Gustatory areas within the insular cortex

Richard J. Stevenson*, Heather M. Francis, Cameron J. Ragg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Extensive data indicate that the insular cortex is involved in gustatory processing. The insula supports qualitative taste perception, namely, the ability to distinguish one taste from another. Although it has some loose form of taste quality-specific topography, it remains unresolved whether taste quality perception is mediated by labelled-line or pattern-based coding. The insula is also involved in supporting taste intensity coding, as well as aversive reactions to tastants. There is some indication of a right-sided processing bias, although this may be task dependent, but information flows equally to each insula from both sides of the tongue. A key aspect of the insula is its multimodal nature, with its receiving inputs from all of the senses involved in perceiving food. It is involved in forming and encoding food flavour. Overall, we suggest that the insula serves to generate conscious sensory-affective states that have a visceral feel, and that can form the basis for ingestive decisions. Gustation forms a key part in this process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsland of Reil (insula) in the human brain
Subtitle of host publicationanatomical, functional, clinical and surgical aspects
EditorsMehmet Turgut, Canan Yurttas, R. Shane Tubbs
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783319754680
ISBN (Print)9783319754673
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2018


  • insula
  • gustation
  • flavour
  • multisensory
  • affect
  • intensity
  • tastant

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    Stevenson, R. J., Francis, H. M., & Ragg, C. J. (2018). Gustatory areas within the insular cortex. In M. Turgut, C. Yurttas, & R. S. Tubbs (Eds.), Island of Reil (insula) in the human brain: anatomical, functional, clinical and surgical aspects (pp. 133-145). Cham, Switzerland: Springer, Springer Nature.