Archive for the ‘Neuroscience, the unconscious and movement’ Category

Libet v. recent neuroscience

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A source of despair in consciousness studies is the way in which popular science writers continue to plough ahead making pronouncements that are flatly contradicted by the neuroscientific data of recent years. In particular, consciousness students might be forgiven for screaming every time Libet’s veteran 1980s experiment is trundled out. Halligan and Oakley writing in a recent issue of ‘New Scientist’ go down this predictable route. The brain prepares for actions such as reaching out prior to awareness of the intention to reach.

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The brain and navigation

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A local anchor for the brain’s compass Martin J. Chadwick & Hugo J. Spiers, University College London, based on Marchette et al (2014) :: Nature Neuroscience, Vol. 17, No. 11, November 2014 :: www.nature.com/neuro  Summary and review of the above article INTRODUCTION: This study looks at neurons dealing with head direction and also location that are centred on the medial parietal cortex. However, it is admitted that both these neurons and the better known place cells provided only Read more […]

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Neural antecedents of action

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Neural antecedents of self-initiated actions in secondary motor cortex Murikami, M. Vicente, Gil Costa & Z. Mainen Nature Neuroscience, vol. 17, No. 11, pp. 1574-82, November 2014 www.nature.com/neuro Summary and review of the above paper INTRODUCTION: In a very guarded fashion, the authors of this paper cast doubt on the Libet-based orthodoxy where pre-conscious activity in the brain precludes the possibility of conscious will. Their research suggests that a simple threshold Read more […]

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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.

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Brain areas involved with consciousness

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Even at the very early stage of the retina, an important division arises between two parallel visual streams, the dorsal stream and the ventral stream. The dorsal stream projects to the parietal cortex, and is responsible for movements in relation to objects, many of them of a routine or reflex nature. It is also seen as an answer to the ‘where is it?’ location question. The processing of the dorsal is unconscious, and is faster than the consciousness-related processing of the ventral stream.

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Perception, action, consciousness

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Perception, Action and Consciousness (Chapter 1) N. Gangopadhyay, M. Madary, & F. Spicer Oxford University Press (2010) This book sets out to discuss a debate within the cognitive sciences as to the relationship of perception and action. One view is that this involves on a dual visual system driving the mainly separate functioning of perception and action. The alternative proposal is a system in which the sensory and motor systems are interactive with perception, and where consciousness Read more […]

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Systems for perception and action

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Cortical visual systems for perception and action David Milner & Melvyn Goodale, University of Durham and University of Western Ontario In:- Perception, Action and Consciousness – Eds. Gangopadhyay, N., Madary, M. & Spicer, F. Keywords:  ventral stream, dorsal stream, Milner & Goodale, Aglioti, Biegstraaten The authors had previously proposed a model in which there are distinct paths for vision for perception and vision for action. This involves to pathways the ventral Read more […]

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Pain and emotional assessment

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Independence and connections of pain and suffering S. Benjamin Fink Journal of Consciousness Studies, 18, No. 9-10, 2011, pp. 45-66 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs As part of his discussion of pain and consciousness, Fink mentions the condition known as ‘pain asymbola’. With this condition, patients are aware of the pain, but not of its unpleasant aspect. It should be stressed that this is distinct from the condition of analgesic patients that have no awareness of pain. Read more […]

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Dreams, movement and experience

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The body of your dreams Anil Ananthaswamy New Scientist, 13 August 2011 This article, based on research by Alan Hobson at Harvard and Ursula Voss at Bonn University, discusses recent dream research. The suggestion here is that in addition to the conventional view that dreams relate to everyday waking life, there is a segment of dreaming that connects to representations of the body that may not be currently realistic. This latter hypothesis is derived from dream research with paraplegics Read more […]

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Coordination in brain systems

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Coordination in brain systems Moser, E. I. et al In:- Dynamic Coordination in the Brain: From Neurons to Mind – Eds. Christoph von der Malsburg, William Phillips & Wolf Singer Neuroimaging of the human brain indicates coordination of activity between different brain regions. Large scale coordination is shown to span the entire brain.  Rhythmic modulation of electrical activity is seen as a possible mechanism to change the couplings amongst neurons. Networks undergoing electrical oscillation Read more […]

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