The insula is a structure deep in the cerebral cortex, involved with consciousness. It has a diversity of functions relating to self-awareness, cognitive processing, interpersonal relationships, emotion, and regulation of the body’s homeostasis. The insula facilitates interoceptive awareness of the body’s states, such as the ability to regulate one’s own heartbeat.
Related to social experiences, the insula is active in processing moral attitudes (mores), empathy, and orgasms. The insula is involved in the sensation of pain, particularly the empathic experience of pain: feeling pain by perception outside oneself, not just internal bodily stimulation of pain by injury.