In preceding posts we have looked at various models of emotions in the brain which have allowed the contextualisation of a model of the Insular Cortex. Two early and general models of emotions look at the relationship between emotions and physiological responses to stimuli.
There are at least two ways in which this relationship can happen. We sense a stimulus – a spider for example. When we see the spider we experience fear and our heart starts to race. Or else we see the spider and our heart races and we respond with the sense of fear.
In this simplistic model there would need to be a means of transforming information from physiological responses into emotional experiences. In this context we can start with the hypothesis that the Insular Cortex is a transformer. In just the same way we could also argue that the Insular Cortex transmits information from physiological responses or else that it is the location for emotional experiences.
Regardless of whether this is correct or not, this explicit hypothesis enables us to explore the function of the Insular Cortex and also the question of whether information from physiological responses can be converted directly into emotional experiences or whether one or more transformative steps are required.
There are still a few steps before the contextualised model can be stated.
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