This paper integrates emerging evidence from two broad streams of scientific literature into one common framework: (a) hierarchical gradients of functional connectivity that reflect the brain’s large-scale structural architecture (e.g., a lamination gradient in the cerebral cortex); and (b) approaches to predictive processing and one of its specific instantiations called allostasis (i.e., the predictive regulation of energetic resources in the service of coordinating the body’s internal systems). This synthesis begins to sketch a coherent, neurobiologically inspired framework suggesting that predictive energy regulation is at the core of human brain function, and by extension, psychological and behavioral phenomena, providing a shared vocabulary for theory building and knowledge accumulation.

Allostasis refers to the process by which the brain anticipates the needs of the body and attempts to meet those needs before they arise, and is one specific instantiation of a broader predictive processing framework. In this perspective article, we propose that allostasis is a basic function of the human brain subserved by an intrinsic architecture composed of two hierarchical functional gradients. Our framework, based on a synthesis of multimodal and multiscale evidence across species, begins to sketch a coherent, neurobiologically inspired research program suggesting that predictive energy regulation is at the core of human brain function, and by extension, psychological and behavioral phenomena, providing a shared vocabulary for theory building and knowledge accumulation.

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Author notes

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Handling Editor: Olaf Sporns

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