Archive for December, 2013

Updating Body Sense: Windshield Wiping of Cortex and Using an Insula Searchlight

December 19th, 2013


Professor:  This post is about:

  • Q: How do we continuously
    • update our ‘body senses’
    • while we are exercising (or whatever we are doing)?
  • A: We use our brain alpha rhythms,
    • like a windshield wiper,
    • to disregard ‘unimportant’ neural network activities.
  • Q: How are the ‘important’ neural events detected?
  • A: We use our
    • right anterior insula’s body scanning ‘searchlight’
    • to spot unexpected, significant sensations and
      allow them into consciousness.

Student: So,

  • If we have tonic alertness,
    • we can continuously update our ‘body sense’
    • using brain alpha oscillations to actively suppress task-irrelevant areas.
  • If we are selectively attentive,
    • we can rapidly detect critical psychophysiological events, i.e.,  physiologically evoked potentials,
    • by using the Posterior Insula’s Searchlight,
    • to sense them trying to get through the Sensory Gates, aka, the thalamic reticular nucleus,
    • and allow sensations to enter the pathways to the higher cortical centers.

Professor: Very nice analogy. Yup, and now let’s get into the details. First, our bodies are actively disregarding its ‘normal’ noises. Click link to read more