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Cross-modal representations of first-hand and vicarious pain, disgust and fairness in insular and cingulate cortex

Corradi-Dell’Acqua, Corrado and Tusche, Anita and Vuilleumier, Patrik and Singer, Tania (2016) Cross-modal representations of first-hand and vicarious pain, disgust and fairness in insular and cingulate cortex. Nature Communications, 7 . Art. No. 10904. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC4802033. doi:10.1038/ncomms10904.

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The anterior insula (AI) and mid-anterior cingulate cortex (mACC) have repeatedly been implicated in first-hand and vicarious experiences of pain, disgust and unfairness. However, it is debated whether these regions process different aversive events through a common modality-independent code, reflecting the shared unpleasantness of the experiences or through independent modality-specific representations. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we subjected 19 participants (and 19 confederates) to equally unpleasant painful and disgusting stimulations, as well as unfair monetary treatments. Multivoxel pattern analysis identified modality-independent activation maps in the left AI and mACC, pointing to common coding of affective unpleasantness, but also response patterns specific for the events’ sensory properties and the person to whom it was addressed, particularly in the right AI. Our results provide evidence of both functional specialization and integration within AI and mACC, and support a comprehensive role of this network in processing aversive experiences for self and others.

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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Corradi-Dell’Acqua, Corrado0000-0002-7512-9023
Tusche, Anita0000-0003-4180-8447
Vuilleumier, Patrik0000-0002-8198-9214
Singer, Tania0000-0002-4438-5374
Additional Information:© 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit Received 18 August 2015; Accepted 01 February 2016; Published 18 March 2016. This research was financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation grant no 32003B_138413 awarded to P.V. and C.C.-D. We thank Ferdinand Hoffmann and Christoph Hofstetter for the assistance with the acquisition of the independent pilot data used for power analysis. Author contributions: C.C.-D. and A.T. contributed to the design of the experiment, the acquisition and analysis of the data, and the editing of the manuscript. P.V. and T.S. contributed to the design of the experiment and the editing of the manuscript. Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)32003B_138413
PubMed Central ID:PMC4802033
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160321-103453929
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Official Citation:Corradi-Dell’Acqua, C. et al. Cross-modal representations of first-hand and vicarious pain, disgust and fairness in insular and cingulate cortex. Nat. Commun. 7:10904 doi: 10.1038/ncomms10904 (2016)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:65529
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:22 Mar 2016 01:46
Last Modified:05 May 2022 18:06

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