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Pain processing as allostatic active inference

Dr. Philip Gerrans

University of Adelaide, Australia

Seminario Transdisciplinar

jueves, 16 de mayo de 2024

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Distributed processing that gives rise to pain experience is anchored by a multidimensional self-model that anchors allostatic active inference. I show how the phenomenon of pain asymbolia and other atypical pain-related conditions (Insensitivity to Pain, Chronic Pain, ‘Social’ Pain, Insensitivity to Pain, Chronic Pain, ‘Social’ Pain, empathy for pain and suffering) can be explained by this idea. It provides a better account of neural correlates than influential affective and depersonalisation accounts of pain asymbolia.

The self modelling account also provides an alternative interpretation of some famous lesion cases to that recently offered by Lisa Feldman Barrett. LFB argues on the bases of these cases that the anterior insula cannot be a substrate of either affective experience or self awareness. I argue that LFB’s argument depends on a shotgun marriage between her earlier constructive theory of emotion and affective experience and current predictive processing theory. This unhappy partnership is dissolved by the active inference self modelling account.


My main research interest is the use of psychological disorder to study

the mind. I have written on developmental disorders (autism and Williams syndrome), cognitive neuropsychiatry with a particular emphasis on delusion and disorders of affective processing.

In all these cases my focus the role of computational models play in building a theoretical bridge between neural processes and phenomenology.

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