Spatial-topographic nestedness of interoceptive regions within the networks of decision making and emotion regulation: Combining ALE meta-analysis and MACM analysis

Neuroimage. 2022 Oct 15;260:119500. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119500. Epub 2022 Jul 22.


Prominent theories propose that interoception modulates our behavioral and emotional responses involving decision-making and emotion regulation. Are the regions implicated in interoception also spatially related to and possibly nested within the networks of decision making and emotion regulation? Addressing this question, we performed three meta-analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies to identify the regions that are commonly activated by the three domains using activation likelihood estimation (ALE). Additionally, we assessed the coactivation pattern of identified common regions using meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM). The results showed major overlaps of interoception with both decision making and emotion regulation in specifically the right dorsal anterior insula. The pairwise contrast analyses confirmed this finding and revealed conjunction-based activities in decision making and emotion regulation in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). MACM based on the identified insula revealed a widespread convergent coactivation pattern with the left anterior insula, dACC, and bilateral thalamus which, together, constitute the salience network. Among these co-activated regions, bilateral insula and the dACC were shared among all three domains. These results suggest that the regions mediating interoception including intero-exteroceptive integration and salience attribution are contained and thus spatially nested within the more extensive networks recruited during decision making and emotion regulation.

Keywords: Interoception; decision making; emotion regulation; insula; meta-analysis; salience network.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Decision Making
  • Emotional Regulation*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interoception* / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging