Three Intuitions About Consciousness
The first intuition is that consciousness is a robust phenomenon which deserves to be explained rather than being explained away . Sensory experiences like those of colour, sound or pain, the simplest and most vivid instances of consciousness, are phenomena which any full description of the world must reckon with. Indeed, experiences of this kind are arguably our point of departure in gaining knowledge of the world. Consciousness, in this sense, is the `sea in which we swim’ .
The second intuition is that consciousness is bound up with our physical being. This thought is pre-scientific: everyone knows that fatigue, alcohol, knocks on the head and countless other physical events can modify the state and contents of consciousness. But science has fleshed out the thought: Sections III and IV of this review summarize some of the observations which suggest that consciousness is rooted in the brain, and that the structure of consciousness is mirrored by the structure of a set of neural processes. It has become reasonable to suppose that every distinction drawn in experience will be reflected in distinctive patterns of neural activity.
Consciousness Related Neurotransmitter Systems And Pathways
3.9.1 Glutamatergic arousal systems
The most prevalent excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system is Glutamate. It functions seems to be critical in initiation and maintaining of sleep and wakefulness. Arousal system pathways arising from the midbrain and upper pontine reticular formation that project to the thalamus and basal forebrain as well as the widespread projections from the thalamic intralaminar nuclei to the cortex are thought to be mediated by glutamate . Through interaction with other types of neurons, the glutamatergic neurons can regulate sleep stages. With this type of arrangement, complex sleepwake regulation network in the brain is made .
3.9.2 Cholinergic arousal systems
3.9.3 GABAergic arousal systems
3.9.4 Noradrenergic arousal systems
3.9.5 Serotoninergic arousal systems
3.9.6 Dopaminergic arousal systems
3.9.7 Histaminergic arousal systems
3.9.8 Orexinergic arousal systems
Right Brain Left Brain
The cerebrum is divided into two halves: the right and left hemispheres They are joined by a bundle of fibers called the corpus callosum that transmits messages from one side to the other. Each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body. If a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, your left arm or leg may be weak or paralyzed.
Not all functions of the hemispheres are shared. In general, the left hemisphere controls speech, comprehension, arithmetic, and writing. The right hemisphere controls creativity, spatial ability, artistic, and musical skills. The left hemisphere is dominant in hand use and language in about 92% of people.
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Can Quantum Mechanics Also Help Us To Figure Out The Cosmos
If the researchers can answer how our brains give rise to subjective experience, there’s a chance their mathematical model could extend to inanimate matter too, they said.
“A mathematical theory can be applied to many different systems, not just brains,” Kleiner told All About Space via email. “If you develop a mathematical model of consciousness based on data obtained from brains, you can apply the model to other systems, for example, computers or thermostats, to see what it says about their conscious experience too.”
Some prominent minds lend weight to the view of panpsychism, not least renowned Oxford physicist Sir Roger Penrose, who was among the first academics to propose we go beyond neuroscience when looking at consciousness.
He says we should strongly consider the role of quantum mechanics and in his book published in 1989 “The Emperor’s New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics” he argued that human consciousness is non-algorithmic and a product of quantum effects.
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This idea evolved in collaboration with anesthesiologist and psychologist Stuart Hameroff into a hypothesis called Orchestrated Objective Reduction .
Is Consciousness Actually A Property Of The Universe Like Gravity Or Light
The prevailing consensus in neuroscience is that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain and its metabolism. When the brain dies, the mind and consciousness of the being to whom that brain belonged ceases to exist. In other words, without a brain, there can be no consciousness.
But according to the decades-long research of Dr. Peter Fenwick, a highly regarded neuropsychiatrist who has been studying the human brain, consciousness, and the phenomenon of near-death experience for 50 years, this view is incorrect. Despite initially being highly incredulous of NDEs and related phenomena, Fenwick now believes his extensive research suggests that consciousness persists after death. In fact, Fenwick believes that consciousness actually exists independently and outside of the brain as an inherent property of the universe itself like dark matter and dark energy or gravity.
Hence, in Fenwicks view, the brain does not create or produce consciousness rather, it filters it. As odd as this idea might seem at first, there are some analogies that bring the concept into sharper focus. For example, the eye filters and interprets only a very small sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the ear registers only a narrow range of sonic frequencies. Similarly, according to Fenwick, the brain filters and perceives only a tiny part of the cosmos intrinsic consciousness.
Remember: Think well, Act well, Feel well, Be well!
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Where Is Consciousness Located In The Brain
Where is consciousness located in the brain? Location, location, locationSince at least the nineteenth century, scientists have known that the cerebral cortex is important for consciousness. Fresh evidence has highlighted a posterior-cortical hot zone that is responsible for sensory experiences.
What part of the brain is responsible for consciousness? The brain stem connects the cerebrum with the spinal cord. It contains a system of nerve cells and fibers located deep within the upper part of the brain stem. This system controls levels of consciousness and alertness.
Where is the seat of consciousness in the brain? Neuroscientists believe that, in humans and mammals, the cerebral cortex is the seat of consciousness, while the midbrain reticular formation and certain thalamic nuclei may provide gating and other necessary functions of the cortex .
Where does the conscience come from? The word conscience derives etymologically from the Latin conscientia, meaning privity of knowledge or with-knowledge. The English word implies internal awareness of a moral standard in the mind concerning the quality of ones motives, as well as a consciousness of our own actions.
Common Questions About The Brain And Consciousness
Q. What is the explanatory gap with regard to consciousness?
According to consciousness theorists, the explanatory gap is the gap between explaining how the brain works and explaining what produces consciousness.
Q. What is the binding theory of consciousness?
According to the binding theory of consciousness, our brain is somehow taking very distinct inputs coming in through different senses and binding them together into one conscious experience. And consciousness arises out of that binding process.
Q. Do all theories attribute consciousness to the brain?
Some experts in consciousness suggest that consciousness exists outside of us in the external worldlike gravity or electromagnetismand our brains are tapping into and using consciousness rather than creating it.
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Biological Function And Evolution
Opinions are divided as to where in biological evolution consciousness emerged and about whether or not consciousness has any survival value. Some argue that consciousness is a byproduct of evolution. It has been argued that consciousness emerged exclusively with the first humans, exclusively with the first mammals, independently in mammals and birds, or with the first reptiles. Other authors date the origins of consciousness to the first animals with nervous systems or early vertebrates in the Cambrian over 500 million years ago.Donald Griffin suggests in his book Animal Minds a gradual evolution of consciousness. Each of these scenarios raises the question of the possible survival value of consciousness.
Where Is The Brain Located
The brain is located in the top part of the head called the skull. The skull, which is made up of 28 bones, serves the sole purpose of protecting the brain from injury and trauma.
The brain is made up of many parts, but all of these parts are divided into one of two categories. The right hemisphere and the left hemisphere are the two main parts of the brain. The cells that are in the right part of the brain control the left part of the body the cells that are in the left part of the brain control the right part of the body. These cells are necessary for function of life, and the brain contains enough cells to last throughout a lifetime.
In order for the brain to survive, it must be constantly receiving oxygen. The longest a brain can go without oxygen is around 3 to 5 minutes. After that time period, irreparable injury will occur to the brain. The brain is a medium-sized organ and is about the size of a grapefruit. It ranges from pink to gray in color. It is made up of soft material and adult brains weigh around 3 pounds while childrens brains weigh from about 1 to 2 pounds.
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A Little History Goes A Long Way Toward Understanding Why We Study Consciousness The Way We Do Today
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Conflict Of Interest Statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Original Source Article
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Important Component Of Consciousness: Wakefulness
According to the latest neurosurgical research there are two key features of consciousness: the state of consciousness and the content of consciousness . Furthermore, there are additional features of the content of consciousness across the context of our brain . From the perspective of neurosurgeons, more attention is paid on wakefulness than on awareness because a disorder of this state can lead to coma. In the clinic, comas, and the associated vegetative state, are difficult to resolve .
Figure 1. The distribution of the neurobiological basis of consciousness in the brain. M1, primary motor cortex. Attention or working memory. Verbal report . Other content of consciousness. Auditory consciousness. Visual consciousness.
As a state of consciousness, wakefulness is different in the context of both sleeping and coma. These states are mild or severe. For instance, one can wake up or semi-wake up, just as one could have mild or deep anesthesia. We are usually confident in judging a personâs state of consciousness . In the first sense, with the help of objective criteria, including the Glasgow Coma Scale , opening of the eyes usually indicates the state of being awake, and being able to talk almost always indicates further wakefulness. It is often thought that an awake individual is also aware however, this is not always true. Actually, most of the content of consciousness is based on the state of awakening, and brain activity during sleep is a special case.
Animal Neuropsychology Paved The Way
Neuropsychological research on animals is of interest to our discussion of consciousness, not because it necessarily revealed anything about consciousness per se. The work was instead important because it provided a neuroanatomical and conceptual foundation that guided the design and interpretation of studies of human patients.
The most important institute for neuropsychological research on animals in the 1940s was the Yerkes Primate Center in Florida, which was directed by Lashley. Researchers there were trained in the Franz/Lashley approach and used specific behavioral tasks to test specific brain functions. When the neurosurgeon Karl Pribram took over the directorship at Yerkes shortly after the end of World War II, he continued the behavioral approach established by Lashley but with added neurosurgical sophistication. The field of animal neuropsychology flourished during Pribrams decade-long rein at Yerkes. Young researchers who would come to be the face of the field cut their scientific teeth at Yerkes under Pribrams guidance.
Only a few examples of the output and implications of research done at the Yerkes laboratory in the 1950s were mentioned here, but it would be hard to overstate the importance of this group. These researchers paved the way for much future work on the brain mechanisms of perception, memory, emotion, and higher cognition, and also of consciousness.
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Scientists Have Pinpointed A Network Of Three Specific Regions In The Brain That Appear To Be Crucial To Consciousness
You’re reading this story. You’re conscious of the words, the screen, the device, the room, the time, but you take it for granted. Not neuroscientists. They’ve been vexed for years with a simple question: Where is consciousness?
Now it looks as if a few of them have found it – a network of specific regions in the brain that, when working properly, maintain a person’s consciousness. Among other things, the findings could improve deep brain and transcranial stimulation therapies used to wake people who are in a vegetative or minimally conscious state.
“Both technologies have been tried on patients with disorders of consciousness with mixed results. Our hope is that imaging studies like this will begin to help us zero in on what brain network we should be targeting,” Michael D. Fox told Seeker. Fox, an MD and PhD, is Director of the Laboratory for Brain Network Imaging and Modulation and the Associate Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
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That gave the scientists a clue as to where the arousal component of consciousness came from. But what about the awareness component?
Human Neuropsychological Research Brought Consciousness Into The Mainstream Of Psychology And Neuroscience
Neuropsychological research on patients produced novel insights into brain and behavior, including the relation of consciousness to the brain. Studies of three groups of patients were especially important and will be our focus below. These were amnesia patients , split-brain patients , and blindsight patients . In all three groups, findings demonstrated striking dissociations between what patients could do behaviorally and what they could consciously report. Other patient groups also exhibited dissociations between explicit knowledge and behavioral performance and thus contributed to the emergence of interest in consciousness . However, amnesia, split-brain, and blindsight patients are focused on here because of their broad impact on the field.
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The Meanings Of `self
`Self-consciousness’ is also a multi-faceted concept.
Self-consciousness as proneness to embarrassment
The idiomatic sense of self-consciousness implies awkwardness in the company of others. Interestingly, we are self-conscious in this sense when we are excessively aware of others’ awareness of ourselves. This humdrum usage thus turns out to be rather sophisticated, hinting at a link between consciousness of self and consciousness of others which is a focus of current research in developmental psychology .
Self-consciousness as self-detection
We might speak of an organism as self-conscious if it can respond to stimuli which impinge upon it directly, or modify its behaviour in ways which imply an awareness of its own actions. Thus your awareness of an insect walking across your hand involves self-consciousness in this rather minimal sense. Rats, who can be trained to respond to a signal in a way that depends on what they were doing last, may be conscious of their own actions in a similar sense . But this variety of self-consciousness amounts to little more than perceptual awareness, directed towards events brought about by, or ones which impinge directly upon, the creature in question.
Self-consciousness as self-recognition
Self-consciousness as awareness of awareness
Self-consciousness as self-knowledge
What Is Conscience In The Bible
Some Christians believe that the conscience is the voice of God. God is speaking to individuals, guiding them to do the right thing in a given situation. Conscience can be described a moral sense of right and wrong. An individual can educate their conscience through prayer, scripture and experience.
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