The self and its right insula—Differential topography and dynamic of right vs. left insula

Andrea Scalabrini, Angelika Wolman, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Various studies demonstrate a special role of the right compared to the left anterior insula in mediating our self. However, the neural features of the right insula that allow for its special role remain unclear. Presupposing a spatiotemporal model of self—“Basis model of self-specificity” (BMSS)—we here address the following question: what spatial-topographic and temporal-dynamic features render neural activity in the right insula to be more suitable in mediating self-specificity than the left insula? First, applying fMRI, we demonstrate that the right insula (i) exhibits higher degrees of centrality in rest, and (ii) higher context-dependent functional connectivity in a self-specific task among regions of distinct layers of self (intero-, extero-proprioceptive, and mental). Second, using EEG in rest and task, we show that the right insula shows longer autocorrelation window (ACW) in its neural activity than both left insula and other regions of the different layers of self. Together, we demonstrate special topographic, i.e., high functional connectivity, and dynamic, i.e., long ACW, neural features of the right insula compared to both left insula and other regions of the distinct layers of self. This suits neural activity in the right insula ideally for high functional integration and temporal continuity as key features of the self including its intero-, extero-proprioceptive, and mental layers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1312
JournalBrain Sciences
Volume11
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Autocorrelation window
  • Basis model of self-specificity (BMSS)
  • Degree of centrality
  • Dynamic
  • EEG
  • FMRI
  • Resting state
  • Right anterior insula
  • Self
  • Topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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