Article

Conscious perception of errors and its relation to the anterior insula

Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research, Gleueler Str. 50, 50931, Cologne, Germany.
Brain Structure and Function (Impact Factor: 5.62). 06/2010; 214(5-6):629-43. DOI: 10.1007/s00429-010-0261-1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

To detect erroneous action outcomes is necessary for flexible adjustments and therefore a prerequisite of adaptive, goal-directed behavior. While performance monitoring has been studied intensively over two decades and a vast amount of knowledge on its functional neuroanatomy has been gathered, much less is known about conscious error perception, often referred to as error awareness. Here, we review and discuss the conditions under which error awareness occurs, its neural correlates and underlying functional neuroanatomy. We focus specifically on the anterior insula, which has been shown to be (a) reliably activated during performance monitoring and (b) modulated by error awareness. Anterior insular activity appears to be closely related to autonomic responses associated with consciously perceived errors, although the causality and directions of these relationships still needs to be unraveled. We discuss the role of the anterior insula in generating versus perceiving autonomic responses and as a key player in balancing effortful task-related and resting-state activity. We suggest that errors elicit reactions highly reminiscent of an orienting response and may thus induce the autonomic arousal needed to recruit the required mental and physical resources. We discuss the role of norepinephrine activity in eliciting sufficiently strong central and autonomic nervous responses enabling the necessary adaptation as well as conscious error perception.

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    • "Pe amplitudes have been interpreted to reflect elaborative error-processing which may include evaluating the motivational significance of an error (Ullsperger, et al., 2010), or potential affective reactions to an error (Overbeek, et al., 2005). Here, increased Pe amplitude is likely related to increased processing of the response error. "
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    • "e l s e v i e r . c o m / l o c a t e / y n i m g unique ability to integrate diverse cortical and subcortical inputs, as supported by both a variety of multi-sensory and thalamic posterior inputs and anterior projections to cingulate, prefrontal, and brain-stem nuclei (Craig, 2003, 2005; Ullsperger et al., 2010). The right AIC in particular is richly interconnected with primary visceral and somatosensory areas such as posterior insula and somatosensory cortex (Cerliani et al., 2012; Chang et al., 2013), anticipates the sensory and affective consequences of touch (Lovero et al., 2009), and has been described as a central node in a right-lateralized body-related network (Craig, 2005). "

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