Homeostatic emotion

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A homeostatic emotion or primordial emotion is an attention-demanding sensation and motivation (such as thirst, hunger or fatigue) evoked by an internal body state that drives behavior (such as drinking, eating or resting) aimed at maintaining the body's internal milieu in its ideal state.[1][2][3]

Derek Denton defines primordial emotion as "the subjective element of the instincts, which are the genetically programmed behaviour patterns which contrive homeostasis. They include thirst, hunger for air, hunger for food, pain, hunger for specific minerals etc. There are two constituents of a primordial emotion--the specific sensation which when severe may be imperious, and the compelling intention for gratification by a consummatory act."[4]

Bud Craig argues that monkeys, apes and humans form an image of all of the body's unique homeostatic sensations in the brain's primary interoceptive cortex (located in the dorsal posterior insula). This image is mirrored ("re-represented") in the mid- and anterior insula, and the anterior insula's image, modulated by input from cognitive, affective and reward-related circuits, embodies conscious awareness of the whole body's homeostatic state. Together, a sensation re-represented in the anterior insula and the related motivation hosted in the anterior cingulate cortex form a homeostatic emotion.[5]

Emeran Mayer concurs and says that together with the parallel processed signal in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a homeostatic emotion arises, made up of a feeling dimension represented in the anterior insula and a motivation dimension represented in the ACC [6]


  1. ^ Craig, A.D. (Bud) (2003). "Interoception: The sense of the physiological condition of the body". Current Opinion in Neurobiology 13 (4): 500–505. doi:10.1016/S0959-4388(03)00090-4. PMID 12965300. 
  2. ^ Derek A. Denton (8 June 2006). The Primordial Emotions: The Dawning of Consciousness. Oxford University Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-19-920314-7. 
  3. ^ Craig, A.D. (Bud) (2008). "Interoception and emotion: A neuroanatomical perspective". In Lewis, M.; Haviland-Jones, J.M.; Feldman Barrett, L. Handbook of Emotion (3 ed.). New York: The Guildford Press. pp. 272–288. ISBN 978-1-59385-650-2. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  4. ^ Denton DA, McKinley MJ, Farrell M, Egan GF (June 2009). "The role of primordial emotions in the evolutionary origin of consciousness". Conscious Cogn 18 (2): 500–14. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2008.06.009. PMID 18701321. 
  5. ^ Emeran A. Mayer (August 2011). "Influential theories of brain–viscera interactions". Nature Reviews Neuroscience 12: 453–466. doi:10.1038/nrn3071. 
  6. ^ Emeran A. Mayer (August 2011). "Influential theories of brain–viscera interactions". Nature Reviews Neuroscience 12: 453–466. doi:10.1038/nrn3071.