What is the insula and how could it possibly exert such profound effects on human behavior?
According to neuroscientists who study it, the insula is a long-neglected brain region that has emerged as crucial to understanding what it feels like to be human.
They say it is the wellspring of social emotions, things like lust and disgust, pride and humiliation, guilt and atonement. It helps give rise to moral intuition, empathy and the capacity to respond emotionally to music.
Its anatomy and evolution sheds light on the profound differences between humans and other animals.