Other names for the interoceptive network

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Chapter 4 endnote 24, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

The interoceptive network is made up of two overlapping networks that go by many other names, depending on the interests of the scientists who named them.

Chapter 13 endnote 17, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

The default mode network, which is part of the interoceptive network, has more aliases than Sherlock Holmes. [...] The default mode and salience networks go by many names.

Click to enlarge.
Large-scale network for allostasis and interoception in the human brain. (A) The network implementing allostasis and interoception is composed of two large-scale intrinsic networks (shown in red and blue) that overlap in several "rich club" hubs (labeled in A, in purple.[1] These maps were constructed from resting state BOLD data from 280 participants, binarized at p < 10 (exponent -5), and then replicated on a second sample of 270 participants. (B) Reliable subcortical connections, AQ24 thresholded p < 0.05 uncorrected, replicated in 270 participants.

Scientists have a tendency to name brain networks in line with their own interests. What I am calling "the interoceptive network" is really a system of brain regions that are important for body-budgeting and interoception, as well as for sending sensory and motor predictions throughout the rest of the brain. Other names for these brain regions (or subsets of them) include the prejudice network[2] and the pain matrix.[3] More conventionally, these regions are distributed within two intrinsic brain networks called the salience network and the default mode network, both of which contain most of the limbic tissue in the cerebral cortex.

The salience network

The salience network was named by scientists who research how the brain determines personally relevant events.[4] “Salience” is just another way of saying that in the past, a relevant object or event evoked a change in your body’s budget (e.g., it was costly or rewarding), and so it might now require your brain’s attention to properly process any prediction error. Other scientists, who study how the brain evaluates things as helpful or harmful, call these regions the “evaluation network.” Still others call it the “affective network.”[5] The "multimodal integration network" and the "ventral attention network" also cover a lot of the same brain territory as the salience network.[6][7]

The default mode network

The default mode network was named by scientists who research how the brain supports mind-wandering and other mental activities that are assumed to be part of the brain’s “default state” during a brain imaging experiment;[8] this default state" is not really a single state, but the various brain states that occur when a test subject is not processing a stimulus from the ongoing experiment (also called "resting state" or "task-independent state."). Scientists who study mental inference refer to this network as the “mentalizing” network or the “theory of mind” network. Others who study how the brain remembers the past call it the “memory” network. Those who study how the brain imagines the future call it the “prospection” network. It has also been called the “empathy” network, the “morality” network, the “context” network, or the “self” network. The nodes of this network also overlap extensively with the brain’s intrinsic “language” network and are robustly engaged during spontaneous thinking and imagination, and when people work for rewards like food or money, and when they decide between things of value.

Each of these topics (memory, self, mentalizing, and so on) is studied separately, because scientists assume that every function has its own mechanism. When my lab examined the overlap in these networks, however, we found that they are not really distinguishable.[9] It’s conceivable that these networks are different and we just need better tools to tell them apart, but it’s more likely that they are all the default mode network (not a perfect name itself), which is a domain-general ingredient for diverse mental states.

The limbic system

The cortical and subcortical limbic portions of the interoceptive network have also been called the “limbic system” on the mistaken assumption that they are dedicated to emotion,[10][11][12] when in fact this circuitry is more general-purpose.[13] If we look at the anatomy of these brain regions — their inputs and outputs — we can see that as a group, the regions perform three intertwined, basic functions: regulating the body budget, interoception, and initiating sensory/motor predictions. Some of these brain regions are more densely connected to one another, as well as to other brain regions. These regions are called "rich club" hubs.[14]

All intrinsic networks contain rich club hubs, but the majority can be found in the interoceptive network (37% within the "default mode" component and 30% in the "salience" component, compared to an average of 11% in the sensory and motor networks.[14] As a consequence, the mutual connectivity between the default mode and salience networks (i.e., within the interoceptive network) is much higher than between any other pair of networks. This important observation means that the interoceptive network is central to the anatomical infrastructure that integrates information across the brain.


Notes on the Notes

  1. For coordinates, see Kleckner, Ian, Jiahe Zhang, Alexandra Touroutoglou, Lorena Chanes, Chenjie Xia, W. Kyle Simmons, Karen Quigley, Bradford Dickerson, and Lisa Feldman Barrett. 2017. “Evidence for a Large-Scale Brain System Supporting Interoception in Humans.” Nature Human Behavior 1: 0069.
  2. Amodio, David M. 2014. "The neuroscience of prejudice and stereotyping." Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15: 670-682.
  3. Tracey, Irene and Patrick W. Manytyh. 2007. "The Cerebral Signature for Pain Perception and Its Modulation." Neuron, 55: 377-391.
  4. Seeley, William W., Vinod Menon, Alan F. Schatzberg, Jennifer Keller, Gary H. Glover, Heather Kenna, Allan L. Reiss, and Michael D. Greicius. 2007. "Dissociable intrinsic connectivity networks for salience processing and executive control." Journal of Neuroscience 27 (9): 2349-2356.
  5. Barrett, Lisa Feldman and Ajay B. Satpute. 2013. "Large-scale brain networks in affective and social neuroscience:  Towards an integrative architecture of the human brain." Current Opinion in Neurobiology 23 (3): 361-372.
  6. Sepulcre, Jorge, Mert R. Sabuncu, Thomas B. Yeo, Hesheng Liu, and Keith A. Johnson. 2012. "Stepwise connectivity of the modal cortex reveals the multimodal organization of the human brain." The Journal of Neuroscience 32 (31): 10649-10661.
  7. Corbetta, Maurizio, J. Michelle Kincade, and Gordon L. Shulman. 2002. "Neural systems for visual orienting and their relationships to spatial working memory." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 14 (3): 508-523.
  8. Buckner, Randy L. 2012. "The serendipitous discovery of the brain's default network." Neuroimage 62 (2): 1137-1145.
  9. ref[full reference to be provided]
  10. MacLean, Paul D. 1952. "Some psychiatric implications of physiological studies on frontotemporal portion of limbic system (visceral brain)." Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 4 (4): 407-418.
  11. LeDoux, Joseph. 1998. The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life. Simon and Schuster.
  12. Swanson, Larry W. 1983. "The hippocampus and the concept of the limbic system." In Neurobiology of the Hippocampus, edited by Wilfrid Seifert, 3-19. London: Academic Press.
  13. Chanes, Lorena, and Lisa Feldman Barrett. 2016. “Redefining the Role of Limbic Areas in Cortical Processing.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 20 (2): 96–106.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Van den Heuvel, Martijn P., and Olaf Sporns. 2013. “An Anatomical Substrate for Integration Among Functional Networks in Human Cortex.” Journal of Neuroscience 33 (36): 14489–14500.