain that is involved in integrating sensory information as well as appearing to play a significant role in emotions. The Insular Cortex was initially referred to as the Island of Reil after Johann Reil, the father of Psychiatry who first identified this part of the brain. I wrote this piece in 2008 when initially developing a model of the Insular Cortex. The model was based on the findings from a few research studies. These were simple beginnings. Since then I reviewed some of the work of A (Bud) Craig who has written some comprehensive pieces on the Insular Cortex in Journals including Nature Reviews Neuroscience (see here, here and here). Craig’s model of the Insular Cortex is fairly sophisticated and I thought it would provide a useful starting point for revisiting a model of the Insular Cortex.
In the 2009 paper ‘How Do You Feel Now? The Anterior Insula and Human Awareness‘, Craig outlines his model of the Insular Cortex based on his research work in the field of neurophysiology and his integration of various lines of scientific inquiry. He focuses on a role for the Anterior Insular Cortex in awareness and references both the James-Lange theory and the ‘Somatic Marker‘ hypothesis of Damasio. In this paper, Craig looks at the Von Economo Neurons which he proposes as a substrate for consciousness. Whether this is the case or not, Craig’s analysis here is multilayered with the most basic layers in his model being based on physiological studies. At higher levels in the model just as with the human nervous system increasing degrees of complexity mean that the analysis is correspondingly complex.
(To be continued)
Insular Cortex Resources on this Site
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