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Abstract: What makes us conscious? Many theories that attempt to answer this question have appeared recently in the context of widespread interest about consciousness in the cognitive neurosciences. Most of these proposals are formulated in terms of the information processing conducted by the brain. In this overview, we survey and contrast these models. We first delineate several notions of consciousness, addressing what it is that the various models are attempting to explain. Next, we describe a conceptual landscape that addresses how the theories attempt to explain consciousness. We then situate each of several representative models in this landscape and indicate which aspect of consciousness they try to explain. We conclude that the search for the neural correlates of consciousness should be usefully complemented by a search for the computational correlates of consciousness
Abstract: How does conscious experience emerge from a physical basis? At a first glance, this is the question about the mind that most needs answering. So it is curious that those who study the mind professionally have often avoided the question entirely. In psychology, the cognitive revolution did not make consciousness respectable: most cognitive psychologists have stuck to subjects such as learning, memory, and perception instead. Neuroscientists have been known to speculate on the topic, but usually only late at night, after a few drinks. Even philosophers have been curiously diffident. Some have been exercised by the fact that there is a problem, others have been concerned to deny the problem entirely, but the focus of inquiry has remained elsewhere. As in all these fields, serious theories of consciousness have been hard to come by
Abstract: An easily-accessible introduction is provided for theauthor''s book Enchanted Looms , which is reviewedelsewhere in this volume by Jesse Prinz and by MarcelKinsbourne, and also for the article Didconsciousness evolve from self-paced probing of theenvironment, and not from reflexes? , which alsoappears in this volume and which summarises theauthor''s more recent thoughts on consciousness
Abstract: One day someone will write a book that explains consciousness. The book will put forward a theory that closes the “explanatory gap” between conscious experience and brain activity, by showing how a brain state could in principle amount to a state of consciousness. But it will do more. It will demonstrate just why this particular brain state has to be this particular experience. As Dan Lloyd puts it in his philosophical novel, Radiant Cool: “What we need is a transparent theory. One that, once you get it, you see that anything built like this will have this particular conscious experience.”1
Abstract: This article summarizes a variety of current as well as previous research in support of a new theory of consciousness. Evidence has been steadily accumulating that information about a stimulus complex is distributed to many neuronal populations dispersed throughout the brain and is represented by the departure from randomness of the temporal pattern of neural discharges within these large ensembles. Zero phase lag synchronization occurs between discharges of neurons in different brain regions and is enhanced by presentation of stimuli. This evidence further suggests that spatiotemporal patterns of coherence, which have been identified by spatial principal component analysis, may encode a multidimensional representation of a present or past event. How such distributed information is integrated into a holistic percept constitutes the binding problem. How a percept defined by a spatial distribution of nonrandomness can be subjectively experienced constitutes the problem of consciousness. Explanations based on a discrete connectionistic network cannot be reconciled with the relevant facts. Evidence is presented herein of invariant features of brain electrical activity found to change reversibly with loss and return of consciousness in a study of 176 patients anesthetized during surgical procedures. A review of relevant research areas, as well as the anesthesia data, leads to a postulation that consciousness is a property of quantumlike processes, within a brain field resonating within a core of structures, which may be the neural substrate of consciousness. This core includes regions of the prefrontal cortex, the frontal cortex, the pre- and paracentral cortex, thalamus, limbic system, and basal ganglia
Abstract: Many sophisticated essays and books have been written about the topic of consciousness. My own contributions date back some twenty-five years in an essay entitled 'Problems concerning the structure of consciousness' (Pribram 1976), and five years before that in delineating the difference between brain processes that are coordinate with awareness and those that are coordinate with habitual behavior (Pribram 1971a). I have been intrigued by what has been written since and take this occasion to reassess a few of the major issues that have arisen
Abstract: There was a brief inaugural session of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness during the Psychonomic Society Conference in Los Angeles in November 1995, but the first full conference of the Association was held this June in the very pleasant surroundings of the Claremont Colleges. Being at this conference was very different from being at Tucson II the previous year. This was a less ballyhooed, more intimate event, maybe less exciting, and less intellectually eclectic, but also perhaps more conducive to serious scientific exchange. Certainly the roster of speakers was replete with luminaries of the consciousness studies movement, and highly respected names from psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy: Christof Koch, Bernard Baars, Ned Block, Philip Merikle, Daniel Schacter, Larry Jacoby, Walter Freeman, Valerie Hardcastle, both Churchlands, Melvyn Goodale, Owen Flanagan .Â .Â . to unfairly pick out just a few
Abstract: Present progress in mind science is racing away in the direction of denying the existence of human freewill and animal and human sentience. This brief paper attempts to summarise a few brief reasons why areas of present work by prominent authors have departed from fact to the realms of folk psychology and summarises some of the ways in which present work can be put right. An experiment is described and carried out in an attempt to breach a little more of the present gap between experimental fact and the outmoded theory which others have tried to apply blindly.