105 posts · 59,129 views
A blog on consciousness by Janet Kwasniak
When I was much, much younger, I thought it would not be possible to map the brain – so many cells, so many connections, and so little structure. I was very wrong. There is structure. Every year there seems to be more of the structure identified.
There is a paper out by Wedeen etal (see [...]... Read more »
Wedeen VJ, Rosene DL, Wang R, Dai G, Mortazavi F, Hagmann P, Kaas JH, & Tseng WY. (2012) The geometric structure of the brain fiber pathways. Science (New York, N.Y.), 335(6076), 1628-34. PMID: 22461612
G. Zamora-Lopez, C. Zhou, & J. Kurths. (2011) Exploring brain function from anatomical connectivity. Fronteirs in Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00083
I have posted on this before (here and here) but I am going to again, prompted by Tallon-Baudry’s talk at the Turing 2012 Consciousness Event (video). The experimental detail covered in the talk is from a paper with Wyart and Dehaene (citation below). She reviewed this area of research recently (citation below). Abstract:
Consciousness, as described [...]... Read more »
V. Wyart, S. Dehaene, & C. Tallon-Baudry. (2012) Early dissociation between neural signatures of endogenous spatial attention and perceptual awareness during visual masking. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00016
Catherine Tallon-Baudry. (2012) On the neural mechanisms subserving consciousness and attention. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00397
Some say that ‘we are our connectome’ – but – it seems that what functionally connects is constantly changing. And according to Wolf Singer timing is important. The temporal is as significant as the spatial. This was the message of Singer’s presentation at Turing Consciousness 2012 in Montreal (video here). He points out that the [...]... Read more »
Melloni L, Molina C, Pena M, Torres D, Singer W, & Rodriguez E. (2007) Synchronization of neural activity across cortical areas correlates with conscious perception. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 27(11), 2858-65. PMID: 17360907
Since the Libet experiment (and many following it), it has been difficult to assume that conscious intention causes motor action as the action decision is chronologically ahead of the conscious feeling of intention. But there was some who thought that the vetoing of a decision was still possibly caused by conscious intention – the ‘free-wont’ [...]... Read more »
Pastor-Bernier A, Trembley E, & Cisek P. (2012) Dorsal premotor cortex is involved in switching motor plans. Frontiers in Neuroengineering. info:/
There is an idea that EB Bolles argued for in his blog, Babel’s Dawn (here), and his book by the same name. It is that words are in effect pointers than force the listener’s attention to a topic or element of a topic. So if I say ‘flag’ and there is a flag near by, [...]... Read more »
Galfano G., Dalmaso M., Marzoli D., Pavan G., Coricelli C., & Castelli L. (2012) Eye gaze cannot be ignored (but neither can arrows). The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. info:/
In the near future, Paul Cisek’s latest paper will appear and the abstract on the pre-publication is:
How does the brain decide between actions? Is it through comparisons of abstract representations of outcomes or through a competition in a sensorimotor map defining the actions themselves? Here, I review strengths and limitations of both of these proposals, [...]... Read more »
Paul Cisek, & John Kalaska. (2010) Neural Mechanisms for Interacting with a World Full of Action Choices. Annu. Rev. Psychol. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.051508.135409
Tang, Rothbart and Posner have a new paper reviewing the neural correlates of three brain states (citation below). The states that were reviewed were rest, being alert (waiting for a target and responding to it), and meditation (Integrative Body-Mind training in three stages of training). They looked at the switching between these and the maintenance [...]... Read more »
Yi-Yuan Tang, Mary K. Rothbart, & Michael I. Posner. (2012) Neural correlates of establishing, maintaining, and switching brain states. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2012.05.001
My reason for starting this blog, four years ago, was to help people come to terms with what science was saying and going to say about consciousness. What I see is people twisting themselves in knots in order to preserve a conscious mind, thinking and in control, rather than consciousness being a simple, partial and [...]... Read more »
Shtulman, A., & Valcarcel, J. (2012) Scientific knowledge suppresses but does not supplant earlier intuitions. Cognition. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2012.04.005
A couple of years back I looked at a paper by G. Dumas etal. (here) and was impressed. Recently he commented on a posting. This prompted me to look at the recent work of the group. They have developed a method that allows them to look at the interaction between two brains in communication and [...]... Read more »
Dumas, G., Nadel, J., Soussignan, R., Martinerie, J., & Garnero, L. (2010) Inter-Brain Synchronization during Social Interaction. PLoS ONE, 5(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012166
Dumas, G., Martinerie, J., Soussignan, R., & Nadel, J. (2012) Does the brain know who is at the origin of what in an imitative interaction?. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00128
Dumas, G., Chavez, M., Nadel, J., & Martinerie, J. (2012) Anatomical Connectivity Influences both Intra- and Inter-Brain Synchronizations. PLoS ONE, 7(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036414
The title of this study (see citation below), Emotions promote social interaction by synchronizing brain activity across individuals, might be misleading to some. It is not about telepathy! It is not about some sort of rhythms or physical vibes! It is about people reacting in similar ways to the same emotional signal – not [...]... Read more »
Nummenmaa, L., Glerean, E., Viinikainen, M., Jaaskelainen, I., Hari, R., & Sams, M. (2012) Emotions promote social interaction by synchronizing brain activity across individuals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1206095109
A method called fMRI-adaptation has been used to show a neural population that is activated by whole individuals rather than just faces or bodies. The fMRI-A effect depends on the adaptation or attenuation of the BOLD signal because of the repetition of a specific stimulus in a neural population that is sensitive to that particular [...]... Read more »
Schmalzl, L., Zopf, R., & Williams, M. (2012) From Head to Toe: Evidence for Selective Brain Activation Reflecting Visual Perception of Whole Individuals. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00108
There has recently been a review of the relationship between conscious and unconscious processing by van Gaal and others. (Citation below) They looked at an area of common misunderstanding and attempted to clarify it. Here are the highlights of their summarizing discussion:
… we have reviewed recent studies that have focused on the complexity and strength [...]... Read more »
van Gaal, S., de Lange, F., & Cohen, M. (2012) The role of consciousness in cognitive control and decision making. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00121
If we look at how communication works we find that words and phrases have a great influence on attention. They bring into the consciousness of the listener the concepts that are uttered. This is what meaning is – the concepts that a word or phrase can steer attention towards. This is what communication is – [...]... Read more »
Lupyan, G., & Swingley, D. (2011) Self-directed speech affects visual search performance. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2011.647039
“What exactly is beauty?”, is an old and unanswered question. It is one of those fringe qualia of consciousness – not a perception but a feeling, like familiarity or certainty, which is attached to a perception. But the criteria for this feeling has never been settled. A recent paper by Ishizu and Zeti (citation below) [...]... Read more »
When I was 17, I was introduced to the idea of ‘personality’ as a serious psychological concept, starting with extroversion/introversion. I did not believe a word of it – I memorized it – gave it back on the exams – but never believed it. Ever since personality has been in the ‘maybe, but probably not’ [...]... Read more »
Adelstein, J., Shehzad, Z., Mennes, M., DeYoung, C., Zuo, X., Kelly, C., Margulies, D., Bloomfield, A., Gray, J., Castellanos, F.... (2011) Personality Is Reflected in the Brain's Intrinsic Functional Architecture. PLoS ONE, 6(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027633
DeYoung, C., Hirsh, J., Shane, M., Papademetris, X., Rajeevan, N., & Gray, J. (2010) Testing Predictions From Personality Neuroscience: Brain Structure and the Big Five. Psychological Science, 21(6), 820-828. DOI: 10.1177/0956797610370159
There is a recent study by Scheinin of Turku Finland, his team, and collaborators from U of California. (see citation below). They looked for the neural correlates of consciousness. This is a very interesting study.
They start with some differences in what is meant by ‘consciousness’. They are looking for the correlates of the ’state’ of [...]... Read more »
Langsjo, J., Alkire, M., Kaskinoro, K., Hayama, H., Maksimow, A., Kaisti, K., Aalto, S., Aantaa, R., Jaaskelainen, S., Revonsuo, A.... (2012) Returning from Oblivion: Imaging the Neural Core of Consciousness. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(14), 4935-4943. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4962-11.2012
On Neuroethics and Law Blog (here) there was reference to a paper giving evidence that scan images do not have the effect on juries that has been reported. Let us hope this is true – scans are far too new and difficult to understand in context, to be used in court if they wield [...]... Read more »
Schweitzer,N.J., Saks, Michael J., Murphy, Emily R., Adina L., Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter, Gaudet, Lyn M. (2011) Neuroimages as Evidence in a Mens Rea Defence: No Impact. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 17(3), 357-393. info:/
Why is it so difficult for neuroscience to identify where our self-experience comes from? It seems to involve a number of processes: memory, emotion, perception, action. Knoblich and Sebanz review some work on self. (see citation)
Action has recently become a central topic in research addressing the sense of self because there is converging evidence that [...]... Read more »
Sato, A., & Yasuda, A. (2005) Illusion of sense of self-agency: discrepancy between the predicted and actual sensory consequences of actions modulates the sense of self-agency, but not the sense of self-ownership. Cognition, 94(3), 241-255. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2004.04.003
When we watch a show on stage, TV or movie, we do the little trick of suspending disbelief. We do not believe what we are experiencing but we treat the content ‘as if we believed it’ for the duration of the show. We can re-enter that disbelieved experience if we choose, as if it were [...]... Read more »
Clark, A., Nash, R., Fincham, G., & Mazzoni, G. (2012) Creating Non-Believed Memories for Recent Autobiographical Events. PLoS ONE, 7(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032998
Is it important to society that the public believes in free will even if learned scientists and philosophers do not. Apparently there are those that hold that view. James Miles (see citation) writes that this is irresponsible and a disservice.
Here is the abstract:
Over the last few years, a number of works have been published [...]... Read more »
Miles, J. (2011) ‘Irresponsible and a Disservice’: The integrity of social psychology turns on the free will dilemma. British Journal of Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02077.x
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