Archive for the ‘Philosophy and consciousness’ Category

Memory, attention and decision making

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Memory, Attention & Decision-Making (Chapter 3. Reward and punishment-related learning; emotion and motivation) Edmund Rolls, Oxford University Oxford University Press (2008) The author views the orbitofrontal region of the prefrontal cortex as the most important region for determining the value of rewards or punishers. Objects are first represented in the visual, somatosensory and other areas of the cortex without having any aspect of reward value. This only arises in the orbitofrontal Read more […]

Descartes Error

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Descartes Error Antonio Damasio Although Damasio remains within the conventional paradigm, this classic book, published in 1994, kicks away some of the props of the mechanistic ‘brain as classical computer’ orthodoxy, by arguing for the involvement of the emotions and the body in neural processing. In this respect, the book can be considered to have made more of a contribution than Damasio’s later volume ‘The Feeling of What Happens’, also reviewed in our general section, which left Read more […]

Consciousness as a subset

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Conscious states are a crosstalk mechanism for only a subset of brain processes Ezequiel Morsella & Tiffany Jantz In:- Consciousness and the Universe The authors accept the consensus view that conscious states represent only a subset of brain processing, and that the integration of sensory information and most cognitive processes are unconscious, . It is suggested that identification of processes that are unconscious can reveal those processes that involve consciousness by a process Read more […]

Art, language and cognition

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Art, Language and Complex Cognition Helen Anderson, University of Witwatersrand Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20, No. 3-4, pp. 6-32 This study can be taken as yet another argument against the twentieth century orthodoxy that language was the sole basis of consciousness, and that it ran on the equivalent of a classical computer, best left undisturbed by other inputs such as emotions. Instead the research discussed here suggests a complex interrelation between vision, emotion and language. An Read more […]

Affective and cognitive integration

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Neural mechanisms of autonomic, affective and cognitive integration Hugo D. Critchley, Wellcome and UCL Journal of Comparitive Neurology, 493, pp. 154-6 This paper discusses evidence for the involvement of bodily responses in brain processes, particularly those related to emotional experience. There does, however, seem to be ‘a dog that doesn’t bark in the night’ somewhere in this paper. There seems to be an unspoken assumption that there is an important distinction between volitional or Read more […]

Mental imagery

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Mental imagery, emotions and ‘literary task sets’ Federico Langer Journal of Consciousness Studies, vol. 19, Nos 7-8, (2012) The extent to which neural mechanisms for perception and for internal mental images are the same or different has been an area of controversy. The author considers that perception and imagery use the same processes, but do so in response to different signals. Perception is viewed as being driven by bottom-up signals from retinal input via primary and later visual cortices, Read more […]

Decision making

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Decision  making in frontal cortex: From single units to fMRISteven W. Kennersley & Philippe N. ToblerIn:- Neural Basis of Motivational and Cognitive ControlThe authors discuss the role of three frontal brain regions, the orbitofrontal, the anterior cingulate and the lateral prefrontal. Although not mentioned as such, the work is interesting in relation to the involvement of subjective conscious experience in determining the decision making discussed here, and its apparent relationship Read more […]

Damasio on emotion

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    The Feeling of What Happens Antonio Damasio The most useful function, although not the main purpose of Damasio’s latest book, is to lay to rest several of the scientific notions about emotions, language and other aspects of the mind, which had dogged scientific discussion during the 1990s. However, in its central purpose, of discussing consciousness and its relationship to emotion and the self the book proves disappointing. In the first place, the book tends to identify Read more […]

Will and quantum physics

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Henry Stapp Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley Attention, Intention and Will in Quantum Physics Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, Nos 8-9, pp. 143-64 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs Stapp starts by taking the view that the mind/matter problem represents a conflict between classical physics and our own intuitions. In classical physics we have to be automatons, while our intuition tells us that we are in charge of our actions. Read more […]

Volitional brain

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Benjamin Libet, Anthony Freeman and Keith Sutherland Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, Nos 8-9, (1999) http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs In Libet’s experiment the subjects were asked to wait for the urge to make a previously specified wrist movement. This was intended to bring the largest possible element of freewill into the experiment. The subjects should want to act and feel they had control over the action. The article points out that their are many human actions Read more […]