Scientific article
Open access

Epilepsy and Ecstatic Experiences: The Role of the Insula

Published inBrain sciences, vol. 11, no. 11, 1384
Publication date2021-10-22
First online date2021-10-22

Ecstatic epilepsy is a rare form of focal epilepsy in which the aura (beginning of the seizures) consists of a blissful state of mental clarity/feeling of certainty. Such a state has also been described as a "religious" or mystical experience. While this form of epilepsy has long been recognized as a temporal lobe epilepsy, we have accumulated evidence converging toward the location of the symptomatogenic zone in the dorsal anterior insula during the 10 last years. The neurocognitive hypothesis for the genesis of a mental clarity is the suppression of the interoceptive prediction errors and of the unexpected surprise associated with any incoming internal or external signal, usually processed by the dorsal anterior insula. This mimics a perfect prediction of the world and induces a feeling of certainty. The ecstatic epilepsy is thus an amazing model for the role of anterior insula in uncertainty and surprise.

  • Active inference
  • Anterior insula
  • Certainty
  • Ecstatic aura
  • Ecstatic epilepsy
  • Interoception
  • Mental clarity
  • Predictive coding
Citation (ISO format)
PICARD, Fabienne, BOSSAERTS, Peter, BARTOLOMEI, Fabrice. Epilepsy and Ecstatic Experiences: The Role of the Insula. In: Brain sciences, 2021, vol. 11, n° 11, p. 1384. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11111384
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2076-3425

Technical informations

Creation02/09/2022 4:36:00 PM
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