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Insula, the center of awareness threat detection

 
Mister Y
User ID: 32424032
Romania
01/29/2013 10:33 AM
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Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
The insulae are believed to be involved in consciousness and play a role in diverse functions usually linked to emotion or the regulation of the body's homeostasis. These functions include perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience.
The right anterior insula aids interoceptive awareness of body states, such as the ability to time one's own heart beat. Moreover, greater right anterior insular gray matter volume correlates with increased accuracy in this subjective sense of the inner body, and with negative emotional experience.[2] It is also involved in the control of blood pressure,[3] particularly during and after exercise,[3] and its activity varies with the amount of effort a person believes they are exerting.[4][5]
The insular cortex also is where the sensation of pain is judged as to its degree.[6] Further, the insula is where a person imagines pain when looking at images of painful events while thinking about them happening to one's own body.[7]
It has been identified as playing a role in the experience of bodily self-awareness,[36][37] sense of agency[38] and sense body ownership.
A study using magnetic resonance imaging found that the right anterior insula was significantly thicker in people who meditate.[48]
Another study using voxel-based morphometry and MRI on experienced Vipassana meditators was done to extend the findings of Lazar et al., which found increased grey matter concentrations in this and other areas of the brain in experienced meditators.
[link to en.wikipedia.org]

Neural Responses to Unattended Products Predict Later Consumer Choices
Distributed activation patterns in the insula and the medial prefrontal cortex were found to reliably encode subsequent choices in both the high and the low attention group. Importantly, consumer choices could be predicted equally well in the low attention as in the high attention group.
This suggests that neural evaluation of products and associated choice-related processing does not necessarily depend on attentional processing of available items. Overall, the present findings emphasize the potential of implicit, automatic processes in guiding even important and complex decisions.
[link to www.jneurosci.org]

In the younger adults, an area of the brain called the anterior insula was active when they were examining all the faces, but especially when looking at those with expressions or characteristics that people associate with being untrustworthy. This brain region did not activate nearly so much in the older people.
“Their brains are not saying 'be wary,' as the brains of the younger adults are,” Taylor said.
“Thus, a diminished ‘gut’ response to cues of untrustworthiness may partially underlie older adults’ vulnerability to fraud,” the team concluded in the report.
[link to vitals.nbcnews.com]

Maltreated children show same pattern of brain activity as combat soldiers
Scientists at UCL in collaboration with the Anna Freud Centre, found that exposure to family violence was associated with increased brain activity in two specific brain areas (the anterior insula and the amygdala) when children viewed pictures of angry faces.
Previous fMRI studies that scanned the brains of soldiers exposed to violent combat situations have shown the same pattern of heightened activation in these two areas of the brain, which are associated with threat detection.
[link to medicalxpress.com]

Damage to the Insula Disrupts Addiction to Cigarette Smoking
[link to www.sciencemag.org]

Smokers with a damaged insula - a region in the brain linked to emotion and feelings - quit smoking easily and immediately, according to a study in the Jan. 26 issue of the journal Science.
[link to www.news-medical.net]

My great-grandmother suffered from insula damage in the form of dementia. Thankfully, she lived a normal life until the old age of 93, when the condition set in and life changed dramatically for both her and my grandmother, who had to take care of her.

I have a friend who was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease.
The disease has now damaged her insula. She has trouble not only with knowing what is normally disgusting but also with recognizing looks of disgust on the faces of others. Her doctor said a clinical study revealed that Huntington’s has had this effect on many patients’ insulas.
Further damage to her insula has caused her to act on impulse. She frequently has outbursts of emotion and acts without thinking.
[link to www.wisegeek.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 32424032
Romania
01/29/2013 10:40 AM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
The insulae are believed to be involved in consciousness and play a role in diverse functions usually linked to emotion or the regulation of the body's homeostasis. These functions include perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience.
The right anterior insula aids interoceptive awareness of body states, such as the ability to time one's own heart beat. Moreover, greater right anterior insular gray matter volume correlates with increased accuracy in this subjective sense of the inner body, and with negative emotional experience.[2] It is also involved in the control of blood pressure,[3] particularly during and after exercise,[3] and its activity varies with the amount of effort a person believes they are exerting.[4][5]
The insular cortex also is where the sensation of pain is judged as to its degree.[6] Further, the insula is where a person imagines pain when looking at images of painful events while thinking about them happening to one's own body.[7]
It has been identified as playing a role in the experience of bodily self-awareness,[36][37] sense of agency[38] and sense body ownership.
A study using magnetic resonance imaging found that the right anterior insula was significantly thicker in people who meditate.[48]
Another study using voxel-based morphometry and MRI on experienced Vipassana meditators was done to extend the findings of Lazar et al., which found increased grey matter concentrations in this and other areas of the brain in experienced meditators.
[link to en.wikipedia.org]

Neural Responses to Unattended Products Predict Later Consumer Choices
Distributed activation patterns in the insula and the medial prefrontal cortex were found to reliably encode subsequent choices in both the high and the low attention group. Importantly, consumer choices could be predicted equally well in the low attention as in the high attention group.
This suggests that neural evaluation of products and associated choice-related processing does not necessarily depend on attentional processing of available items. Overall, the present findings emphasize the potential of implicit, automatic processes in guiding even important and complex decisions.
[link to www.jneurosci.org]

In the younger adults, an area of the brain called the anterior insula was active when they were examining all the faces, but especially when looking at those with expressions or characteristics that people associate with being untrustworthy. This brain region did not activate nearly so much in the older people.
“Their brains are not saying 'be wary,' as the brains of the younger adults are,” Taylor said.
“Thus, a diminished ‘gut’ response to cues of untrustworthiness may partially underlie older adults’ vulnerability to fraud,” the team concluded in the report.
[link to vitals.nbcnews.com]

Maltreated children show same pattern of brain activity as combat soldiers
Scientists at UCL in collaboration with the Anna Freud Centre, found that exposure to family violence was associated with increased brain activity in two specific brain areas (the anterior insula and the amygdala) when children viewed pictures of angry faces.
Previous fMRI studies that scanned the brains of soldiers exposed to violent combat situations have shown the same pattern of heightened activation in these two areas of the brain, which are associated with threat detection.
[link to medicalxpress.com]

Damage to the Insula Disrupts Addiction to Cigarette Smoking
[link to www.sciencemag.org]

Smokers with a damaged insula - a region in the brain linked to emotion and feelings - quit smoking easily and immediately, according to a study in the Jan. 26 issue of the journal Science.
[link to www.news-medical.net]

My great-grandmother suffered from insula damage in the form of dementia. Thankfully, she lived a normal life until the old age of 93, when the condition set in and life changed dramatically for both her and my grandmother, who had to take care of her.

I have a friend who was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease.
The disease has now damaged her insula. She has trouble not only with knowing what is normally disgusting but also with recognizing looks of disgust on the faces of others. Her doctor said a clinical study revealed that Huntington’s has had this effect on many patients’ insulas.
Further damage to her insula has caused her to act on impulse. She frequently has outbursts of emotion and acts without thinking.
[link to www.wisegeek.com]
 Quoting: Mister Y 32424032


In the current study, we employed the mini Ultimatum Game (Falk, Fehr, & Fischbacher, 2003) to examine responder behavior to unfair offers of varying degrees of intentionality.
Sixty-eight participants from four age groups (10-, 13-, 15-, and 20-year-olds) carried out the task while fMRI data were acquired. Participants of all ages showed activation
in the bilateral insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) during rejection of unintentional but acceptance of intentional unfair offers. Rejection of unintentional
unfair offers further involved increasing activation with age in the temporoparietal junction and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These findings provide evidence for an
early developing insula-dACC network involved in detecting personal normviolations and gradually increasing involvement of temporal and prefrontal brain regions related to intentionality considerations in social reasoning.
[link to www.danube-foundation.eu]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 33273507
Romania
01/29/2013 12:45 PM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
Brain Changes May Help Explain Why Old People Get Scammed
Despite long experience with the ways of the world, older people are especially vulnerable to fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), up to 80 percent of scam victims are over 65. One explanation may lie in a brain region that serves as a built-in crook detector. Called the anterior insula, this structure — which fires up in response to the face of an unsavory character — is less active in older people, possibly making them less cagey than younger folks, a new study finds.
[link to www.wired.com]

Inside the Shopping Brain
Humans have evolved to pay attention to the messages the insula sends, with the result that it hurts to pay cash. There is no such feeling of loss when you pay with plastic, so the insula doesn't react. Credit cards anesthetize the otherwise painful act of paying.
When a price seems too high, as more and more bargain-crazed consumers are concluding about more and more products, the region that anticipates loss and registers disgust—the insula again—turns on, telling you to move away from the overpriced laptop. With consumers demanding bargains, that activity overwhelms the brain's pleasure-anticipating center, called the nuclear accumbens, which turns on when you see something desirable. The relative power of the insula and the nuclear accumbens determines whether you buy or not. That, in turn, reflects people's temperaments and habits—self-indulgence, compulsive shopping, self-denial and the like—as well as the messages they get from the environment.
[link to www.thedailybeast.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 33273507
Romania
01/29/2013 12:53 PM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
Girls with conduct disorder also had less grey matter in an area of the brain called the insula - linked to emotion and understanding your own emotions.
However the same area was larger in boys with conduct disorder than healthy peers, and researchers are not yet sure why that is the case.
[link to www.bbc.co.uk]

The more intense the sadists thought the pain was, the greater their activation in another brain region called the insula, which is involved with monitoring one’s own feelings and body states.
“When you feel something like disgust, pain, pleasure, even orgasm, the insula plays a critical role to bring those bodily emotions to awareness,” Decety says.
[link to healthland.time.com]

Of particular interest, the insula processes and gives us interpretive information about future things that have not actually happened yet enabling us to act in an "as-if" fashion, or said another way, in anticipation. Meaning, a sex addicted individual who walks around in a fairly constant state of shame for their prior bad acts of utilizing the services of a prostitute for example, while even passing through a neighborhood or section of town that is known for prostitution, will light up their insula like the fourth of July in anticipation of seeing the prostitute, knowing, on a non-intuitive but somewhat aware level, that once the insula is lit, a deep co-mingling of sexual excitement and intense shame will be triggered based upon the memory of having visited with prostitutes before.
[link to thesexaddictedbrain.typepad.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 33000139
Romania
01/29/2013 01:29 PM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
MRI study finds that depression uncouples brain’s hate circuit
The hate circuit was first clearly identified in 2008 by UCL Professor Semir Zeki who found that a circuit which seemed to connect three regions in the brain (the superior frontal gyrus, insula and putamen) when test subjects were shown pictures of people they hated.
The new University of Warwick led research found that in significant numbers of the depressed test subjects they examined by fMRI that this hate circuit had become decoupled. Those depressed people also seemed to have experienced other significant disruptions to brain circuits associated with; risk and action, reward and emotion, and attention and memory processing. The researchers found that in the depressed subjects:
The Hate circuits were 92% per cent likely to be decoupled
The Risk/Action circuit was 92% likely to be decoupled
The Emotion/Reward circuit was 82% likely to be decoupled
[link to www2.warwick.ac.uk]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 33282686
Romania
01/29/2013 05:55 PM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
Girls with conduct disorder also had less grey matter in an area of the brain called the insula - linked to emotion and understanding your own emotions.
However the same area was larger in boys with conduct disorder than healthy peers, and researchers are not yet sure why that is the case.
[link to www.bbc.co.uk]

The more intense the sadists thought the pain was, the greater their activation in another brain region called the insula, which is involved with monitoring one’s own feelings and body states.
“When you feel something like disgust, pain, pleasure, even orgasm, the insula plays a critical role to bring those bodily emotions to awareness,” Decety says.
[link to healthland.time.com]

Of particular interest, the insula processes and gives us interpretive information about future things that have not actually happened yet enabling us to act in an "as-if" fashion, or said another way, in anticipation. Meaning, a sex addicted individual who walks around in a fairly constant state of shame for their prior bad acts of utilizing the services of a prostitute for example, while even passing through a neighborhood or section of town that is known for prostitution, will light up their insula like the fourth of July in anticipation of seeing the prostitute, knowing, on a non-intuitive but somewhat aware level, that once the insula is lit, a deep co-mingling of sexual excitement and intense shame will be triggered based upon the memory of having visited with prostitutes before.
[link to thesexaddictedbrain.typepad.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 33273507


The insula plays a key role in recognizing violations of social norms, as well as in experiencing anger, fear, empathy and disgust. Psychopathic behavior is by definition insensitive to social expectations, and as described earlier, psychopaths can have unusually high disgust thresholds,
tolerating repellent smells and images with equanimity.
The insula is also involved in pain perception. Studies of psychopaths—including one in which subjects got electric shocks—find that, under certain conditions, they are strikingly unfazed by the threat of pain; they also have trouble noticing their errors and adjusting their behavior accordingly
(which helps to explain the self-defeating way that psychopaths land in jail repeatedly, unable to learn from past mistakes).
[link to cicn.vanderbilt.edu]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 33282686
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01/29/2013 06:02 PM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
All elite athletes train hard, possess great skills and stay mentally sharp during competition. But what separates a gold medalist from an equally dedicated athlete who comes in 10th place? A small structure deep in the brain may give winners an extra edge.

Recent studies indicate that the brain's insular cortex may help a sprinter drive his body forward just a little more efficiently than his competitors. This region may prepare a boxer to better fend off a punch his opponent is beginning to throw as well as assist a diver as she calculates her spinning body's position so she hits the water with barely a splash. The insula, as it is commonly called, may help a marksman retain a sharp focus on the bull's-eye as his finger pulls back on the trigger and help a basketball player at the free-throw line block out the distracting screams and arm-waving of fans seated behind the backboard.

The insula does all this by anticipating an athlete's future feelings, according to a new theory. Researchers at the OptiBrain Center, a consortium based at the University of California, San Diego, and the Naval Health Research Center, suggest that an athlete possesses a hyper-attuned insula that can generate strikingly accurate predictions of how the body will feel in the next moment. That model of the body's future condition instructs other brain areas to initiate actions that are more tailored to coming demands than those of also-rans and couch potatoes.

This heightened awareness could allow Olympians to activate their muscles more resourcefully to swim faster, run farther and leap higher than mere mortals. In experiments published in 2012, brain scans of elite athletes appeared to differ most dramatically from ordinary subjects in the functioning of their insulas. Emerging evidence now also suggests that this brain area can be trained using a meditation technique called mindfulness—good news for Olympians and weekend warriors alike.

[link to www.smithsonianmag.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1540313
United States
01/30/2013 04:00 PM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
thanks for this interesting post.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 33098741
Argentina
01/30/2013 08:30 PM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
hmm

wait wat?
TastyThoughts

User ID: 1308649
United States
01/30/2013 08:48 PM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
This is a great Thread,
Biofeedback for your consideration, too:

Biofeedback is the process of gaining greater awareness of many physiological functions............
"They cannot see what's-up if They are looking down." (TastyThoughts)
"Something is smelly! Something is smelly, like an old barnacle encrusted shoe washing ashore in the middle of summer." (TastyThoughts)
"Yes happy Earth day. Now go tell the wicked to stop damaging the Human Species therefore/and the Earth; For, they are discombobulating the entire Universe and upsetting the Most High God." (TastyThoughts)
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 41283965
Romania
11/26/2013 04:23 AM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
Dopamine impacts your willingness to work
“Go-getters” who are willing to work hard for rewards had higher release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in areas of the brain known to play an important role in reward and motivation, the striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. On the other hand, “slackers” who are less willing to work hard for a reward had high dopamine levels in another brain area that plays a role in emotion and risk perception, the anterior insula.The role of dopamine in the anterior insula came as a complete surprise to the researchers. The finding was unexpected because it suggests that more dopamine in the insula is associated with a reduced desire to work, even when it means earning less money.
Easy tasks earned $1 while the reward for hard tasks ranged up to $4.
[link to news.vanderbilt.edu]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 41283965
Romania
11/26/2013 04:25 AM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
Brain activation and sexual arousal in healthy, heterosexual males
The large and significant activation in the right insula/subinsular region (including the claustrum) is strikingly similar to findings reported in PET studies of male sexual arousal.
Activation observed in the insula in the present study may reflect somatosensory processing and recognition of erection.
Appetites and desires aroused by viewing erotic films -- cingulate cortex and insular cortex are very much engaged so that we can feel the excitement.
[link to willcov.com]

Visual sexual stimulation was associated with increased regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in the inferior temporal cortex, the right insula and right inferior frontal cortex, and the left anterior cingulate cortex.
Strong activations were revealed when penile turgidity was used as a regressor. The largest and most significant region of activation was the right subinsular/insula region, including the claustrum.
[link to brain.oxfordjournals.org]
Anonymous Coward
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11/26/2013 04:36 AM
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Re: Insula, the center of awareness threat detection
The posterior parts of the insula are activated by desire and the anterior parts of the insula are activated by more romantic stimuli. The middle portion of the insula was activated when a subject was with someone they loved and desired.
The same part of the insula was activated in rats that had pair bonded as humans.
[link to metronews.ca]

Having a bigger, juicier, busier insula can help you be better able to experience all of the fantastic bodily sensations and changes that are part of the real deal in sex, in ways that can seem magnified compared to the way you've been feeling them if you've been underutilizing your insula.
When your insula is more active, you're better at expressing your feelings through your body, as well as perceiving the emotions of your partner through his or her body.
If your mind and your body are both paying attention to what's going on here and now (something for which the insula is key), you're also better able to be attuned to your partner's state of mind, making you a better lover.
Note also that if your partner perceives that you're better attuned, he or she will be more attuned and present, as well, adding to the fabulousness.
And, last but not least, there is a study out of Dartmouth that found a correlation between activation of the insula and the quality of orgasm in women.
[link to www.sharecare.com]

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