Archive for August, 2014

Donald Hoffman’s Consciousness Theory

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In this conference Donald Hoffman discussed why qualia are more relevant than Dennett had tried to argue in the 1990s. Another highlight was the exchange between Hameroff and Tegmark, where Tegmark took a surprisingly casual view of his much vaunted 2000 Paper.

Extended brain

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Ultra-rapid responses of the brain, that have been demonstrated in various studies, cannot be explained by classical nerve excitation, action potentials, neurotransmitter release and further propagation and integration of neuronal activity. Rather it is suggested in this paper that spacetime configurations accessed via molecular activity in the brain (so called iso-energetic states) may represent the basis of such rapid reactions.

Common neural currency

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Studies of neural activity in response to both complex visual scenes and also tastes revealed the neural code for a continuous axis of pleasant to unpleasant emotional values (valence). The medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortices (OFC) supports a valence code that is independent of the sensory origin of signals. This allows the attractive or aversive qualities of signals to be quantified regardless of the nature or modality of the stimuli.

Libet experiment and free will

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The Focus magazine’s reply to this question leaves considerable gaps in terms of the present century’s neuroscience. Benjamin Libet’s experiment from the 1980s is once again confidently quoted as a refutation of the concept of freewill. This veteran experiment showed that brain activity could be detected before the conscious awareness of the intention to perform an action, and has ever after been trundled out as a refutation of freewill.