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How do you feel — now? The anterior insula and human awareness

Nature Reviews Neuroscience volume 10, pages 5970 (2009) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The anterior insular cortex (AIC) is implicated in a wide range of conditions and behaviours, from bowel distension and orgasm, to cigarette craving and maternal love, to decision making and sudden insight. Its function in the re-representation of interoception offers one possible basis for its involvement in all subjective feelings. New findings suggest a fundamental role for the AIC (and the von Economo neurons it contains) in awareness, and thus it needs to be considered as a potential neural correlate of consciousness.

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Acknowledgements

I thank J. Allman, L. Feldman Barrett, P. Churchland, M. Paulus and I. Strigo for their comments on the manuscript, and Professor T. P. Naidich for supplying the photograph in figure 1. I am grateful for funds from the James S. McDonnell Foundation and for continuous support from the Barrow Neurological Foundation.

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  1. A. D. (Bud) Craig is at the Atkinson Research Laboratory, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona 85013, USA.  bcraig@chw.edu

    • A. D. (Bud) Craig

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2555

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