Category: Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness

Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness

Prerequisites : One semester of neuroscience, physiological psychology, biological psychology, or cognitive psychology at a university level. This course introduces the main theoretical models and the empirical methods employed to explain and measure consciousness. Students are offered the opportunity to learn about the neurobiological mechanisms possibly underlying the emergence of consciousness and to grasp why science also needs to embrace conceptual and philosophical levels of analysis.

The course outlines the multi-faceted nature of consciousness by discussing different aspects of the phenomenon in normal as well as abnormal conditions. Students are encouraged throughout the course to actively participate in discussions and to critically think regarding the current state of knowledge about how the brain relates to the mind.

Theme 2: Theoretical Approaches to the study of consciousness. Theme 3: Methodological challenges. Theme 4: Consciousness applied selected topics. Claudia Carrara-Augustenborg, Ph. Sc Psychology Major in Clinical and Neuropsychology. Interests are focused on the neural mechanisms that mediate and modulate human consciousness and subjective perception, and on the functional and neural distinctions between conscious and unconscious cognitive and emotional processes.

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With DIS since Abondo et al. Sexual assault and MDMA: the distinction between consciousness and awareness when it comes to consent. Atkinson, A. Carrara-Augustenborg Endogenous Feedback Network: Summary and Evaluation, in The development of a comprehensive model of human consciousnesspp. Baars BJ.

Global workspace theory of consciousness: toward a cognitive neuroscience of human experience, in Progresses in Brain Research Block, N. Perceptual consciousness overflows cognitive access, in Trends in Cognitive Sciences Dec;15 12 Damasio, A. Feeling of emotions and the self, in Ann. Y Acc. Science, Custers, R. Dehaene, S.

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Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: basic evidence and workspace framework, in Cognition 79, Conscious, preconscious, and subliminal processing: a testable taxonomy, in Trends Cogn Sci. May ;10 5 Animal consciousness: a synthetic approachin Trends Neurosci. Sep;32 9 Johansson P. How something can be said about telling more than we can know: On choice blindness and introspection. Consciousness and Cognition 15 How rich is consciousness?

The partial awareness hypothesis, in Trends Cogn Sci. Jul;14 7 Lamme, V.To browse Academia. Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. Bernard Baars. The empirical connection with conscious cognition was made by Baars GW 17 theory generates explicit predictions for conscious aspects of perception, emotion, motivation, learning, 19 working memory, voluntary control, and self systems in the brain. It has similarities to biological theories 19 such as Neural Darwinism and dynamical theories of brain functioning.

Functional brain imaging now 21 shows that conscious cognition is distinctively associated with wide spread of cortical activity, notably 21 toward frontoparietal and medial temporal regions. Unconscious comparison conditions tend to activate 23 only local regions, such as visual projection areas. Frontoparietal hypometabolism is also implicated in 23 unconscious states, including deep sleep, coma, vegetative states, epileptic loss of consciousness, and 25 general anesthesia. These findings are consistent with the GW hypothesis, which is now favored by a 25 number of scientists and philosophers.

We 29 now know of numerous brain events that are 31 Shortly afterbehaviorists attempted to purge reportable and comparable ones that are not. This 31 science of mentalistic concepts like consciousness, fact invites experimental testing: why are we 33 attention, memory, imagery, and voluntary con- conscious of these words at this moment, while a 33 trol. Why is activity in visual occipito- 35 accumulated over the 20th century, all the tradi- temporal lobe neurons reportable, while visually 37 tional ideas of James and others were found evoked activity in parietal regions is not?

Why does 37 to be necessary. They were reintroduced with more the thalamocortical system support conscious ex- 39 testable definitions. Memory came back in the periences, while the comparably large cerebellum 39 s; mental imagery in the s; selective and basal ganglia do not?

How is waking conscious- 41 attention over the last half century; and conscious- ness impaired after brain damage? These are all 41 ness last of all, in the last decade or so. The empirical key is to treat 43 It is broadly true that what we are conscious of, consciousness as a controlled variable. Conscious brain events A growing literature now compares the brain 45 effects of conscious and unconscious stimulation.

Corresponding author. In visual The global access hypothesis 1 backward masking, a target picture is immediately 3 followed by a scrambled image that does not block The idea that consciousness has an integrative 3 the optical input, but renders it unconscious function has a long history.

Global workspace 5 Dehaene et al.The neural correlates of consciousness NCC constitute the minimal set of neuronal events and mechanisms sufficient for a specific conscious percept. A science of consciousness must explain the exact relationship between subjective mental states and brain states, the nature of the relationship between the conscious mind and the electro-chemical interactions in the body mind—body problem. Progress in neuropsychology and neurophilosophy has come from focusing on the body rather than the mind.

In this context the neuronal correlates of consciousness may be viewed as its causes, and consciousness may be thought of as a state-dependent property of some undefined complexadaptive, and highly interconnected biological system. Discovering and characterizing neural correlates does not offer a theory of consciousness that can explain how particular systems experience anything at all, or how and why they are associated with consciousness, the so-called hard problem of consciousness[6] but understanding the NCC may be a step toward such a theory.

Most neurobiologists assume that the variables giving rise to consciousness are to be found at the neuronal level, governed by classical physics, though a few scholars have proposed theories of quantum consciousness based on quantum mechanics. There is great apparent redundancy and parallelism in neural networks so, while activity in one group of neurons may correlate with a percept in one case, a different population might mediate a related percept if the former population is lost or inactivated.

It may be that every phenomenal, subjective state has a neural correlate. Where the NCC can be induced artificially the subject will experience the associated percept, while perturbing or inactivating the region of correlation for a specific percept will affect the percept or cause it to disappear, giving a cause-effect relationship from the neural region to the nature of the percept.

What characterizes the NCC? What are the commonalities between the NCC for seeing and for hearing? Will the NCC involve all the pyramidal neurons in the cortex at any given point in time?

Or only a subset of long-range projection cells in the frontal lobes that project to the sensory cortices in the back? Neurons that fire in a rhythmic manner? Neurons that fire in a synchronous manner? These are some of the proposals that have been advanced over the years. The growing ability of neuroscientists to manipulate neurons using methods from molecular biology in combination with optical tools e. It is the combination of such fine-grained neuronal analysis in animals with ever more sensitive psychophysical and brain imaging techniques in humans, complemented by the development of a robust theoretical predictive framework, that will hopefully lead to a rational understanding of consciousness, one of the central mysteries of life.

There are two common but distinct dimensions of the term consciousness[9] one involving arousal and states of consciousness and the other involving content of consciousness and conscious states. To be conscious of anything the brain must be in a relatively high state of arousal sometimes called vigilancewhether in wakefulness or REM sleepvividly experienced in dreams although usually not remembered. Brain arousal level fluctuates in a circadian rhythm but may be influenced by lack of sleep, drugs and alcohol, physical exertion, etc.

Arousal can be measured behaviorally by the signal amplitude that triggers some criterion reaction for instance, the sound level necessary to evoke an eye movement or a head turn toward the sound source.

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Clinicians use scoring systems such as the Glasgow Coma Scale to assess the level of arousal in patients. High arousal states are associated with conscious states that have specific content, seeing, hearing, remembering, planning or fantasizing about something.For that definition, the western standard use of the word will be considered.

It should also be taken into account that religious practices vary not only among different religions, but also inside a specific religion, from one practitioner to another. Practices vary significantly depending on several variables such as personality, personal values, social class, climate, and demographics Whitehouse, ; McCauley and Lawson,as cited in Schjoedt, Thus, although there are indeed similarities, many religions—as well as different individuals—would diverge regarding their understanding of what is sacred.

If this assumption is correct, the idea of one sacred science, embracing all that is considered sacred by all religions, seems to be an essential challenge. Connected with God or a god or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration. Other authors defined sacred differently. Lancasterwhile not disputing the definition of Hill et al, suggests that it sets the bar too high.

One important notion to sacred is connectedness, as asserted by George, Larson, Koenig, and McCullough According to the authors, the search to get to the divine, nature, or the ultimate in any way, to realise a sense of meaning or purpose, is key to the idea of sacred.

Thus, the sacred is not only what is related to a god or gods, to main world religions, their specific objects of worship, or particular values and dogmas of these religions. Also, our mundane pursuits can be considered sacred to ourselves, as long we perceive the numinous quality of these personal quests, in the search for connection with the divine, nature or the ultimate. Supported by the definition above it is possible to relate to some work that has been done in the last couple of years.

But, before that, another idea must be shared. There is no need to believe in one all-encompassing world of sacred science. Possibly, an analogy is the best tool to clarify the point. When building a house, you need a toolset to reach the desired outcome. Each tool has its purpose and helps to get specific work done.

It is much easier to nail something to its place using a hammer or a nail gun, instead of utilising a screwdriver or a wire cutter. Buddhism has much to say about the minutiae of perception; Kabbalah explores the nature of thought beneath the limen of consciousness; Sufism is rich in its discussions of imagination, and the Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism details the propensity of mind to split reality into subjects and objects p.Sign in Create an account.

Syntax Advanced Search. Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: Basic evidence and a workspace framework. Cognition 79 1 Edit this record. Mark as duplicate. Find it on Scholar. Request removal from index. Revision history. Download options PhilArchive copy. From the Publisher via CrossRef no proxy linkinghub. Configure custom resolver. David J. Chalmers - - Oxford University Press. Consciousness Explained. Daniel Dennett - - Penguin Books. Roger Penrose - - Oxford University Press.

A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness. Bernard J. Baars - - Cambridge University Press. On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness. Ned Block - - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 2 — Ned Block - - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 5 Peter Carruthers - - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 2 Baars - - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6 1 The Role of Consciousness in Grasping and Understanding.

David Bourget - - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 2 Nicholas D.Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Dehaene and L. DehaeneL. Naccache Published Psychology, Medicine Cognition. This introductory chapter attempts to clarify the philosophical, empirical, and theoretical bases on which a cognitive neuroscience approach to consciousness can be founded.

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towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness

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View 1 excerpt, cites methods. References Publications referenced by this paper. How to study consciousness scientifically.Conscious experience in humans depends on brain activity, so neuroscience will contribute to explaining consciousness. What would it be for neuroscience to explain consciousness? How much progress has neuroscience made in doing so?

What challenges does it face? How can it meet those challenges? What is the philosophical significance of its findings? This entry addresses these and related questions. To bridge the gulf between brain and consciousness, we need neural data, computational and psychological models, and philosophical analysis to identify principles to connect brain activity to conscious experience in an illuminating way. This entry will focus on identifying such principles without shying away from the neural details.

Neural correlates of consciousness

The notion of neuroscientific explanation here conceives of it as providing informative answers to concrete questions that can be addressed by neuroscientific approaches. Accordingly, the theories and data to be considered will be organized around constructing answers to two questions see section 1. A challenge for an objective science of consciousness is to dissect an essentially subjective phenomenon.

towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness

Introspection thus provides a fundamental way, perhaps the fundamental way, to track consciousness. That said, consciousness pervasively influences human behavior, so other forms of behavior beyond introspective reports provide a window on consciousness. How to leverage disparate behavioral evidence is a central issue. Given the breadth of neuroscience so conceived, an overview of sufficient depth must restrict breadth. On the neuroscience side, this review focuses on the central nervous system and the electrical properties of neurons, particularly in the cerebral cortex.

On the side of consciousness, it focuses on perceptual consciousness, with emphasis on vision. This is not because visual consciousness is more important than other forms of consciousness.

towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness

Rather, the level of detail in empirical work on vision often speaks more comprehensively to the issues that we shall confront. That said, there are many forms of consciousness that we will not discuss. Some are covered in other entries such as split brain phenomena see the entry on the unity of consciousnesssection 4. In addition, this entry will not discuss the neuroscience of consciousness in audition, olfaction or gustation; disturbed consciousness in mental disorders such as schizophrenia; conscious aspects of pleasure, pain and the emotions; the phenomenology of thought; the neural basis of dreams; and modulations of consciousness during sleep and anesthesia among other issues.

Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: basic evidence and a workspace framework

These are important topics, and the principles and approaches highlighted in this discussion will apply to many of these domains. It will be helpful to grasp the basic anatomy of the brain. A central distinction concerns the difference between the cerebral cortex and the subcortex. The cortex is divided into two hemispheres, left and right, each of which can be divided into four lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital. Some areas of interest are highlighted. The discussion that follows will highlight specific areas of cortex including the prefrontal cortex that will figure in discussions of confidence section 2.

Beneath the cortex is the subcortex, divided into the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain, which covers many regions although our discussion will largely touch on the superior colliculus and the thalamustwo areas that play an important role in visual processing. A salient phenomenon is neural signaling through action potentials or spikes. For a sensory neuron, the spikes it generates are tied to its receptive field.

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