A central theme in regulation of physiological systems is learning from past experience to respond pre-emptively to anticipated events. For example, when we are hungry the sight or smell of food will drive pre-emptive salivation and insulin release from the pancreas, long before actual feeding and changes in circulating glucose levels. Such anticipatory pre-emptive physiological regulation requires using previously learned external sensory cues to compute specific interoceptive predictions of their physiological consequences.
How are interceptive predictions computed in insular cortex? How are they relayed to the body? How are they used to regulate bodily physiology? How are they updated by information from the body?
To answer these questions, we combine specific manipulations of insular cortex activity patterns with measurements and manipulations of multiple physiological parameters, especially within the gastointestinal and cardiovascular system.