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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2016 Nov 19;371(1708). pii: 20160011. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0011. Epub 2016 Oct 10.

An active inference theory of allostasis and interoception in depression.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA l.barrett@neu.edu.
2
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA.
5
Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.

Abstract

In this paper, we integrate recent theoretical and empirical developments in predictive coding and active inference accounts of interoception (including the Embodied Predictive Interoception Coding model) with working hypotheses from the theory of constructed emotion to propose a biologically plausible unified theory of the mind that places metabolism and energy regulation (i.e. allostasis), as well as the sensory consequences of that regulation (i.e. interoception), at its core. We then consider the implications of this approach for understanding depression. We speculate that depression is a disorder of allostasis, whose myriad symptoms result from a 'locked in' brain that is relatively insensitive to its sensory context. We conclude with a brief discussion of the ways our approach might reveal new insights for the treatment of depression.This article is part of the themed issue 'Interoception beyond homeostasis: affect, cognition and mental health'.

KEYWORDS:

fMRI; interoception; major depressive disorder; prediction; visceromotor

PMID:
28080969
PMCID:
PMC5062100
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2016.0011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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