Convergence of interoception, emotion, and social cognition: a twofold fMRI meta-analysis and lesion approach

Federico Adolfi, Blas Couto, Fabian Richter, Jean Decety, Jessica Lopez, Mariano Sigman, Facundo Manes, Agustín Ibáñez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


Guided by indirect evidence, recent approaches propose a tripartite crosstalk among interoceptive signaling, emotional regulation, and low-level social cognition. Here we examined the neurocognitive convergence of such domains. First, we performed three meta-analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies to identify which areas are consistently coactivated by these three systems. Multi-level Kernel Density Analysis (MKDA) revealed major overlaps in the right anterior insular and frontotemporal regions (viz., the orbitofrontal and inferior frontal gyri, the amygdala, and mid temporal lobe/subcortical structures). Second, we explored such domains in patients with fronto-insulo-temporal damage. Relative to controls, the patients showed behavioral impairments of interoception, emotional processing, and social cognition, with preservation of other cognitive functions. Convergent results from both studies offer direct support for a model of insular-frontotemporal regions integrating interoception, emotion, and social cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-142
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • stroke
  • insula
  • frontotemporal networks
  • Multi-level Kernel Density Analysis


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