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Functional lateralization of the anterior insula during feedback processing.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Späti Jakub, Chumbley Justin, Brakowski Janis, Dörig Nadja, Grosse Holtforth Martin, Seifritz Erich, Spinelli Simona,
Project Explicit and implicit change of depression in exposure-based cognitive therapy
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Human Brain Mapping
Volume (Issue) 35(9)
Page(s) 4428 - 39
Title of proceedings Human Brain Mapping
DOI 10.1002/hbm.22484


Effective adaptive behavior rests on an appropriate understanding of how much responsibility we have over outcomes in the environment. This attribution of agency to ourselves or to an external event influences our behavioral and affective response to the outcomes. Despite its special importance to understanding human motivation and affect, the neural mechanisms involved in self-attributed rewards and punishments remain unclear. Previous evidence implicates the anterior insula (AI) in evaluating the consequences of our own actions. However, it is unclear if the AI has a general role in feedback evaluation (positive and negative) or plays a specific role during error processing. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and a motion prediction task, we investigate neural responses to self- and externally attributed monetary gains and losses. We found that attribution effects vary according to the valence of feedback: significant valence × attribution interactions in the right AI, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the midbrain, and the right ventral putamen. Self-attributed losses were associated with increased activity in the midbrain, the ACC and the right AI, and negative BOLD response in the ventral putamen. However, higher BOLD activity to self-attributed feedback (losses and gains) was observed in the left AI, the thalamus, and the cerebellar vermis. These results suggest a functional lateralization of the AI. The right AI, together with the midbrain and the ACC, is mainly involved in processing the salience of the outcome, whereas the left is part of a cerebello-thalamic-cortical pathway involved in cognitive control processes important for subsequent behavioral adaptations.