Detecting Hidden Brain States With Mathematical Models

Using a mathematical model to study how the brain predicts information and learns, researchers discovered signals for accuracy are found in the anterior insula and anxiety affects activity levels in this brain region.

Why do we have emotions? Klaas Enno Stephan, a professor at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, considers the question carefully before answering: “It seems very plausible that the purpose of the emotions is to make us aware of unconscious processes in the body.”

“The brain constructs models of the world and uses them to make predictions,” says Stephan. These predictions then serve as a basis for taking anticipatory corrective action, such as releasing insulin prior to eating.

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