Interoception as modeling, allostasis as control

Author: Eli Sennesh1, Jordan Theriault1, Dana Brooks1, Jan-Willem van de Meent1, Lisa Feldman Barrett1, Karen S Quigley1
1 Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
Conference/Journal: Biol Psychol
Date published: 2021 Dec 20
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2021.108242. , Word Count: 145

The brain regulates the body by anticipating its needs and attempting to meet them before they arise - a process called allostasis. Allostasis requires a model of the changing sensory conditions within the body, a process called interoception. In this paper, we examine how interoception may provide performance feedback for allostasis. We suggest studying allostasis in terms of control theory, reviewing control theory's applications to related issues in physiology, motor control, and decision making. We synthesize these by relating them to the important properties of allostatic regulation as a control problem. We then sketch a novel formalism for how the brain might perform allostatic control of the viscera by analogy to skeletomotor control, including a mathematical view on how interoception acts as performance feedback for allostasis. Finally, we suggest ways to test implications of our hypotheses.

Keywords: Allostasis; Interoception; Predictive processing.

PMID: 34942287 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2021.108242