Consciousness Is the Whole Brain. It's Not Reducible.
Consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, resulting from the communication of information across all its regions and cannot be reduced to something residing in specific areas.
Consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, resulting from the communication of information across all its regions and cannot be reduced to something residing in specific areas that control for qualities like attention, hearing, or memory.
These are the results of a new experiment out of Vanderbilt University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which researchers observed "whole-brain awareness" when individuals were asked to observe an image flashed briefly on a screen. Researchers measured brain function using fMRI imaging technology and categorized participant responses into "high confidence" and "low confidence" categories, according to how sure each person was that they had seen the image.
"They found that no one area or network of areas of the brain stood out as particularly more connected during awareness of the target; the whole brain appeared to become functionally more connected following reports of awareness."
Past experiments have demonstrated that different regions modulate different characteristics of consciousness such as attention, language, and self-control, but none of these qualities is sufficient on its own to create what we experience as consciousness. Douglass Godwin, a neuroscientist who helped lead the study, explained further:
"We take for granted how unified our experience of the world is. We don’t experience separate visual and auditory worlds; it’s all integrated into a single conscious experience. This widespread cross-network communication makes sense as a mechanism by which consciousness gets integrated into that singular world."
The study confirms a kind of double-sided consciousness: one that is reducible to certain component parts and another that is experiential and irreducible. In his Big Think interview, Stanford philosophy graduate Sam Harris, who has written widely about the benefits of mindfulness meditation as a way of harnessing consciousness, explains the essential nature of an irreducible consciousness:
"Someone like Francis Crick said famously you’re nothing but a pack of neurons. And that misses the fact that half of the reality we’re talking about is the qualitative experiential side. So when you’re trying to study human consciousness, for instance, by looking at states of the brain, all you can do is correlate experiential changes with changes in brain states. But no matter how tight these correlations become, that never gives you license to throw out the first-person experiential side."
Read more at Kurzweil AI.
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
- Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?
- History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
- In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
- Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
There is no doubt that the historical Jesus, the man who was executed by the Roman State in the first century CE, was a brown-skinned, Middle Eastern Jew.
I grew up in a Christian home, where a photo of Jesus hung on my bedroom wall. I still have it. It is schmaltzy and rather tacky in that 1970s kind of way, but as a little girl I loved it. In this picture, Jesus looks kind and gentle, he gazes down at me lovingly. He is also light-haired, blue-eyed, and very white.
Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club
- Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
- It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
- This ability may come from a common ancestor
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.