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Sample records for consciousness related neural

  1. Cortical Neural Synchronization Underlies Primary Visual Consciousness of Qualia: Evidence from Event-Related Potentials

    PubMed Central

    Babiloni, Claudio; Marzano, Nicola; Soricelli, Andrea; Cordone, Susanna; Millán-Calenti, José Carlos; Del Percio, Claudio; Buján, Ana

    2016-01-01

    This article reviews three experiments on event-related potentials (ERPs) testing the hypothesis that primary visual consciousness (stimulus self-report) is related to enhanced cortical neural synchronization as a function of stimulus features. ERP peak latency and sources were compared between “seen” trials and “not seen” trials, respectively related and unrelated to the primary visual consciousness. Three salient features of visual stimuli were considered (visuospatial, emotional face expression, and written words). Results showed the typical visual ERP components in both “seen” and “not seen” trials. There was no statistical difference in the ERP peak latencies between the “seen” and “not seen” trials, suggesting a similar timing of the cortical neural synchronization regardless the primary visual consciousness. In contrast, ERP sources showed differences between “seen” and “not seen” trials. For the visuospatial stimuli, the primary consciousness was related to higher activity in dorsal occipital and parietal sources at about 400 ms post-stimulus. For the emotional face expressions, there was greater activity in parietal and frontal sources at about 180 ms post-stimulus. For the written letters, there was higher activity in occipital, parietal and temporal sources at about 230 ms post-stimulus. These results hint that primary visual consciousness is associated with an enhanced cortical neural synchronization having entirely different spatiotemporal characteristics as a function of the features of the visual stimuli and possibly, the relative qualia (i.e., visuospatial, face expression, and words). In this framework, the dorsal visual stream may be synchronized in association with the primary consciousness of visuospatial and emotional face contents. Analogously, both dorsal and ventral visual streams may be synchronized in association with the primary consciousness of linguistic contents. In this line of reasoning, the ensemble

  2. Cortical Neural Synchronization Underlies Primary Visual Consciousness of Qualia: Evidence from Event-Related Potentials.

    PubMed

    Babiloni, Claudio; Marzano, Nicola; Soricelli, Andrea; Cordone, Susanna; Millán-Calenti, José Carlos; Del Percio, Claudio; Buján, Ana

    2016-01-01

    This article reviews three experiments on event-related potentials (ERPs) testing the hypothesis that primary visual consciousness (stimulus self-report) is related to enhanced cortical neural synchronization as a function of stimulus features. ERP peak latency and sources were compared between "seen" trials and "not seen" trials, respectively related and unrelated to the primary visual consciousness. Three salient features of visual stimuli were considered (visuospatial, emotional face expression, and written words). Results showed the typical visual ERP components in both "seen" and "not seen" trials. There was no statistical difference in the ERP peak latencies between the "seen" and "not seen" trials, suggesting a similar timing of the cortical neural synchronization regardless the primary visual consciousness. In contrast, ERP sources showed differences between "seen" and "not seen" trials. For the visuospatial stimuli, the primary consciousness was related to higher activity in dorsal occipital and parietal sources at about 400 ms post-stimulus. For the emotional face expressions, there was greater activity in parietal and frontal sources at about 180 ms post-stimulus. For the written letters, there was higher activity in occipital, parietal and temporal sources at about 230 ms post-stimulus. These results hint that primary visual consciousness is associated with an enhanced cortical neural synchronization having entirely different spatiotemporal characteristics as a function of the features of the visual stimuli and possibly, the relative qualia (i.e., visuospatial, face expression, and words). In this framework, the dorsal visual stream may be synchronized in association with the primary consciousness of visuospatial and emotional face contents. Analogously, both dorsal and ventral visual streams may be synchronized in association with the primary consciousness of linguistic contents. In this line of reasoning, the ensemble of the cortical neural networks

  3. Using brain stimulation to disentangle neural correlates of conscious vision

    PubMed Central

    de Graaf, Tom A.; Sack, Alexander T.

    2014-01-01

    Research into the neural correlates of consciousness (NCCs) has blossomed, due to the advent of new and increasingly sophisticated brain research tools. Neuroimaging has uncovered a variety of brain processes that relate to conscious perception, obtained in a range of experimental paradigms. But methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging or electroencephalography do not always afford inference on the functional role these brain processes play in conscious vision. Such empirical NCCs could reflect neural prerequisites, neural consequences, or neural substrates of a conscious experience. Here, we take a closer look at the use of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques in this context. We discuss and review how NIBS methodology can enlighten our understanding of brain mechanisms underlying conscious vision by disentangling the empirical NCCs. PMID:25295015

  4. "Binaural Rivalry": Dichotic Listening as a Tool for the Investigation of the Neural Correlate of Consciousness

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brancucci, Alfredo; Tommasi, Luca

    2011-01-01

    Since about two decades neuroscientists have systematically faced the problem of consciousness: the aim is to discover the neural activity specifically related to conscious perceptions, i.e. the biological properties of what philosophers call qualia. In this view, a neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) is a precise pattern of brain activity…

  5. Neural Plasticity Lessons from Disorders of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Demertzi, Athena; Schnakers, Caroline; Soddu, Andrea; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie; Gosseries, Olivia; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey; Laureys, Steven

    2010-01-01

    Communication and intentional behavior are supported by the brain's integrity at a structural and a functional level. When widespread loss of cerebral connectivity is brought about as a result of a severe brain injury, in many cases patients are not capable of conscious interactive behavior and are said to suffer from disorders of consciousness (e.g., coma, vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, minimally conscious states). This lesion paradigm has offered not only clinical insights, as how to improve diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, but also put forward scientific opportunities to study the brain's plastic abilities. We here review interventional and observational studies performed in severely brain-injured patients with regards to recovery of consciousness. The study of the recovered conscious brain (spontaneous and/or after surgical or pharmacologic interventions), suggests a link between some specific brain areas and the capacity of the brain to sustain conscious experience, challenging at the same time the notion of fixed temporal boundaries in rehabilitative processes. Altered functional connectivity, cerebral structural reorganization as well as behavioral amelioration after invasive treatments will be discussed as the main indices for plasticity in these challenging patients. The study of patients with chronic disorders of consciousness may, thus, provide further insights not only at a clinical level (i.e., medical management and rehabilitation) but also from a scientific-theoretical perspective (i.e., the brain's plastic abilities and the pursuit of the neural correlate of consciousness). PMID:21833298

  6. Neural plasticity lessons from disorders of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Demertzi, Athena; Schnakers, Caroline; Soddu, Andrea; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie; Gosseries, Olivia; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey; Laureys, Steven

    2010-01-01

    Communication and intentional behavior are supported by the brain's integrity at a structural and a functional level. When widespread loss of cerebral connectivity is brought about as a result of a severe brain injury, in many cases patients are not capable of conscious interactive behavior and are said to suffer from disorders of consciousness (e.g., coma, vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, minimally conscious states). This lesion paradigm has offered not only clinical insights, as how to improve diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, but also put forward scientific opportunities to study the brain's plastic abilities. We here review interventional and observational studies performed in severely brain-injured patients with regards to recovery of consciousness. The study of the recovered conscious brain (spontaneous and/or after surgical or pharmacologic interventions), suggests a link between some specific brain areas and the capacity of the brain to sustain conscious experience, challenging at the same time the notion of fixed temporal boundaries in rehabilitative processes. Altered functional connectivity, cerebral structural reorganization as well as behavioral amelioration after invasive treatments will be discussed as the main indices for plasticity in these challenging patients. The study of patients with chronic disorders of consciousness may, thus, provide further insights not only at a clinical level (i.e., medical management and rehabilitation) but also from a scientific-theoretical perspective (i.e., the brain's plastic abilities and the pursuit of the neural correlate of consciousness). PMID:21833298

  7. Consciousness.

    PubMed

    Zeman, A

    2001-07-01

    Consciousness is topical, for reasons including its renewed respectability among psychologists, rapid progress in the neuroscience of perception, memory and action, advances in artificial intelligence and dissatisfaction with the dualistic separation of mind and body. Consciousness is an ambiguous term. It can refer to (i) the waking state; (ii) experience; and (iii) the possession of any mental state. Self-consciousness is equally ambiguous, with senses including (i) proneness to embarrassment in social settings; (ii) the ability to detect our own sensations and recall our recent actions; (iii) self-recognition; (iv) the awareness of awareness; and (v) self-knowledge in the broadest sense. The understanding of states of consciousness has been transformed by the delineation of their electrical correlates, of structures in brainstem and diencephalon which regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and of these structures' cellular physiology and regional pharmacology. Clinical studies have defined pathologies of wakefulness: coma, the persistent vegetative state, the 'locked-in' syndrome, akinetic mutism and brain death. Interest in the neural basis of perceptual awareness has focused on vision. Increasingly detailed neuronal correlates of real and illusory visual experience are being defined. Experiments exploiting circumstances in which visual experience changes while external stimulation is held constant are tightening the experimental link between consciousness and its neural correlates. Work on unconscious neural processes provides a complementary approach. 'Unperceived' stimuli have detectable effects on neural events and subsequent action in a range of circumstances: blindsight provides the classical example. Other areas of cognitive neuroscience also promise experimental insights into consciousness, in particular the distinctions between implicit and explicit memory and deliberate and automatic action. Overarching scientific theories of consciousness include

  8. On the Neural Mechanisms Subserving Consciousness and Attention

    PubMed Central

    Tallon-Baudry, Catherine

    2012-01-01

    Consciousness, as described in the experimental literature, is a multi-faceted phenomenon, that impinges on other well-studied concepts such as attention and control. Do consciousness and attention refer to different aspects of the same core phenomenon, or do they correspond to distinct functions? One possibility to address this question is to examine the neural mechanisms underlying consciousness and attention. If consciousness and attention pertain to the same concept, they should rely on shared neural mechanisms. Conversely, if their underlying mechanisms are distinct, then consciousness and attention should be considered as distinct entities. This paper therefore reviews neurophysiological facts arguing in favor or against a tight relationship between consciousness and attention. Three neural mechanisms that have been associated with both attention and consciousness are examined (neural amplification, involvement of the fronto-parietal network, and oscillatory synchrony), to conclude that the commonalities between attention and consciousness at the neural level may have been overestimated. Last but not least, experiments in which both attention and consciousness were probed at the neural level point toward a dissociation between the two concepts. It therefore appears from this review that consciousness and attention rely on distinct neural properties, although they can interact at the behavioral level. It is proposed that a “cumulative influence model,” in which attention and consciousness correspond to distinct neural mechanisms feeding a single decisional process leading to behavior, fits best with available neural and behavioral data. In this view, consciousness should not be considered as a top-level executive function but should rather be defined by its experiential properties. PMID:22291674

  9. Imaging neural signatures of consciousness: 'what', 'when', 'where' and 'how' does it work?

    PubMed

    Sergent, C; Naccache, L

    2012-01-01

    'What' do we call consciousness? 'When' and 'Where' in the brain do conscious states occur, and 'How' conscious processing and conscious access to a given content work? In the present paper, we present a non-exhaustive overview of each of these 4 major issues, we provide the reader with a brief description of the major difficulties related to these issues, we highlight the current theoretical points of debate, and we advocate for the explanatory power of the "global workspace" model of consciousness (Baars 1989; Dehaene and Naccache 2001; Dehaene, Changeux et al. 2006) which can accommodate for a fairly large proportion of current experimental findings, and which can be used to reinterpret apparent contradictory findings within a single theoretical framework. Most notably, we emphasize the crucial importance to distinguish genuine neural signatures of conscious access from neural events correlated with consciousness but occurring either before ('upstream') or after ('downstream'). PMID:23165871

  10. Comparing the Neural Correlates of Conscious and Unconscious Conflict Control in a Masked Stroop Priming Task

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Jun; Bailey, Kira; Xiang, Ling; Zhang, Li; Zhang, Qinglin

    2016-01-01

    Although previous studies have suggested that conflict control can occur in the absence of consciousness, the brain mechanisms underlying unconscious and conscious conflict control remain unclear. The current study used a rapid event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging design to collect data from 24 participants while they performed a masked Stroop priming task under both conscious and unconscious conditions. The results revealed that the fronto-parietal conflict network, including medial frontal cortex (MFC), left and right dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and posterior parietal cortex (PPC), was activated by both conscious and unconscious Stroop priming, even though in MFC and left DLPFC the activations elicited by unconscious Stroop priming were smaller than conscious Stroop priming. The findings provide evidence for the existence of quantitative differences between the neural substrates of conscious and unconscious conflict control. PMID:27378890

  11. Messages from the Brain Connectivity Regarding Neural Correlates of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Jin, Seung-Hyun

    2012-01-01

    Consciousness has become a legitimate theme of neuroscientific discourse over the last two decades. Neuroscientific investigation seeking neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) has ranged from the neuronal level to the system level. Regarding system level studies, there is a large body of evidence supporting the idea that functional connectivity studies can help in examining NCC. Functional connectivity studies have suggested the involvement of the thalamo-cortical, frontoparietal, and other cortico-cortical connectivity under anesthetic-induced unconsciousness and in disorders of consciousness. Likewise, effective connectivity has been used to investigate the causal interactions among elements of functional connectivity in various consciousness states, and provided a deeper understanding of NCC. Moreover, as an extended version of connectivity studies, complex network methods have also been used for studies on NCC. In this review, we focused on the aspect of the brain system level of NCC including functional and effective connectivity networks from methodological perspectives. In addition, as for states of consciousness, anesthetic-induced unconsciousness and disorders of consciousness are the main subjects. This review discusses what we have learned from recent studies about the exploration of human brain connectivity on consciousness and its neural correlates. PMID:23055789

  12. Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Sejnowski, Terrence J.

    2016-01-01

    No one did more to draw neuroscientists’ attention to the problem of consciousness in the twentieth century than Francis Crick, who may be better known as the co-discoverer (with James Watson) of the structure of DNA. Crick focused his research on visual awareness and based his analysis on the progress made over the last fifty years in uncovering the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception. Because much of what happens in our brains occurs below the level of consciousness and many of our intuitions about unconscious processing are misleading, consciousness remains an elusive problem. In the end, when all of the brain mechanisms that underlie consciousness have been identified, will we still be asking: “What is consciousness?” Or will the question shift, just as the question “What is life?” is no longer the same as it was before Francis Crick? PMID:26900168

  13. Measuring consciousness: relating behavioural and neurophysiological approaches

    PubMed Central

    Seth, Anil K.; Dienes, Zoltán; Cleeremans, Axel; Overgaard, Morten; Pessoa, Luiz

    2009-01-01

    The resurgent science of consciousness has been accompanied by a recent emphasis on the problem of measurement. Having dependable measures of consciousness is essential both for mapping experimental evidence to theory and for designing perspicuous experiments. Here, we review a series of behavioural and brain-based measures, assessing their ability to track graded consciousness and clarifying how they relate to each other by showing what theories are presupposed by each. We identify possible and actual conflicts among measures that can stimulate new experiments, and we conclude that measures must prove themselves by iteratively building knowledge in the context of theoretical frameworks. Advances in measuring consciousness have implications for basic cognitive neuroscience, for comparative studies of consciousness and for clinical applications. PMID:18606562

  14. A frontal but not parietal neural correlate of auditory consciousness.

    PubMed

    Brancucci, Alfredo; Lugli, Victor; Perrucci, Mauro Gianni; Del Gratta, Cosimo; Tommasi, Luca

    2016-01-01

    Hemodynamic correlates of consciousness were investigated in humans during the presentation of a dichotic sequence inducing illusory auditory percepts with features analogous to visual multistability. The sequence consisted of a variation of the original stimulation eliciting the Deutsch's octave illusion, created to maintain a stable illusory percept long enough to allow the detection of the underlying hemodynamic activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Two specular 500 ms dichotic stimuli (400 and 800 Hz) presented in alternation by means of earphones cause an illusory segregation of pitch and ear of origin which can yield up to four different auditory percepts per dichotic stimulus. Such percepts are maintained stable when one of the two dichotic stimuli is presented repeatedly for 6 s, immediately after the alternation. We observed hemodynamic activity specifically accompanying conscious experience of pitch in a bilateral network including the superior frontal gyrus (SFG, BA9 and BA10), medial frontal gyrus (BA6 and BA9), insula (BA13), and posterior lateral nucleus of the thalamus. Conscious experience of side (ear of origin) was instead specifically accompanied by bilateral activity in the MFG (BA6), STG (BA41), parahippocampal gyrus (BA28), and insula (BA13). These results suggest that the neural substrate of auditory consciousness, differently from that of visual consciousness, may rest upon a fronto-temporal rather than upon a fronto-parietal network. Moreover, they indicate that the neural correlates of consciousness depend on the specific features of the stimulus and suggest the SFG-MFG and the insula as important cortical nodes for auditory conscious experience. PMID:25344118

  15. An adaptive workspace hypothesis about the neural correlates of consciousness: insights from neuroscience and meditation studies.

    PubMed

    Raffone, Antonino; Srinivasan, Narayanan

    2009-01-01

    While enormous progress has been made to identify neural correlates of consciousness (NCC), crucial NCC aspects are still very controversial. A major hurdle is the lack of an adequate definition and characterization of different aspects of conscious experience and also its relationship to attention and metacognitive processes like monitoring. In this paper, we therefore attempt to develop a unitary theoretical framework for NCC, with an interdependent characterization of endogenous attention, access consciousness, phenomenal awareness, metacognitive consciousness, and a non-referential form of unified consciousness. We advance an adaptive workspace hypothesis about the NCC based on the global workspace model emphasizing transient resonant neurodynamics and prefrontal cortex function, as well as meditation-related characterizations of conscious experiences. In this hypothesis, transient dynamic links within an adaptive coding net in prefrontal cortex, especially in anterior prefrontal cortex, and between it and the rest of the brain, in terms of ongoing intrinsic and long-range signal exchanges, flexibly regulate the interplay between endogenous attention, access consciousness, phenomenal awareness, and metacognitive consciousness processes. Such processes are established in terms of complementary aspects of an ongoing transition between context-sensitive global workspace assemblies, modulated moment-to-moment by body and environment states. Brain regions associated to momentary interoceptive and exteroceptive self-awareness, or first-person experiential perspective as emphasized in open monitoring meditation, play an important modulatory role in adaptive workspace transitions. PMID:19733756

  16. A common neural code for similar conscious experiences in different individuals

    PubMed Central

    Naci, Lorina; Cusack, Rhodri; Anello, Mimma; Owen, Adrian M.

    2014-01-01

    The interpretation of human consciousness from brain activity, without recourse to speech or action, is one of the most provoking and challenging frontiers of modern neuroscience. We asked whether there is a common neural code that underpins similar conscious experiences, which could be used to decode these experiences in the absence of behavior. To this end, we used richly evocative stimulation (an engaging movie) portraying real-world events to elicit a similar conscious experience in different people. Common neural correlates of conscious experience were quantified and related to measurable, quantitative and qualitative, executive components of the movie through two additional behavioral investigations. The movie’s executive demands drove synchronized brain activity across healthy participants’ frontal and parietal cortices in regions known to support executive function. Moreover, the timing of activity in these regions was predicted by participants’ highly similar qualitative experience of the movie’s moment-to-moment executive demands, suggesting that synchronization of activity across participants underpinned their similar experience. Thus we demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, that a neural index based on executive function reliably predicted every healthy individual’s similar conscious experience in response to real-world events unfolding over time. This approach provided strong evidence for the conscious experience of a brain-injured patient, who had remained entirely behaviorally nonresponsive for 16 y. The patient’s executive engagement and moment-to-moment perception of the movie content were highly similar to that of every healthy participant. These findings shed light on the common basis of human consciousness and enable the interpretation of conscious experience in the absence of behavior. PMID:25225384

  17. A Deeper Look at the "Neural Correlate of Consciousness".

    PubMed

    Fink, Sascha Benjamin

    2016-01-01

    A main goal of the neuroscience of consciousness is: find the neural correlate to conscious experiences (NCC). When have we achieved this goal? The answer depends on our operationalization of "NCC." Chalmers (2000) shaped the widely accepted operationalization according to which an NCC is a neural system with a state which is minimally sufficient (but not necessary) for an experience. A deeper look at this operationalization reveals why it might be unsatisfactory: (i) it is not an operationalization of a correlate for occurring experiences, but of the capacity to experience; (ii) it is unhelpful for certain cases which are used to motivate a search for neural correlates of consciousness; (iii) it does not mirror the usage of "NCC" by scientists who seek for unique correlates; (iv) it hardly allows for a form of comparative testing of hypotheses, namely experimenta crucis. Because of these problems (i-iv), we ought to amend or improve on Chalmers's operationalization. Here, I present an alternative which avoids these problems. This "NCC2.0" also retains some benefits of Chalmers's operationalization, namely being compatible with contributions from extended, embedded, enacted, or embodied accounts (4E-accounts) and allowing for the possibility of non-biological or artificial experiencers. PMID:27507950

  18. Neural signature of the conscious processing of auditory regularities

    PubMed Central

    Bekinschtein, Tristan A.; Dehaene, Stanislas; Rohaut, Benjamin; Tadel, François; Cohen, Laurent; Naccache, Lionel

    2009-01-01

    Can conscious processing be inferred from neurophysiological measurements? Some models stipulate that the active maintenance of perceptual representations across time requires consciousness. Capitalizing on this assumption, we designed an auditory paradigm that evaluates cerebral responses to violations of temporal regularities that are either local in time or global across several seconds. Local violations led to an early response in auditory cortex, independent of attention or the presence of a concurrent visual task, whereas global violations led to a late and spatially distributed response that was only present when subjects were attentive and aware of the violations. We could detect the global effect in individual subjects using functional MRI and both scalp and intracerebral event-related potentials. Recordings from 8 noncommunicating patients with disorders of consciousness confirmed that only conscious individuals presented a global effect. Taken together these observations suggest that the presence of the global effect is a signature of conscious processing, although it can be absent in conscious subjects who are not aware of the global auditory regularities. This simple electrophysiological marker could thus serve as a useful clinical tool. PMID:19164526

  19. Behavioral, Neural, and Computational Principles of Bodily Self-Consciousness.

    PubMed

    Blanke, Olaf; Slater, Mel; Serino, Andrea

    2015-10-01

    Recent work in human cognitive neuroscience has linked self-consciousness to the processing of multisensory bodily signals (bodily self-consciousness [BSC]) in fronto-parietal cortex and more posterior temporo-parietal regions. We highlight the behavioral, neurophysiological, neuroimaging, and computational laws that subtend BSC in humans and non-human primates. We propose that BSC includes body-centered perception (hand, face, and trunk), based on the integration of proprioceptive, vestibular, and visual bodily inputs, and involves spatio-temporal mechanisms integrating multisensory bodily stimuli within peripersonal space (PPS). We develop four major constraints of BSC (proprioception, body-related visual information, PPS, and embodiment) and argue that the fronto-parietal and temporo-parietal processing of trunk-centered multisensory signals in PPS is of particular relevance for theoretical models and simulations of BSC and eventually of self-consciousness. PMID:26447578

  20. Isolating neural correlates of conscious perception from neural correlates of reporting one's perception

    PubMed Central

    Pitts, Michael A.; Metzler, Stephen; Hillyard, Steven A.

    2014-01-01

    To isolate neural correlates of conscious perception (NCCs), a standard approach has been to contrast neural activity elicited by identical stimuli of which subjects are aware vs. unaware. Because conscious experience is private, determining whether a stimulus was consciously perceived requires subjective report: e.g., button-presses indicating detection, visibility ratings, verbal reports, etc. This reporting requirement introduces a methodological confound when attempting to isolate NCCs: The neural processes responsible for accessing and reporting one's percept are difficult to distinguish from those underlying the conscious percept itself. Here, we review recent attempts to circumvent this issue via a modified inattentional blindness paradigm (Pitts et al., 2012) and present new data from a backward masking experiment in which task-relevance and visual awareness were manipulated in a 2 × 2 crossed design. In agreement with our previous inattentional blindness results, stimuli that were consciously perceived yet not immediately accessed for report (aware, task-irrelevant condition) elicited a mid-latency posterior ERP negativity (~200–240 ms), while stimuli that were accessed for report (aware, task-relevant condition) elicited additional components including a robust P3b (~380–480 ms) subsequent to the mid-latency negativity. Overall, these results suggest that some of the NCCs identified in previous studies may be more closely linked with accessing and maintaining perceptual information for reporting purposes than with encoding the conscious percept itself. An open question is whether the remaining NCC candidate (the ERP negativity at 200–240 ms) reflects visual awareness or object-based attention. PMID:25339922

  1. No-Report Paradigms: Extracting the True Neural Correlates of Consciousness.

    PubMed

    Tsuchiya, Naotsugu; Wilke, Melanie; Frässle, Stefan; Lamme, Victor A F

    2015-12-01

    The goal of consciousness research is to reveal the neural basis of phenomenal experience. To study phenomenology, experimenters seem obliged to ask reports from the subjects to ascertain what they experience. However, we argue that the requirement of reports has biased the search for the neural correlates of consciousness over the past decades. More recent studies attempt to dissociate neural activity that gives rise to consciousness from the activity that enables the report; in particular, no-report paradigms have been utilized to study conscious experience in the full absence of any report. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of report-based and no-report paradigms, and ask how these jointly bring us closer to understanding the true neural basis of consciousness. PMID:26585549

  2. Posterior Cingulate, Precuneal & Retrosplenial Cortices: Cytology & Components of the Neural Network Correlates of Consciousness*

    PubMed Central

    Vogt, Brent A.; Laureys, Steven

    2008-01-01

    Neuronal aggregates involved in conscious awareness are not evenly distributed throughout the CNS but are comprised of key components referred to as the neural network correlates of consciousness (NNCC). A critical node in this network is the retrosplenial, posterior cingulate, and precuneal cortices (RSC/PCC/PrCC). The cytological and neurochemical composition of this region is reviewed in relation to the Brodmann map. This region has the highest level of brain glucose metabolism and cytochrome c oxidase activity. Monkey studies suggest that the anterior thalamic projection likely drives RSC and PCC metabolism and that the midbrain projection to the anteroventral thalamic nucleus is a key coupling site between the brainstem system for arousal and cortical systems for cognitive processing and awareness. The pivotal role of RSC/PCC/PrCC in consciousness is demonstrated with posterior cingulate epilepsy cases, midcingulate lesions that de-afferent this region and are associated with unilateral sensory neglect, observations from stroke and vegetative state patients, alterations in blood flow during sleep, and the actions of anesthetics. Since this region is critically involved in self reflection, it is not surprising that it is similarly a site for the NNCC. Interestingly, information processing during complex cognitive tasks and during aversive sensations such as pain induces efforts to terminate self reflection and result in decreased processing in PCC/PrCC. Finally, anatomical relations between the neural correlates of mind and NNCC in the cingulate gyrus do not appear to overlap and suggests that mental function and conscious awareness may be mediated by two neural networks. PMID:16186025

  3. Neural mechanisms underlying conscious and unconscious attentional shifts triggered by eye gaze.

    PubMed

    Sato, Wataru; Kochiyama, Takanori; Uono, Shota; Toichi, Motomi

    2016-01-01

    Behavioral studies have shown that eye gaze triggers attentional shifts both with and without conscious awareness. However, the neural substrates of conscious and unconscious attentional shifts triggered by eye gaze remain unclear. To investigate this issue, we measured brain activity using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging while participants observed averted or straight eye-gaze cues presented supraliminally or subliminally in the central visual field and then localized a subsequent target in the peripheral visual field. Reaction times for localizing the targets were shorter under both supraliminal and subliminal conditions when eye-gaze cues were directionally congruent with the target locations than when they were directionally neutral. Conjunction analyses revealed that a bilateral cortical network, including the middle temporal gyri, inferior parietal lobules, anterior cingulate cortices, and superior and middle frontal gyri, was activated more in response to averted eyes than to straight eyes under both supraliminal and subliminal conditions. Interaction analyses revealed that the right inferior parietal lobule was specifically active when participants viewed averted eyes relative to straight eyes under the supraliminal condition; the bilateral subcortical regions, including the superior colliculus and amygdala, and the middle temporal and inferior frontal gyri in the right hemisphere were activated in response to averted versus straight eyes under the subliminal condition. These results suggest commonalities and differences in the neural mechanisms underlying conscious and unconscious attentional shifts triggered by eye gaze. PMID:26343316

  4. Neural networks, brainwaves, and ionic structures: acupuncture vs. altered states of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Rakovic, D

    1991-01-01

    It is shown that neural networks with embedded "brainwaves" can cross the gap between the fast parallel unconscious mode of neuroscience and the slow serial conscious mode of psychology. The electromagnetic (EM) component of ultra low frequency (ULF) "brainwaves" appears to enable perfect fitting with narrowed limits of conscious capacity in normal awake states and very extended limits in altered states of consciousness - due to the biophysical relativistic mechanism of dilated subjective time base. An additional complex low-dielectric (epsilon r approximately 1) structure is also necessary in these processes. This structure can be related to a displaced (from the body) part of acupuncture ionic system which can conduct ULF brainwave currents approximately 10(-7) A, inside the conductive channels of the initial ionic concentration approximately 10(-15) cm-3, with a tendency of deterioration during a period of approximately 1 hour. It provides an extraordinary biophysical basis for traditional psychology, including trans-personal experiences down to the ultimate state of thoughtless consciousness. Notions, such as "qi", "subtle body", and "causal body", are physically inevitably associated with ions, displaced (from the body) part of acupuncture ionic structure, and in it embedded an EM component of ULF brainwaves, respectively. PMID:1685625

  5. The neural substrates of conscious color perception demonstrated using fMRI.

    PubMed

    Morita, Tomoyo; Kochiyama, Takanori; Okada, Tomohisa; Yonekura, Yoshiharu; Matsumura, Michikazu; Sadato, Norihiro

    2004-04-01

    It is well established that seeing color activates the ventral occipital cortex, including the fusiform and lingual gyri, but less is known about whether the region directly relates to conscious color perception. We investigated the neural correlates of conscious color perception in the ventral occipital cortex. To vary conscious color perception with the stimuli-remaining constant, we took advantage of the McCollough effect, an illusory color effect that is contingent on the orientation of grating stimuli. Subjects were exposed to a specific combination of chromatic grating patterns for 10 min to induce the McCollough effect. We compared brain activities measured while the subjects viewed achromatic grating stimuli before (PRE) and after the induction of the McCollough effect (POST) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). There were two groups: one group was informed that they would perceive illusory color during the session (INFORMED group), whereas the other group was not informed (UNINFORMED group). The successful induction of the McCollough effect was confirmed in all subjects after the fMRI experiment; nevertheless, only approximately half of the UNINFORMED subjects had been aware of the color during the POST session, while the other half had not. The left anterior portion of the color-selective area in the ventral occipital cortex, presumably V4alpha, was significantly active in subjects who had consciously perceived the color during MR scan. This study demonstrates the activity in a subregion of the color-selective area in the ventral occipital cortex directly related to conscious color perception. PMID:15050589

  6. Neural Signatures of Conscious Face Perception in an Inattentional Blindness Paradigm.

    PubMed

    Shafto, Juliet P; Pitts, Michael A

    2015-08-01

    Previous studies suggest that early stages of face-specific processing are performed preattentively and unconsciously, whereas conscious perception emerges with late-stage (>300 ms) neuronal activity. A conflicting view, however, posits that attention is necessary for face-specific processing and that early-to-mid latency neural responses (∼ 100-300 ms) correspond more closely with perceptual awareness. The current study capitalized on a recently developed method for manipulating attention and conscious perception during EEG recording (modified inattentional blindness paradigm) and used face stimuli that elicit a well known marker of early face processing, the N170 event-related potential (ERP). In Phase 1 of the experiment, subjects performed a demanding distracter task while line drawings of faces and matched control stimuli were presented in the center of their view. When queried, half of the subjects reported no awareness of the faces and were deemed inattentionally blind. In Phase 2, subjects performed the same distracter task, but now consciously perceived the face stimuli due to the intervening questioning. In Phase 3, subjects performed a discrimination task on the faces. Two primary contrasts were made: aware versus unaware (equally task irrelevant) and task-relevant versus task-irrelevant (equally aware). The N170 and a subsequent ERP component, the visual awareness negativity (∼ 260-300 ms), were absent during inattentional blindness and present in the aware conditions. The P3b (> 300 ms) was absent for task-irrelevant faces, even when consciously perceived, and present only when the faces were task relevant. These results inform contemporary theories of conscious face perception in particular and visual attention and perceptual awareness in general. PMID:26245958

  7. Large scale screening of neural signatures of consciousness in patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state.

    PubMed

    Sitt, Jacobo Diego; King, Jean-Remi; El Karoui, Imen; Rohaut, Benjamin; Faugeras, Frederic; Gramfort, Alexandre; Cohen, Laurent; Sigman, Mariano; Dehaene, Stanislas; Naccache, Lionel

    2014-08-01

    In recent years, numerous electrophysiological signatures of consciousness have been proposed. Here, we perform a systematic analysis of these electroencephalography markers by quantifying their efficiency in differentiating patients in a vegetative state from those in a minimally conscious or conscious state. Capitalizing on a review of previous experiments and current theories, we identify a series of measures that can be organized into four dimensions: (i) event-related potentials versus ongoing electroencephalography activity; (ii) local dynamics versus inter-electrode information exchange; (iii) spectral patterns versus information complexity; and (iv) average versus fluctuations over the recording session. We analysed a large set of 181 high-density electroencephalography recordings acquired in a 30 minutes protocol. We show that low-frequency power, electroencephalography complexity, and information exchange constitute the most reliable signatures of the conscious state. When combined, these measures synergize to allow an automatic classification of patients' state of consciousness. PMID:24919971

  8. Large scale screening of neural signatures of consciousness in patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state

    PubMed Central

    El Karoui, Imen; Rohaut, Benjamin; Faugeras, Frederic; Gramfort, Alexandre; Cohen, Laurent; Sigman, Mariano; Dehaene, Stanislas; Naccache, Lionel

    2014-01-01

    In recent years, numerous electrophysiological signatures of consciousness have been proposed. Here, we perform a systematic analysis of these electroencephalography markers by quantifying their efficiency in differentiating patients in a vegetative state from those in a minimally conscious or conscious state. Capitalizing on a review of previous experiments and current theories, we identify a series of measures that can be organized into four dimensions: (i) event-related potentials versus ongoing electroencephalography activity; (ii) local dynamics versus inter-electrode information exchange; (iii) spectral patterns versus information complexity; and (iv) average versus fluctuations over the recording session. We analysed a large set of 181 high-density electroencephalography recordings acquired in a 30 minutes protocol. We show that low-frequency power, electroencephalography complexity, and information exchange constitute the most reliable signatures of the conscious state. When combined, these measures synergize to allow an automatic classification of patients’ state of consciousness. PMID:24919971

  9. Consciousness.

    PubMed

    Searle, J R

    2000-01-01

    Until recently, most neuroscientists did not regard consciousness as a suitable topic for scientific investigation. This reluctance was based on certain philosophical mistakes, primarily the mistake of supposing that the subjectivity of consciousness made it beyond the reach of an objective science. Once we see that consciousness is a biological phenomenon like any other, then it can be investigated neurobiologically. Consciousness is entirely caused by neurobiological processes and is realized in brain structures. The essential trait of consciousness that we need to explain is unified qualitative subjectivity. Consciousness thus differs from other biological phenomena in that it has a subjective or first-person ontology, but this subjective ontology does not prevent us from having an epistemically objective science of consciousness. We need to overcome the philosophical tradition that treats the mental and the physical as two distinct metaphysical realms. Two common approaches to consciousness are those that adopt the building block model, according to which any conscious field is made of its various parts, and the unified field model, according to which we should try to explain the unified character of subjective states of consciousness. These two approaches are discussed and reasons are given for preferring the unified field theory to the building block model. Some relevant research on consciousness involves the subjects of blindsight, the split-brain experiments, binocular rivalry, and gestalt switching. PMID:10845075

  10. Measuring consciousness in coma and related states

    PubMed Central

    Di Perri, Carol; Thibaut, Aurore; Heine, Lizette; Soddu, Andrea; Demertzi, Athena; Laureys, Steven

    2014-01-01

    Consciousness is a prismatic and ambiguous concept that still eludes any universal definition. Severe acquired brain injuries resulting in a disorder of consciousness (DOC) provide a model from which insights into consciousness can be drawn. A number of recent studies highlight the difficulty in making a diagnosis in patients with DOC based only on behavioral assessments. Here we aim to provide an overview of how neuroimaging techniques can help assess patients with DOC. Such techniques are expected to facilitate a more accurate understanding of brain function in states of unconsciousness and to improve the evaluation of the patient’s cognitive abilities by providing both diagnostic and prognostic indicators. PMID:25170396

  11. Measuring consciousness in coma and related states.

    PubMed

    Di Perri, Carol; Thibaut, Aurore; Heine, Lizette; Soddu, Andrea; Demertzi, Athena; Laureys, Steven

    2014-08-28

    Consciousness is a prismatic and ambiguous concept that still eludes any universal definition. Severe acquired brain injuries resulting in a disorder of consciousness (DOC) provide a model from which insights into consciousness can be drawn. A number of recent studies highlight the difficulty in making a diagnosis in patients with DOC based only on behavioral assessments. Here we aim to provide an overview of how neuroimaging techniques can help assess patients with DOC. Such techniques are expected to facilitate a more accurate understanding of brain function in states of unconsciousness and to improve the evaluation of the patient's cognitive abilities by providing both diagnostic and prognostic indicators. PMID:25170396

  12. Neural signatures of conscious and unconscious emotional face processing in human infants.

    PubMed

    Jessen, Sarah; Grossmann, Tobias

    2015-03-01

    Human adults can process emotional information both with and without conscious awareness, and it has been suggested that the two processes rely on partly distinct brain mechanisms. However, the developmental origins of these brain processes are unknown. In the present event-related brain potential (ERP) study, we examined the brain responses of 7-month-old infants in response to subliminally (50 and 100 msec) and supraliminally (500 msec) presented happy and fearful facial expressions. Our results revealed that infants' brain responses (Pb and Nc) over central electrodes distinguished between emotions irrespective of stimulus duration, whereas the discrimination between emotions at occipital electrodes (N290 and P400) only occurred when faces were presented supraliminally (above threshold). This suggests that early in development the human brain not only discriminates between happy and fearful facial expressions irrespective of conscious perception, but also that, similar to adults, supraliminal and subliminal emotion processing relies on distinct neural processes. Our data further suggest that the processing of emotional facial expressions differs across infants depending on their behaviorally shown perceptual sensitivity. The current ERP findings suggest that distinct brain processes underpinning conscious and unconscious emotion perception emerge early in ontogeny and can therefore be seen as a key feature of human social functioning. PMID:25528130

  13. Selective Neural Synchrony Suppression as a Forward Gatekeeper to Piecemeal Conscious Perception.

    PubMed

    Levy, Jonathan; Vidal, Juan R; Fries, Pascal; Démonet, Jean-François; Goldstein, Abraham

    2016-07-01

    The emergence of conscious visual perception is assumed to ignite late (∼250 ms) gamma-band oscillations shortly after an initial (∼100 ms) forward sweep of neural sensory (nonconscious) information. However, this neural evidence is not utterly congruent with rich behavioral data which rather point to piecemeal (i.e., graded) perceptual processing. To address the unexplored neural mechanisms of piecemeal ignition of conscious perception, hierarchical script sensitivity of the putative visual word form area (VWFA) was exploited to signal null (i.e., sensory), partial (i.e., letter-level), and full (i.e., word-level) conscious perception. Two magnetoencephalography experiments were conducted in which healthy human participants viewed masked words (Experiment I: active task, Dutch words; Experiment II: passive task, Hebrew words) while high-frequency (broadband gamma) brain activity was measured. Findings revealed that piecemeal conscious perception did not ignite a linear piecemeal increase in oscillations. Instead, whereas late (∼250 ms) gamma-band oscillations signaled full conscious perception (i.e., word-level), partial conscious perception (i.e., letter-level) was signaled via the inhibition of the early (∼100 ms) forward sweep. This inhibition regulates the downstream broadcast to filter out irrelevant (i.e., masks) information. The findings thus highlight a local (VWFA) gatekeeping mechanism for conscious perception, operating by filtering out and in selective percepts. PMID:26045565

  14. An invisible touch: Body-related multisensory conflicts modulate visual consciousness.

    PubMed

    Salomon, Roy; Galli, Giulia; Łukowska, Marta; Faivre, Nathan; Ruiz, Javier Bello; Blanke, Olaf

    2016-07-29

    The majority of scientific studies on consciousness have focused on vision, exploring the cognitive and neural mechanisms of conscious access to visual stimuli. In parallel, studies on bodily consciousness have revealed that bodily (i.e. tactile, proprioceptive, visceral, vestibular) signals are the basis for the sense of self. However, the role of bodily signals in the formation of visual consciousness is not well understood. Here we investigated how body-related visuo-tactile stimulation modulates conscious access to visual stimuli. We used a robotic platform to apply controlled tactile stimulation to the participants' back while they viewed a dot moving either in synchrony or asynchrony with the touch on their back. Critically, the dot was rendered invisible through continuous flash suppression. Manipulating the visual context by presenting the dot moving on either a body form, or a non-bodily object we show that: (i) conflict induced by synchronous visuo-tactile stimulation in a body context is associated with a delayed conscious access compared to asynchronous visuo-tactile stimulation, (ii) this effect occurs only in the context of a visual body form, and (iii) is not due to detection or response biases. The results indicate that body-related visuo-tactile conflicts impact visual consciousness by facilitating access of non-conflicting visual information to awareness, and that these are sensitive to the visual context in which they are presented, highlighting the interplay between bodily signals and visual experience. PMID:26519553

  15. "Wanting," "liking," and their relation to consciousness.

    PubMed

    Anselme, Patrick; Robinson, Mike J F

    2016-04-01

    Most animal and human behaviors emanate from goal-directedness and pleasure seeking, suggesting that they are primarily under conscious control. However, "wanting" and "liking" are believed to be adaptive core subcortical processes working at an unconscious level and responsible for guiding behavior toward appropriate rewards. Here we examine whether "wanting" is an inherent property of conscious goals and "liking" an intrinsic component of conscious feelings. We argue that "wanting" and "liking" depend on mechanisms acting below the level of consciousness, explaining why individuals often struggle to enhance or refrain their motivations and emotions by means of conscious control. In particular, hyperreactivity of subcortical "wanting" systems has been tied to pathological behaviors such as drug addiction and gambling disorder. In addicts, cognitive processes intended to curb drug-seeking wage a constant battle against subcortical urges to take more drug that often ends in relapse following repeated assaults. Nevertheless, we suggest that in nonpathological contexts, "wanting" and "liking" interact with major cognitive processes to guide goal-directed actions. (PsycINFO Database Record PMID:26651179

  16. Direct behavioral and neural evidence for an offset-triggered conscious perception.

    PubMed

    Noguchi, Yasuki; Kimijima, Shintaro; Kakigi, Ryusuke

    2015-04-01

    Many previous theories of perceptual awareness assume that a conscious representation of a stimulus is created from sensory information carried by an onset (appearance) of the stimulus. In contrast, here we provide behavioral and neural evidence for a new phenomenon in which conscious perception is directly triggered by an offset (disappearance) of a stimulus. When a stimulus made invisible by inter-ocular suppression physically disappeared from a screen, subjects reported an appearance (not disappearance) of that stimulus, correctly reporting a color of the disappeared stimulus. Measurements of brain activity further confirmed that the physical offset of an invisible stimulus evoked neural activity reflecting conscious perception of that stimulus. Those results indicate a new role of a stimulus offset to facilitate (rather than inhibit) an emergence of consciousness. PMID:25725188

  17. Neural correlates of consciousness: what we know and what we have to learn!

    PubMed

    Calabrò, Rocco Salvatore; Cacciola, Alberto; Bramanti, Placido; Milardi, Demetrio

    2015-04-01

    Consciousness is a multifaceted concept with two major components: awareness of environment and of self (i.e., the content of consciousness) and wakefulness (i.e., the level of consciousness). Medically speaking, consciousness is the state of the patient's awareness of self and environment and his responsiveness to external stimulation and inner need. A basic understanding of consciousness and its neural correlates is of major importance for all clinicians, especially those involved with patients suffering from altered states of consciousness. To this end, in this review it is shown that consciousness is dependent on the brainstem and thalamus for arousal; that basic cognition is supported by recurrent electrical activity between the cortex and the thalamus at gamma band frequencies; and that some kind of working memory must, at least fleetingly, be present for awareness to occur. New advances in neuroimaging studies are also presented in order to better understand and demonstrate the neurophysiological basis of consciousness. In particular, recent functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have offered the possibility to measure directly and non-invasively normal and severely brain damaged subjects' brain activity, whilst diffusion tensor imaging studies have allowed evaluating white matter integrity in normal subjects and patients with disorder of consciousness. PMID:25588680

  18. Vector subtraction implemented neurally: a neurocomputational model of some sequential cognitive and conscious processes.

    PubMed

    Bickle, J; Worley, C; Bernstein, M

    2000-03-01

    Although great progress in neuroanatomy and physiology has occurred lately, we still cannot go directly to those levels to discover the neural mechanisms of higher cognition and consciousness. But we can use neurocomputational methods based on these details to push this project forward. Here we describe vector subtraction as an operation that computes sequential paths through high-dimensional vector spaces. Vector-space interpretations of network activity patterns are a fruitful resource in recent computational neuroscience. Vector subtraction also appears to be implemented neurally in primate frontal eye field activity, which computes dimensions of saccadic eye movements. We use this apparent neural implementation as a model and construct from it a general neurocomputational account of an important type of sequential cognitive and conscious process. We defend the biological plausibility of all components of the general model and show that it yields testable anatomical and physiological predictions. We close by suggesting some interesting consequences for consciousness if our model characterizes correctly the neural mechanisms producing a common type of episode in our conscious streams. PMID:10753496

  19. Consciousness: a neural capacity for objectivity, especially pronounced in humans.

    PubMed

    Dijker, Anton J M

    2014-01-01

    Consciousness tends to be viewed either as subjective experience of sensations and feelings, or as perception and internal representation of objects. This paper argues that neither view sufficiently acknowledges that consciousness may refer to the brain's most adaptive property: its capacity to produce states of objectivity. It is proposed that this capacity relies on multiple sensorimotor networks for internally representing objects and their properties in terms of expectancies, as well as on motivational and motor mechanisms involved in exploration, play, and care for vulnerable living and non-living objects. States of objectivity are associated with a very special phenomenal aspect; the experience that subjective aspects are absent and one is "just looking" at the world as it really is and can be. However, these states are normally closely preceded and followed by (and tend to be combined or fused with) sensations and feelings which are caused by activation of sensory and motivational mechanisms. A capacity for objectivity may have evolved in different species and can be conceived as a common basis for other elusive psychological properties such as intelligence, conscience, and esthetic experience; all three linked to crucial behaviors in human evolution such as tool making, cooperation, and art. The brain's pervasive tendency to objectify may be responsible for wrongly equating consciousness with feelings and wrongly opposing it to well-learned or habitual ("unconscious") patterns of perception and behavior. PMID:24672506

  20. Consciousness: a neural capacity for objectivity, especially pronounced in humans

    PubMed Central

    Dijker, Anton J. M.

    2014-01-01

    Consciousness tends to be viewed either as subjective experience of sensations and feelings, or as perception and internal representation of objects. This paper argues that neither view sufficiently acknowledges that consciousness may refer to the brain’s most adaptive property: its capacity to produce states of objectivity. It is proposed that this capacity relies on multiple sensorimotor networks for internally representing objects and their properties in terms of expectancies, as well as on motivational and motor mechanisms involved in exploration, play, and care for vulnerable living and non-living objects. States of objectivity are associated with a very special phenomenal aspect; the experience that subjective aspects are absent and one is “just looking” at the world as it really is and can be. However, these states are normally closely preceded and followed by (and tend to be combined or fused with) sensations and feelings which are caused by activation of sensory and motivational mechanisms. A capacity for objectivity may have evolved in different species and can be conceived as a common basis for other elusive psychological properties such as intelligence, conscience, and esthetic experience; all three linked to crucial behaviors in human evolution such as tool making, cooperation, and art. The brain’s pervasive tendency to objectify may be responsible for wrongly equating consciousness with feelings and wrongly opposing it to well-learned or habitual (“unconscious”) patterns of perception and behavior. PMID:24672506

  1. Spin-mediated consciousness theory: possible roles of neural membrane nuclear spin ensembles and paramagnetic oxygen.

    PubMed

    Hu, Huping; Wu, Maoxin

    2004-01-01

    A novel theory of consciousness is proposed in this paper. We postulate that consciousness is intrinsically connected to quantum spin since the latter is the origin of quantum effects in both Bohm and Hestenes quantum formulism and a fundamental quantum process associated with the structure of space-time. That is, spin is the "mind-pixel". The unity of mind is achieved by entanglement of the mind-pixels. Applying these ideas to the particular structures and dynamics of the brain, we theorize that human brain works as follows: through action potential modulated nuclear spin interactions and paramagnetic O2/NO driven activations, the nuclear spins inside neural membranes and proteins form various entangled quantum states some of which survive decoherence through quantum Zeno effects or in decoherence-free subspaces and then collapse contextually via irreversible and non-computable means producing consciousness and, in turn, the collective spin dynamics associated with said collapses have effects through spin chemistry on classical neural activities thus influencing the neural networks of the brain. Our proposal calls for extension of associative encoding of neural memories to the dynamical structures of neural membranes and proteins. Thus, according our theory, the nuclear spin ensembles are the "mind-screen" with nuclear spins as its pixels, the neural membranes and proteins are the mind-screen and memory matrices, and the biologically available paramagnetic species such as O2 and NO are pixel-activating agents. Together, they form the neural substrates of consciousness. We also present supporting evidence and make important predictions. We stress that our theory is experimentally verifiable with present technologies. Further, experimental realizations of intra-/inter-molecular nuclear spin coherence and entanglement, macroscopic entanglement of spin ensembles and NMR quantum computation, all in room temperatures, strongly suggest the possibility of a spin

  2. Neural relativity principle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koulakov, Alexei

    Olfaction is the final frontier of our senses - the one that is still almost completely mysterious to us. Despite extensive genetic and perceptual data, and a strong push to solve the neural coding problem, fundamental questions about the sense of smell remain unresolved. Unlike vision and hearing, where relatively straightforward relationships between stimulus features and neural responses have been foundational to our understanding sensory processing, it has been difficult to quantify the properties of odorant molecules that lead to olfactory percepts. In a sense, we do not have olfactory analogs of ``red'', ``green'' and ``blue''. The seminal work of Linda Buck and Richard Axel identified a diverse family of about 1000 receptor molecules that serve as odorant sensors in the nose. However, the properties of smells that these receptors detect remain a mystery. I will review our current understanding of the molecular properties important to the olfactory system. I will also describe a theory that explains how odorant identity can be preserved despite substantial changes in the odorant concentration.

  3. Lateral information processing by spiking neurons: a theoretical model of the neural correlate of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Ebner, Marc; Hameroff, Stuart

    2011-01-01

    Cognitive brain functions, for example, sensory perception, motor control and learning, are understood as computation by axonal-dendritic chemical synapses in networks of integrate-and-fire neurons. Cognitive brain functions may occur either consciously or nonconsciously (on "autopilot"). Conscious cognition is marked by gamma synchrony EEG, mediated largely by dendritic-dendritic gap junctions, sideways connections in input/integration layers. Gap-junction-connected neurons define a sub-network within a larger neural network. A theoretical model (the "conscious pilot") suggests that as gap junctions open and close, a gamma-synchronized subnetwork, or zone moves through the brain as an executive agent, converting nonconscious "auto-pilot" cognition to consciousness, and enhancing computation by coherent processing and collective integration. In this study we implemented sideways "gap junctions" in a single-layer artificial neural network to perform figure/ground separation. The set of neurons connected through gap junctions form a reconfigurable resistive grid or sub-network zone. In the model, outgoing spikes are temporally integrated and spatially averaged using the fixed resistive grid set up by neurons of similar function which are connected through gap-junctions. This spatial average, essentially a feedback signal from the neuron's output, determines whether particular gap junctions between neurons will open or close. Neurons connected through open gap junctions synchronize their output spikes. We have tested our gap-junction-defined sub-network in a one-layer neural network on artificial retinal inputs using real-world images. Our system is able to perform figure/ground separation where the laterally connected sub-network of neurons represents a perceived object. Even though we only show results for visual stimuli, our approach should generalize to other modalities. The system demonstrates a moving sub-network zone of synchrony, within which the contents of

  4. Neural Competition for Conscious Representation across Time: An fMRI Study

    PubMed Central

    Slagter, Heleen A.; Johnstone, Tom; Beets, Iseult A. M.; Davidson, Richard J.

    2010-01-01

    Background The information processing capacity of the human mind is limited, as is evidenced by the attentional blink (AB) - a deficit in identifying the second of two temporally-close targets (T1 and T2) embedded in a rapid stream of distracters. Theories of the AB generally agree that it results from competition between stimuli for conscious representation. However, they disagree in the specific mechanisms, in particular about how attentional processing of T1 determines the AB to T2. Methodology/Principal Findings The present study used the high spatial resolution of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the neural mechanisms underlying the AB. Our research approach was to design T1 and T2 stimuli that activate distinguishable brain areas involved in visual categorization and representation. ROI and functional connectivity analyses were then used to examine how attentional processing of T1, as indexed by activity in the T1 representation area, affected T2 processing. Our main finding was that attentional processing of T1 at the level of the visual cortex predicted T2 detection rates Those individuals who activated the T1 encoding area more strongly in blink versus no-blink trials generally detected T2 on a lower percentage of trials. The coupling of activity between T1 and T2 representation areas did not vary as a function of conscious T2 perception. Conclusions/Significance These data are consistent with the notion that the AB is related to attentional demands of T1 for selection, and indicate that these demands are reflected at the level of visual cortex. They also highlight the importance of individual differences in attentional settings in explaining AB task performance. PMID:20479939

  5. The olfactory system as the gateway to the neural correlates of consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Merrick, Christina; Godwin, Christine A.; Geisler, Mark W.; Morsella, Ezequiel

    2014-01-01

    How consciousness is generated by the nervous system remains one of the greatest mysteries in science. Investigators from diverse fields have begun to unravel this puzzle by contrasting conscious and unconscious processes. In this way, it has been revealed that the two kinds of processes differ in terms of the underlying neural events and associated cognitive mechanisms. We propose that, for several reasons, the olfactory system provides a unique portal through which to examine this contrast. For this purpose, the olfactory system is beneficial in terms of its (a) neuroanatomical aspects, (b) phenomenological and cognitive/mechanistic properties, and (c) neurodynamic (e.g., brain oscillations) properties. In this review, we discuss how each of these properties and aspects of the olfactory system can illuminate the contrast between conscious and unconscious processing in the brain. We conclude by delineating the most fruitful avenues of research and by entertaining hypotheses that, in order for an olfactory content to be conscious, that content must participate in a network that is large-scale, both in terms of the neural systems involved and the scope of information integration. PMID:24454300

  6. The olfactory system as the gateway to the neural correlates of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Merrick, Christina; Godwin, Christine A; Geisler, Mark W; Morsella, Ezequiel

    2014-01-10

    How consciousness is generated by the nervous system remains one of the greatest mysteries in science. Investigators from diverse fields have begun to unravel this puzzle by contrasting conscious and unconscious processes. In this way, it has been revealed that the two kinds of processes differ in terms of the underlying neural events and associated cognitive mechanisms. We propose that, for several reasons, the olfactory system provides a unique portal through which to examine this contrast. For this purpose, the olfactory system is beneficial in terms of its (a) neuroanatomical aspects, (b) phenomenological and cognitive/mechanistic properties, and (c) neurodynamic (e.g., brain oscillations) properties. In this review, we discuss how each of these properties and aspects of the olfactory system can illuminate the contrast between conscious and unconscious processing in the brain. We conclude by delineating the most fruitful avenues of research and by entertaining hypotheses that, in order for an olfactory content to be conscious, that content must participate in a network that is large-scale, both in terms of the neural systems involved and the scope of information integration. PMID:24454300

  7. Neural correlates of conscious self-regulation of emotion.

    PubMed

    Beauregard, M; Lévesque, J; Bourgouin, P

    2001-09-15

    A fundamental question about the relationship between cognition and emotion concerns the neural substrate underlying emotional self-regulation. To address this issue, brain activation was measured in normal male subjects while they either responded in a normal manner to erotic film excerpts or voluntarily attempted to inhibit the sexual arousal induced by viewing erotic stimuli. Results demonstrated that the sexual arousal experienced, in response to the erotic film excerpts, was associated with activation in "limbic" and paralimbic structures, such as the right amygdala, right anterior temporal pole, and hypothalamus. In addition, the attempted inhibition of the sexual arousal generated by viewing the erotic stimuli was associated with activation of the right superior frontal gyrus and right anterior cingulate gyrus. No activation was found in limbic areas. These findings reinforce the view that emotional self-regulation is normally implemented by a neural circuit comprising various prefrontal regions and subcortical limbic structures. They also suggest that humans have the capacity to influence the electrochemical dynamics of their brains, by voluntarily changing the nature of the mind processes unfolding in the psychological space. PMID:11549754

  8. Neural repetition suppression in ventral occipito-temporal cortex occurs during conscious and unconscious processing of frequent stimuli.

    PubMed

    Vidal, Juan R; Perrone-Bertolotti, Marcela; Levy, Jonathan; De Palma, Luca; Minotti, Lorella; Kahane, Philippe; Bertrand, Olivier; Lutz, Antoine; Jerbi, Karim; Lachaux, Jean-Philippe

    2014-07-15

    Stimulus repetition can produce neural response attenuation in stimulus-category selective networks within the occipito-temporal lobe. It is hypothesized that this neural suppression reflects the functional sharpening of local neuronal assemblies which boosts information processing efficiency. This neural suppression phenomenon has been mainly reported during conditions of conscious stimulus perception. The question remains whether frequent stimuli processed in the absence of conscious perception also induce repetition suppression in those specialized networks. Using rare intracranial EEG recordings in the ventral occipito-temporal cortex (VOTC) of human epileptic patients we investigated neural repetition suppression in conditions of conscious and unconscious visual processing of words. To this end, we used an orthogonal design manipulating respectively stimulus repetition (frequent vs. unique stimuli) and conscious perception (masked vs. unmasked stimuli). By measuring the temporal dynamics of high-frequency broadband gamma activity in VOTC and testing for main and interaction effects, we report that early processing of words in word-form selective networks exhibits a temporal cascade of modulations by stimulus repetition and masking: neuronal attenuation initially is observed in response to repeated words (irrespective of consciousness), that is followed by a second modulation contingent upon word reportability (irrespective of stimulus repetition). Later on (>300ms post-stimulus), a significant effect of conscious perception on the extent of repetition suppression was observed. The temporal dynamics of consciousness, the recognition memory processes and their interaction revealed in this study advance our understanding of their contributions to the neural mechanisms of word processing in VOTC. PMID:24667455

  9. It is time to combine the two main traditions in the research on the neural correlates of consciousness: C = L × D

    PubMed Central

    Bachmann, Talis; Hudetz, Anthony G.

    2014-01-01

    Research on neural correlates of consciousness has been conducted and carried out mostly from within two relatively autonomous paradigmatic traditions – studying the specific contents of conscious experience and their brain-process correlates and studying the level of consciousness. In the present paper we offer a theoretical integration suggesting that an emphasis has to be put on understanding the mechanisms of consciousness (and not a mere correlates) and in doing this, the two paradigmatic traditions must be combined. We argue that consciousness emerges as a result of interaction of brain mechanisms specialized for representing the specific contents of perception/cognition – the data – and mechanisms specialized for regulating the level of activity of whatever data the content-carrying specific mechanisms happen to represent. Each of these mechanisms are necessary because without the contents there is no conscious experience and without the required level of activity the processed contents remain unconscious. Together the two mechanisms, when activated up to a necessary degree each, provide conditions sufficient for conscious experience to emerge. This proposal is related to pertinent experimental evidence. PMID:25202297

  10. Perceptual and contextual awareness: methodological considerations in the search for the neural correlates of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Navajas, Joaquin; Rey, Hernan G; Quian Quiroga, Rodrigo

    2014-01-01

    In the last decades, the neural correlates of consciousness (NCCs) have been explored using both invasive and non-invasive recordings by comparing the brain activity elicited by seen versus unseen visual stimuli (i.e., the contrastive analysis). Here, we review a selection of these studies and discuss a set of considerations to improve the search for the NCCs using the contrastive analysis. In particular, we first argue in favor of implementing paradigms where different perceptual outputs are obtained using identical visual inputs. Second, we propose that the large disagreement in the field -in terms of the dissimilar neural patterns proposed as NCCs- is partially explained by the fact that different studies report the neural correlates of different conscious processes in the brain. More specifically, we distinguish between the perceptual awareness of a visual stimulus, associated to a boost in object-selective neural assemblies, and a more elaborate process (contextual awareness) that we argue is reflected in the firing of concept neurons in the medial temporal lobe, triggering a rich representation of the context, associations, and memories linked to the specific stimulus. PMID:25221537

  11. Altered states of consciousness are related to higher sexual responsiveness.

    PubMed

    Costa, Rui M; Pestana, José; Costa, David; Wittmann, Marc

    2016-05-01

    Altered states of consciousness lead to profound changes in the sense of self, time and space. We assessed how these changes were related to sexual responsiveness during sex. 116 subjects reported (a) intensity of awareness concerning body, space and time, and (b) satisfaction, desire, arousal, and orgasm occurrence. We differentiated vaginal intercourse orgasm from noncoital orgasm. Female vaginal intercourse orgasm was further differentiated as with or without concurrent clitoral masturbation. Overall, sexual responsiveness was related to greater body awareness and lesser time and space awareness. Satisfaction, desire, and arousal were especially associated with less time awareness in women. Female orgasms during vaginal intercourse were related to greater body awareness and lesser time awareness, but noncoital orgasms were unrelated. Our findings provide empirical support for the hypotheses that altered states of consciousness with attentional absorption are strongly related to sexual responsiveness in women, and to a lesser extent in men. PMID:27003264

  12. Lateral Information Processing by Spiking Neurons: A Theoretical Model of the Neural Correlate of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Ebner, Marc; Hameroff, Stuart

    2011-01-01

    Cognitive brain functions, for example, sensory perception, motor control and learning, are understood as computation by axonal-dendritic chemical synapses in networks of integrate-and-fire neurons. Cognitive brain functions may occur either consciously or nonconsciously (on “autopilot”). Conscious cognition is marked by gamma synchrony EEG, mediated largely by dendritic-dendritic gap junctions, sideways connections in input/integration layers. Gap-junction-connected neurons define a sub-network within a larger neural network. A theoretical model (the “conscious pilot”) suggests that as gap junctions open and close, a gamma-synchronized subnetwork, or zone moves through the brain as an executive agent, converting nonconscious “auto-pilot” cognition to consciousness, and enhancing computation by coherent processing and collective integration. In this study we implemented sideways “gap junctions” in a single-layer artificial neural network to perform figure/ground separation. The set of neurons connected through gap junctions form a reconfigurable resistive grid or sub-network zone. In the model, outgoing spikes are temporally integrated and spatially averaged using the fixed resistive grid set up by neurons of similar function which are connected through gap-junctions. This spatial average, essentially a feedback signal from the neuron's output, determines whether particular gap junctions between neurons will open or close. Neurons connected through open gap junctions synchronize their output spikes. We have tested our gap-junction-defined sub-network in a one-layer neural network on artificial retinal inputs using real-world images. Our system is able to perform figure/ground separation where the laterally connected sub-network of neurons represents a perceived object. Even though we only show results for visual stimuli, our approach should generalize to other modalities. The system demonstrates a moving sub-network zone of synchrony, within which

  13. Modulating conscious movement intention by noninvasive brain stimulation and the underlying neural mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Douglas, Zachary H; Maniscalco, Brian; Hallett, Mark; Wassermann, Eric M; He, Biyu J

    2015-05-01

    Conscious intention is a fundamental aspect of the human experience. Despite long-standing interest in the basis and implications of intention, its underlying neurobiological mechanisms remain poorly understood. Using high-definition transcranial DC stimulation (tDCS), we observed that enhancing spontaneous neuronal excitability in both the angular gyrus and the primary motor cortex caused the reported time of conscious movement intention to be ∼60-70 ms earlier. Slow brain waves recorded ∼2-3 s before movement onset, as well as hundreds of milliseconds after movement onset, independently correlated with the modulation of conscious intention by brain stimulation. These brain activities together accounted for 81% of interindividual variability in the modulation of movement intention by brain stimulation. A computational model using coupled leaky integrator units with biophysically plausible assumptions about the effect of tDCS captured the effects of stimulation on both neural activity and behavior. These results reveal a temporally extended brain process underlying conscious movement intention that spans seconds around movement commencement. PMID:25948272

  14. Modulating Conscious Movement Intention by Noninvasive Brain Stimulation and the Underlying Neural Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Douglas, Zachary H.; Maniscalco, Brian; Hallett, Mark; Wassermann, Eric M.

    2015-01-01

    Conscious intention is a fundamental aspect of the human experience. Despite long-standing interest in the basis and implications of intention, its underlying neurobiological mechanisms remain poorly understood. Using high-definition transcranial DC stimulation (tDCS), we observed that enhancing spontaneous neuronal excitability in both the angular gyrus and the primary motor cortex caused the reported time of conscious movement intention to be ∼60–70 ms earlier. Slow brain waves recorded ∼2–3 s before movement onset, as well as hundreds of milliseconds after movement onset, independently correlated with the modulation of conscious intention by brain stimulation. These brain activities together accounted for 81% of interindividual variability in the modulation of movement intention by brain stimulation. A computational model using coupled leaky integrator units with biophysically plausible assumptions about the effect of tDCS captured the effects of stimulation on both neural activity and behavior. These results reveal a temporally extended brain process underlying conscious movement intention that spans seconds around movement commencement. PMID:25948272

  15. How and to what end may consciousness contribute to action? Attributing properties of consciousness to an embodied, minimally cognitive artificial neural network

    PubMed Central

    Cruse, Holk; Schilling, Malte

    2013-01-01

    An artificial neural network called reaCog is described which is based on a decentralized, reactive and embodied architecture developed to control non-trivial hexapod walking in an unpredictable environment (Walknet) while using insect-like navigation (Navinet). In reaCog, these basic networks are extended in such a way that the complete system, reaCog, adopts the capability of inventing new behaviors and – via internal simulation – of planning ahead. This cognitive expansion enables the reactive system to be enriched with additional procedures. Here, we focus on the question to what extent properties of phenomena to be characterized on a different level of description as for example consciousness can be found in this minimally cognitive system. Adopting a monist view, we argue that the phenomenal aspect of mental phenomena can be neglected when discussing the function of such a system. Under this condition, reaCog is discussed to be equipped with properties as are bottom-up and top-down attention, intentions, volition, and some aspects of Access Consciousness. These properties have not been explicitly implemented but emerge from the cooperation between the elements of the network. The aspects of Access Consciousness found in reaCog concern the above mentioned ability to plan ahead and to invent and guide (new) actions. Furthermore, global accessibility of memory elements, another aspect characterizing Access Consciousness is realized by this network. reaCog allows for both reactive/automatic control and (access-) conscious control of behavior. We discuss examples for interactions between both the reactive domain and the conscious domain. Metacognition or Reflexive Consciousness is not a property of reaCog. Possible expansions are discussed to allow for further properties of Access Consciousness, verbal report on internal states, and for Metacognition. In summary, we argue that already simple networks allow for properties of consciousness if leaving the

  16. Neural pathways associated with loss of consciousness caused by intracerebral microinjection of GABA A-active anesthetics.

    PubMed

    Sukhotinsky, I; Zalkind, V; Lu, J; Hopkins, D A; Saper, C B; Devor, M

    2007-03-01

    Anesthesia, slow-wave sleep, syncope, concussion and reversible coma are behavioral states characterized by loss of consciousness, slow-wave cortical electroencephalogram, and motor and sensory suppression. We identified a focal area in the rat brainstem, the mesopontine tegmental anesthesia area (MPTA), at which microinjection of pentobarbital and other GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A)-R) agonists reversibly induced an anesthesia-like state. This effect was attenuated by local pre-treatment with the GABA(A)-R antagonist bicuculline. Using neuroanatomical tracing we identified four pathways ascending from the MPTA that are positioned to mediate electroencephalographic synchronization and loss of consciousness: (i) projections to the intralaminar thalamic nuclei that, in turn, project to the cortex; (ii) projections to several pontomesencephalic, diencephalic and basal forebrain nuclei that project cortically and are considered parts of an ascending "arousal system"; (iii) a projection to other parts of the subcortical forebrain, including the septal area, hypothalamus, zona incerta and striato-pallidal system, that may indirectly affect cortical arousal and hippocampal theta rhythm; and (iv) modest projections directly to the frontal cortex. Several of these areas have prominent reciprocal projections back to the MPTA, notably the zona incerta, lateral hypothalamus and frontal cortex. We hypothesize that barbiturate anesthetics and related agents microinjected into the MPTA enhance the inhibitory response of local GABA(A)-R-bearing neurons to endogenous GABA released at baseline during wakefulness. This modulates activity in one or more of the identified ascending neural pathways, ultimately leading to loss of consciousness. PMID:17425568

  17. Identifying neural correlates of visual consciousness with ALE meta-analyses.

    PubMed

    Bisenius, Sandrine; Trapp, Sabrina; Neumann, Jane; Schroeter, Matthias L

    2015-11-15

    Neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) have been a topic of study for nearly two decades. In functional imaging studies, several regions have been proposed to constitute possible candidates for NCC, but as of yet, no quantitative summary of the literature on NCC has been done. The question whether single (striate or extrastriate) regions or a network consisting of extrastriate areas that project directly to fronto-parietal regions are necessary and sufficient neural correlates for visual consciousness is still highly debated [e.g., Rees et al., 2002, Nat Rev. Neurosci 3, 261-270; Tong, 2003, Nat Rev. Neurosci 4, 219-229]. The aim of this work was to elucidate this issue and give a synopsis of the present state of the art by conducting systematic and quantitative meta-analyses across functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies using several standard paradigms for conscious visual perception. In these paradigms, consciousness is operationalized via perceptual changes, while the visual stimulus remains invariant. An activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis was performed, representing the best approach for voxel-wise meta-analyses to date. In addition to computing a meta-analysis across all paradigms, separate meta-analyses on bistable perception and masking paradigms were conducted to assess whether these paradigms show common or different NCC. For the overall meta-analysis, we found significant clusters of activation in inferior and middle occipital gyrus; fusiform gyrus; inferior temporal gyrus; caudate nucleus; insula; inferior, middle, and superior frontal gyri; precuneus; as well as in inferior and superior parietal lobules. These results suggest a subcortical-extrastriate-fronto-parietal network rather than a single region that constitutes the necessary NCC. The results of our exploratory paradigm-specific meta-analyses suggest that this subcortical-extrastriate-fronto-parietal network might be differentially activated as a function of the

  18. Raising Relational Critical Consciousness to Enhance Empathy in Clinical Hypnosis.

    PubMed

    Vargas, H Luis

    2016-01-01

    Empathic involvement theory suggests that a trance-like experience occurs when a cross-relational empathic connection is achieved. The empathically-laden relational phenomenon is thought to enhance hypnosis. Empathic involvement theory suggests hypnotizables are highly empathic. By the same token, the relational empathic connection necessitates a highly empathic practitioner of hypnosis. In the United States, where values of individualism are thought to be socially embedded and internalized, practitioners of hypnosis and clients alike may be impeded by an individually oriented worldview to empathically connect with others. Raising a relational critical consciousness is promoted as a way to increase sensitivity to the marginalization of relationships, limit empathic-effort burn-out, and promote cross-relational empathic connection. PMID:26675156

  19. A TMS Study of the Ventral Projections from V1 with Implications for the Finding of Neural Correlates of Consciousness

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Overgaard, Morten; Nielsen, Jorgen Feldbaek; Fuglsang-Frederiksen, Anders

    2004-01-01

    The study of subliminal perception in normal and brain lesioned subjects has long been of interest to scholars studying the neural mechanisms behind conscious vision. Using brief durations and a developed methodology of introspective reporting, we present an experiment with visual stimuli that gives rise to little or no subliminal perception under…

  20. Conscious brain, metacognition and schizophrenia.

    PubMed

    Bob, Petr; Pec, Ondrej; Mishara, Aaron L; Touskova, Tereza; Lysaker, Paul H

    2016-07-01

    Recent findings indicate that the binding and synchronization of distributed neural activities are crucial for cognitive processes and consciousness. In addition, there is increasing evidence that disrupted feature binding is related to experiences of disintegration of consciousness in schizophrenia. These data suggest that the disrupted binding and disintegration of consciousness could be typically related to schizophrenia in terms of Bleuler's concept of "splitting". In this context, deficits in metacognitive capacity in schizophrenia may be conceptualized as a spectrum from more discrete to more synthetic activities, related to specific levels of neural binding and neurocognitive deficits. This review summarizes the recent research on metacognition and its relationship to deficits of conscious awareness that may be found in schizophrenia patients. Deficits in synthetic metacognition are likely linked to the integration of information during specific processes of neural binding. Those in turn may be related to a range of mental activities including reasoning style, learning potential and insight. PMID:27178724

  1. The neural basis of one's own conscious and unconscious emotional states.

    PubMed

    Smith, Ryan; Lane, Richard D

    2015-10-01

    The study of emotional states has recently received considerable attention within the cognitive and neural sciences. However, limited work has been done to synthesize this growing body of literature within a coherent hierarchical, neuro-cognitive framework. In this article, we review evidence pertaining to three interacting hierarchical neural systems associated with the generation, perception and regulation of one's own emotional state. In the framework we propose, emotion generation proceeds through a series of appraisal mechanisms - some of which appear to require more cognitively sophisticated computational processing (and hence more time) than others - that ultimately trigger iterative adjustments to one's bodily state (as well as to the modes of processing in other cognitive systems). Perceiving one's own emotions then involves a multi-stage interoceptive/somatosensory process by which these body state patterns are detected and assigned conceptual emotional meaning. Finally, emotion regulation can be understood as a hierarchical control system that, at various levels, modulates autonomic reactions, appraisal mechanisms, attention, the contents of working memory, and goal-directed action selection. We highlight implications this integrative model may have for competing theories of emotion and emotional consciousness and for guiding future research. PMID:26363579

  2. Closing in on the constitution of consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Steven M.

    2014-01-01

    The science of consciousness is a nascent and thriving field of research that is founded on identifying the minimally sufficient neural correlates of consciousness. However, I have argued that it is the neural constitution of consciousness that science seeks to understand and that there are no evident strategies for distinguishing the correlates and constitution of (phenomenal) consciousness. Here I review this correlation/constitution distinction problem and challenge the existing foundations of consciousness science. I present the main analyses from a longer paper in press on this issue, focusing on recording, inhibition, stimulation, and combined inhibition/stimulation strategies, including proposal of the Jenga analogy to illustrate why identifying the minimally sufficient neural correlates of consciousness should not be considered the ultimate target of consciousness science. Thereafter I suggest that while combined inhibition and stimulation strategies might identify some constitutive neural activities—indeed minimally sufficient constitutive neural activities—such strategies fail to identify the whole neural constitution of consciousness and thus the correlation/constitution distinction problem is not fully solved. Various clarifications, potential objections and related scientific and philosophical issues are also discussed and I conclude by proposing new foundational claims for consciousness science. PMID:25452738

  3. Beyond Relation: A Critical Exploration of "Relational Consciousness" for Spiritual Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wills, Ruth

    2012-01-01

    This paper takes a philosophical view of the spiritual concept "relational consciousness" first proposed by Rebecca Nye in 1998. I will consider the "relational" aspect of spirituality through the ontology of Heidegger and the dialogical relationship "I and Thou" of Martin Buber, examining the problems that contingency and mediation within…

  4. Electrophysiological evidence for phenomenal consciousness.

    PubMed

    Revonsuo, Antti; Koivisto, Mika

    2010-09-01

    Abstract Recent evidence from event-related brain potentials (ERPs) lends support to two central theses in Lamme's theory. The earliest ERP correlate of visual consciousness appears over posterior visual cortex around 100-200 ms after stimulus onset. Its scalp topography and time window are consistent with recurrent processing in the visual cortex. This electrophysiological correlate of visual consciousness is mostly independent of later ERPs reflecting selective attention and working memory functions. Overall, the ERP evidence supports the view that phenomenal consciousness of a visual stimulus emerges earlier than access consciousness, and that attention and awareness are served by distinct neural processes. PMID:24168341

  5. Body-related self-conscious emotions relate to physical activity motivation and behavior in men.

    PubMed

    Castonguay, Andree L; Pila, Eva; Wrosch, Carsten; Sabiston, Catherine M

    2015-05-01

    The aim of this study was to examine the associations between the body-related self-conscious emotions of shame, guilt, and pride and physical activity motivation and behavior among adult males. Specifically, motivation regulations (external, introjected, indentified, intrinsic) were examined as possible mediators between each of the body-related self-conscious emotions and physical activity behavior. A cross-sectional study was conducted with adult men (N = 152; Mage = 23.72, SD = 10.92 years). Participants completed a questionnaire assessing body-related shame, guilt, authentic pride, hubristic pride, motivational regulations, and leisure-time physical activity. In separate multiple mediation models, body-related shame was positively associated with external and introjected regulations and negatively correlated with intrinsic regulation. Guilt was positively linked to external, introjected, and identified regulations. Authentic pride was negatively related to external regulation and positively correlated with both identified and intrinsic regulations and directly associated with physical activity behavior. Hubristic pride was positively associated with intrinsic regulation. Overall, there were both direct and indirect effects via motivation regulations between body-related self-conscious emotions and physical activity (R(2) shame = .15, guilt = .16, authentic pride = .18, hubristic pride = .16). These findings highlight the importance of targeting and understanding self-conscious emotions contextualized to the body and links to motivation and positive health behavior among men. PMID:24899517

  6. Dissociative States and Neural Complexity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bob, Petr; Svetlak, Miroslav

    2011-01-01

    Recent findings indicate that neural mechanisms of consciousness are related to integration of distributed neural assemblies. This neural integration is particularly vulnerable to past stressful experiences that can lead to disintegration and dissociation of consciousness. These findings suggest that dissociation could be described as a level of…

  7. Caring for the Past: On Relationality and Historical Consciousness

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chinnery, Ann

    2013-01-01

    Over the past 20 years, there has been a shift in history education away from a view of history as the pursuit of an objective, universal story about the past toward "historical consciousness," which seeks to cultivate an understanding of the past as something that makes moral demands on us here and now. According to Roger Simon,…

  8. Neural correlates of visuospatial consciousness in 3D default space: insights from contralateral neglect syndrome.

    PubMed

    Jerath, Ravinder; Crawford, Molly W

    2014-08-01

    One of the most compelling questions still unanswered in neuroscience is how consciousness arises. In this article, we examine visual processing, the parietal lobe, and contralateral neglect syndrome as a window into consciousness and how the brain functions as the mind and we introduce a mechanism for the processing of visual information and its role in consciousness. We propose that consciousness arises from integration of information from throughout the body and brain by the thalamus and that the thalamus reimages visual and other sensory information from throughout the cortex in a default three-dimensional space in the mind. We further suggest that the thalamus generates a dynamic default three-dimensional space by integrating processed information from corticothalamic feedback loops, creating an infrastructure that may form the basis of our consciousness. Further experimental evidence is needed to examine and support this hypothesis, the role of the thalamus, and to further elucidate the mechanism of consciousness. PMID:25049208

  9. Self-Related Processing and Deactivation of Cortical Midline Regions in Disorders of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Crone, Julia Sophia; Höller, Yvonne; Bergmann, Jürgen; Golaszewski, Stefan; Trinka, Eugen; Kronbichler, Martin

    2013-01-01

    Self-related stimuli activate anterior parts of cortical midline regions, which normally show task-induced deactivation. Deactivation in medial posterior and frontal regions is associated with the ability to focus attention on the demands of the task, and therefore, with consciousness. Studies investigating patients with impaired consciousness, that is, patients in minimally conscious state and patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (formerly vegetative state), demonstrate that these patients show responses to self-related content in the anterior cingulate cortex. However, it remains unclear if these responses are an indication for conscious processing of stimuli or are due to automatic processing. To shed further light on this issue, we investigated responses of cortical midline regions to the own and another name in 27 patients with a disorder of consciousness and compared them to task-induced deactivation. While almost all of the control subjects responding to the own name demonstrated higher activation due to the self-related content in anterior midline regions and additional deactivation, none of the responding patients did so. Differences between groups showed a similar pattern of findings. Despite the relation between behavioral responsiveness in patients and activation in response to the own name, the findings of this study do not provide evidence for a direct association of activation in anterior midline regions and conscious processing. The deficits in processing of self-referential content in anterior midline regions may rather be due to general impairments in cognitive processing and not particularly linked to impaired consciousness. PMID:23986685

  10. How consciousness will change our view on neuroscience.

    PubMed

    Overgaard, Morten

    2010-09-01

    Abstract Victor Lamme proposed that the study of consciousness should not be based on introspection. Nevertheless, Lamme understands consciousness as a subjective phenomenon, and introspection as the way in which we acquire knowledge about consciousness. This makes the task to find introspective-free methods to study consciousness difficult. Lamme attempts to make progress by introducing "neural arguments," but fails to show how such arguments are independent of introspective methods which seem necessary in order to decide how any neural process relates to mental phenomena. This commentary paper thus aims to show that our understanding of neural correlates is shaped by introspection. PMID:24168340

  11. Evolution of the neural basis of consciousness: a bird-mammal comparison.

    PubMed

    Butler, Ann B; Manger, Paul R; Lindahl, B I B; Arhem, Peter

    2005-09-01

    The main objective of this essay is to validate some of the principal, currently competing, mammalian consciousness-brain theories by comparing these theories with data on both cognitive abilities and brain organization in birds. Our argument is that, given that multiple complex cognitive functions are correlated with presumed consciousness in mammals, this correlation holds for birds as well. Thus, the neuroanatomical features of the forebrain common to both birds and mammals may be those that are crucial to the generation of both complex cognition and consciousness. The general conclusion is that most of the consciousness-brain theories appear to be valid for the avian brain. Even though some specific homologies are unresolved, most of the critical structures presumed necessary for consciousness in mammalian brains have clear homologues in avian brains. Furthermore, considering the fact that the reptile-bird brain transition shows more structural continuity than the stem amniote-mammalian transition, the line drawn at the origin of mammals for consciousness by several of the theorists seems questionable. An equally important point is that consciousness cannot be ruled out in the absence of complex cognition; it may in fact be the case that consciousness is a necessary prerequisite for complex cognition. PMID:16108067

  12. A Mechanistic Neural Field Theory of How Anesthesia Suppresses Consciousness: Synaptic Drive Dynamics, Bifurcations, Attractors, and Partial State Equipartitioning.

    PubMed

    Hou, Saing Paul; Haddad, Wassim M; Meskin, Nader; Bailey, James M

    2015-12-01

    With the advances in biochemistry, molecular biology, and neurochemistry there has been impressive progress in understanding the molecular properties of anesthetic agents. However, there has been little focus on how the molecular properties of anesthetic agents lead to the observed macroscopic property that defines the anesthetic state, that is, lack of responsiveness to noxious stimuli. In this paper, we use dynamical system theory to develop a mechanistic mean field model for neural activity to study the abrupt transition from consciousness to unconsciousness as the concentration of the anesthetic agent increases. The proposed synaptic drive firing-rate model predicts the conscious-unconscious transition as the applied anesthetic concentration increases, where excitatory neural activity is characterized by a Poincaré-Andronov-Hopf bifurcation with the awake state transitioning to a stable limit cycle and then subsequently to an asymptotically stable unconscious equilibrium state. Furthermore, we address the more general question of synchronization and partial state equipartitioning of neural activity without mean field assumptions. This is done by focusing on a postulated subset of inhibitory neurons that are not themselves connected to other inhibitory neurons. Finally, several numerical experiments are presented to illustrate the different aspects of the proposed theory. PMID:26438186

  13. The cognitive and neural correlates of "tactile consciousness": a multisensory perspective.

    PubMed

    Gallace, Alberto; Spence, Charles

    2008-03-01

    People's awareness of tactile stimuli has been investigated in far less detail than their awareness of stimuli in other sensory modalities. In an attempt to fill this gap, we provide an overview of studies that are pertinent to the topic of tactile consciousness. We discuss the results of research that has investigated phenomena such as "change blindness", phantom limb sensations, and numerosity judgments in tactile perception, together with the results obtained from the study of patients affected by deficits that can adversely affect tactile perception such as neglect, extinction, and numbsense. The similarities as well as some of the important differences that have emerged when visual and tactile conscious information processing have been compared using similar experimental procedures are highlighted. We suggest that conscious information processing in the tactile modality cannot be separated completely from the more general processing of spatial information in the brain. Finally, the importance of considering tactile consciousness within the larger framework of multisensory information processing is also discussed. PMID:17398116

  14. Body Consciousness, Illness-Related Impairment, and Patient Adherence in Hemodialysis.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Christensen, Alan J.; And Others

    1996-01-01

    Examined the joint effects of private body consciousness (PBC) and degree of illness-related physical impairment on treatment regimen adherence in a sample of 52 hemodialysis patients. Predicted the effect of PBC on adherence would vary as a function of patients' level of illness-related physical impairment. Results are discussed in terms of…

  15. Sample entropy analysis of EEG signals via artificial neural networks to model patients' consciousness level based on anesthesiologists experience.

    PubMed

    Jiang, George J A; Fan, Shou-Zen; Abbod, Maysam F; Huang, Hui-Hsun; Lan, Jheng-Yan; Tsai, Feng-Fang; Chang, Hung-Chi; Yang, Yea-Wen; Chuang, Fu-Lan; Chiu, Yi-Fang; Jen, Kuo-Kuang; Wu, Jeng-Fu; Shieh, Jiann-Shing

    2015-01-01

    Electroencephalogram (EEG) signals, as it can express the human brain's activities and reflect awareness, have been widely used in many research and medical equipment to build a noninvasive monitoring index to the depth of anesthesia (DOA). Bispectral (BIS) index monitor is one of the famous and important indicators for anesthesiologists primarily using EEG signals when assessing the DOA. In this study, an attempt is made to build a new indicator using EEG signals to provide a more valuable reference to the DOA for clinical researchers. The EEG signals are collected from patients under anesthetic surgery which are filtered using multivariate empirical mode decomposition (MEMD) method and analyzed using sample entropy (SampEn) analysis. The calculated signals from SampEn are utilized to train an artificial neural network (ANN) model through using expert assessment of consciousness level (EACL) which is assessed by experienced anesthesiologists as the target to train, validate, and test the ANN. The results that are achieved using the proposed system are compared to BIS index. The proposed system results show that it is not only having similar characteristic to BIS index but also more close to experienced anesthesiologists which illustrates the consciousness level and reflects the DOA successfully. PMID:25738152

  16. Sample Entropy Analysis of EEG Signals via Artificial Neural Networks to Model Patients' Consciousness Level Based on Anesthesiologists Experience

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, George J. A.; Fan, Shou-Zen; Abbod, Maysam F.; Huang, Hui-Hsun; Lan, Jheng-Yan; Tsai, Feng-Fang; Chang, Hung-Chi; Yang, Yea-Wen; Chuang, Fu-Lan; Chiu, Yi-Fang; Jen, Kuo-Kuang; Wu, Jeng-Fu; Shieh, Jiann-Shing

    2015-01-01

    Electroencephalogram (EEG) signals, as it can express the human brain's activities and reflect awareness, have been widely used in many research and medical equipment to build a noninvasive monitoring index to the depth of anesthesia (DOA). Bispectral (BIS) index monitor is one of the famous and important indicators for anesthesiologists primarily using EEG signals when assessing the DOA. In this study, an attempt is made to build a new indicator using EEG signals to provide a more valuable reference to the DOA for clinical researchers. The EEG signals are collected from patients under anesthetic surgery which are filtered using multivariate empirical mode decomposition (MEMD) method and analyzed using sample entropy (SampEn) analysis. The calculated signals from SampEn are utilized to train an artificial neural network (ANN) model through using expert assessment of consciousness level (EACL) which is assessed by experienced anesthesiologists as the target to train, validate, and test the ANN. The results that are achieved using the proposed system are compared to BIS index. The proposed system results show that it is not only having similar characteristic to BIS index but also more close to experienced anesthesiologists which illustrates the consciousness level and reflects the DOA successfully. PMID:25738152

  17. Neural Dynamics Underlying Event-Related Potentials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shah, Ankoor S.; Bressler, Steven L.; Knuth, Kevin H.; Ding, Ming-Zhou; Mehta, Ashesh D.; Ulbert, Istvan; Schroeder, Charles E.

    2003-01-01

    There are two opposing hypotheses about the brain mechanisms underlying sensory event-related potentials (ERPs). One holds that sensory ERPs are generated by phase resetting of ongoing electroencephalographic (EEG) activity, and the other that they result from signal averaging of stimulus-evoked neural responses. We tested several contrasting predictions of these hypotheses by direct intracortical analysis of neural activity in monkeys. Our findings clearly demonstrate evoked response contributions to the sensory ERP in the monkey, and they suggest the likelihood that a mixed (Evoked/Phase Resetting) model may account for the generation of scalp ERPs in humans.

  18. [Interpersonal relations in the consciousness of pupils and students].

    PubMed

    Kolarzyk, Emilia; Jaglarz, Małgorzata; Jaworska-Szyc, Jagoda

    2005-01-01

    The quality, satisfaction and being pleased of life depend on proper relations in the family, in the group of persons at the same age and at school or at the University. The aim of this study was the estimation of interpersonal relations in the chosen group of Cracovian secondary school pupils and medical students thanks the examinations conducted by auditory system with the use of an inquiry "Woman Self Image and Social Ideal". There were 713 persons belonging to 2 groups included in the examination: Group I: 313 pupils, including 128 boys and 185 girls attending to the second and third classes of two Cracovian secondary schools: Group II: 400 students of Medical Department and Health Protection Department of Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University in Cracow--106 male students and 294 female students. In the actual analysis the answers given to 64 questions of the "Interpersonal problems Inventory" questionnaire were estimated. Every question contained 5 possibilities: no, a little bit, more or less, much, very much. The hierarchy of these problems was estimated with the use of the method of step wise regression on the basis of the frequency of opposite answers to the particular questions. The most often the young persons stated (74%-63%) that it is never difficult for them to make a present to somebody else, to feel happy about one's happiness and to show positive emotions to others. About half of the examined persons (60%-47%) thought that they were never aggressive to others, that they never put their needs on the first position and they were not afraid of contacts with other people. In the questions connected with one's own personality determining the frequency of answers given to particular dystractors was not strongly marked e.g.: It is difficult for me to be alone: no (39%I/35%II), a little bit (18%I/16%II), moderately (13%I/11%II), much (13%I/18%II), very much (17%I/20%II); I am too credulous: no (46%I/37%II), a little bit (26%I/ 26%II), moderately (12

  19. A hierarchy of event-related potential markers of auditory processing in disorders of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Beukema, Steve; Gonzalez-Lara, Laura E; Finoia, Paola; Kamau, Evelyn; Allanson, Judith; Chennu, Srivas; Gibson, Raechelle M; Pickard, John D; Owen, Adrian M; Cruse, Damian

    2016-01-01

    Functional neuroimaging of covert perceptual and cognitive processes can inform the diagnoses and prognoses of patients with disorders of consciousness, such as the vegetative and minimally conscious states (VS;MCS). Here we report an event-related potential (ERP) paradigm for detecting a hierarchy of auditory processes in a group of healthy individuals and patients with disorders of consciousness. Simple cortical responses to sounds were observed in all 16 patients; 7/16 (44%) patients exhibited markers of the differential processing of speech and noise; and 1 patient produced evidence of the semantic processing of speech (i.e. the N400 effect). In several patients, the level of auditory processing that was evident from ERPs was higher than the abilities that were evident from behavioural assessment, indicating a greater sensitivity of ERPs in some cases. However, there were no differences in auditory processing between VS and MCS patient groups, indicating a lack of diagnostic specificity for this paradigm. Reliably detecting semantic processing by means of the N400 effect in passively listening single-subjects is a challenge. Multiple assessment methods are needed in order to fully characterise the abilities of patients with disorders of consciousness. PMID:27595064

  20. Detecting consciousness in a total locked-in syndrome: an active event-related paradigm.

    PubMed

    Schnakers, Caroline; Perrin, Fabien; Schabus, Manuel; Hustinx, Roland; Majerus, Steve; Moonen, Gustave; Boly, Melanie; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey; Bruno, Marie-Aurelie; Laureys, Steven

    2009-08-01

    Total locked-in syndrome is characterized by tetraplegia, anarthria and paralysis of eye motility. In this study, consciousness was detected in a 21-year-old woman who presented a total locked-in syndrome after a basilar artery thrombosis (49 days post-injury) using an active event-related paradigm. The patient was presented sequences of names containing the patient's own name and other names. The patient was instructed to count her own name or to count another target name. Similar to 4 age- and gender-matched healthy controls, the P3 response recorded for the voluntarily counted own name was larger than while passively listening. This P3 response was observed 14 days before the first behavioral signs of consciousness. This study shows that our active event-related paradigm allowed to identify voluntary brain activity in a patient who would behaviorally be diagnosed as comatose. PMID:19241281

  1. [Neural representation of human body schema and corporeal self-consciousness].

    PubMed

    Naito, Eiichi; Morita, Tomoyo

    2014-04-01

    The human brain processes every sensation evoked by altered posture and builds up a constantly changing postural model of the body. This is called a body schema, and somatic signals originating from skeletal muscles and joints, i.e. proprioceptive signals, largely contribute its formation. Recent neuroimaging techniques have revealed neuronal substrates for human body schema. A dynamic limb position model seems to be computed in the central motor network (represented by the primary motor cortex). Here, proprioceptive (kinesthetic) signals from muscle spindles are transformed into motor commands, which may underlie somatic perception of limb movement and facilitate its efficient motor control. Somatic signals originating from different body parts are integrated in the course of hierarchical somatosensory processing, and activity in higher-order somatosensory parietal cortices is capable of representing a postural model of the entire body. The left fronto-parietal network associates internal motor representation with external object representation, allowing the embodiment of external objects. In contrast, the right fronto-parietal regions connected by the most inferior branch of superior longitudinal fasciculus fibers seem to have the functions of monitoring bodily states and updating body schema. We hypothesize that activity in these right-sided fronto-parietal regions is deeply involved in corporeal self-consciousness. PMID:24748084

  2. What about pain in disorders of consciousness?

    PubMed

    Schnakers, C; Chatelle, C; Demertzi, A; Majerus, S; Laureys, S

    2012-09-01

    The management and treatment of acute pain is very difficult in non-communicative patients with disorders of consciousness (i.e., vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) and minimally conscious state), creating an ethical dilemma for caregivers and an emotional burden among both relatives and caregivers. In this review, we summarize recent findings about the neural substrates of nociception and pain in VS/UWS patients as well as recent behavioral assessment methods of nociception specifically designed for patients in altered states of consciousness. We will finally discuss implications for pain treatment in these patients. PMID:22528502

  3. Conscious behavior explained.

    PubMed

    Kurthen, M

    1999-06-01

    Current neurobiological research on temporal binding in binocular rivalry settings contributes to a better understanding of the neural correlate of perceptual consciousness. This research can easily be integrated into a theory of conscious behavior, but if it is meant to promote a naturalistic theory of perceptual consciousness itself, it is confronted with the notorious explanatory gap argument according to which any statement of psychophysical correlations (and their interpretation) leaves the phenomenal character of, e.g., states of perceptual consciousness open. It is argued that research on temporal binding plays no role in a naturalistic theory of consciousness if the gap argument can be solved on internal philosophical grounds or if it turns out to be unsolvable at the time being. But there may be a way to dissolve or deconstruct it, and the accessibility of this way may well depend on scientific progress, including neurobiological research on the neural correlate of perceptual consciousness. PMID:10447997

  4. Intraduodenal capsaicin inhibits gastric migrating motor complex via an extrinsic neural reflex in conscious dogs.

    PubMed

    Shibata, C; Naito, H; Ueno, T; Jin, X-L; Funayama, Y; Fukushima, K; Matsuno, S; Sasaki, I

    2002-10-01

    The aim was to study the effect of intraduodenal capsaicin on interdigestive gastric contractions. Mongrel dogs were equipped with strain-gauge force transducers to measure gastroduodenal motility. The effects of intraduodenal capsaicin with or without pharmacological antagonists on spontaneous and motilin-induced interdigestive gastric contractions and on plasma motilin were studied in dogs with intact stomachs. The effect of intraduodenal capsaicin on gastric contractions was also studied in vagally denervated gastric (Heidenhain) pouch and vagally innervated antral pouch. Intraduodenal capsaicin inhibited spontaneous and motilin-induced gastric contractions. The spontaneous peak in plasma motilin was inhibited by intraduodenal capsaicin. The effect of intraduodenal capsaicin on motilin-induced gastric contractions was not affected by blockade of nitric oxide synthase, or by beta-adrenoceptor antagonist. Administration of alpha-adrenergic blocker inhibited basal interdigestive gastric motility. Intraduodenal capsaicin had no effect on contractions in the Heidenhain pouch but inhibited those in vagally innervated antral pouch. Duodenal afferent fibres stimulated by capsaicin inhibit gastric contractions via a nitric oxide-independent extrinsic neural reflex. PMID:12358683

  5. Sleep Neuroimaging and Models of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Tagliazucchi, Enzo; Behrens, Marion; Laufs, Helmut

    2013-01-01

    Human deep sleep is characterized by reduced sensory activity, responsiveness to stimuli, and conscious awareness. Given its ubiquity and reversible nature, it represents an attractive paradigm to study the neural changes which accompany the loss of consciousness in humans. In particular, the deepest stages of sleep can serve as an empirical test for the predictions of theoretical models relating the phenomenology of consciousness with underlying neural activity. A relatively recent shift of attention from the analysis of evoked responses toward spontaneous (or “resting state”) activity has taken place in the neuroimaging community, together with the development of tools suitable to study distributed functional interactions. In this review we focus on recent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies of spontaneous activity during sleep and their relationship with theoretical models for human consciousness generation, considering the global workspace theory, the information integration theory, and the dynamical core hypothesis. We discuss the venues of research opened by these results, emphasizing the need to extend the analytic methodology in order to obtain a dynamical picture of how functional interactions change over time and how their evolution is modulated during different conscious states. Finally, we discuss the need to experimentally establish absent or reduced conscious content, even when studying the deepest sleep stages. PMID:23717291

  6. Event-related brain potential correlates of two states of conscious awareness in memory

    PubMed Central

    Düzel, Emrah; Yonelinas, Andrew P.; Mangun, George R.; Heinze, Hans-Jochen; Tulving, Endel

    1997-01-01

    We report an event-related potential (ERP) experiment of human recognition memory that explored the relation between conscious awareness and electrophysiological activity of the brain. We recorded ERPs from healthy adults while they made “remember” and “know” recognition judgments about previously seen words. These two kinds of judgments reflect “autonoetic” and “noetic” awareness, respectively. The ERP effects differed between the two kinds of awareness while they were similar for “true” and “false” recognition. Noetic awareness was associated with a temporoparietal positivity in the N400 range (325–600 ms) and a late (600–1,000 ms) frontocentral negativity, whereas autonoetic awareness was associated with a widespread, late, bifrontal and left parietotemporal (600–1000 ms) positivity. In the very late (1,300–1,900 ms) time window, a right frontal positivity was observed for both remember and know judgments of both true and false targets. These results provide physiological evidence for two types of conscious awareness in episodic memory retrieval. PMID:9159185

  7. Trauma-related dissociation and altered states of consciousness: a call for clinical, treatment, and neuroscience research.

    PubMed

    Lanius, Ruth A

    2015-01-01

    The primary aim of this commentary is to describe trauma-related dissociation and altered states of consciousness in the context of a four-dimensional model that has recently been proposed (Frewen & Lanius, 2015). This model categorizes symptoms of trauma-related psychopathology into (1) those that occur within normal waking consciousness and (2) those that are dissociative and are associated with trauma-related altered states of consciousness (TRASC) along four dimensions: (1) time; (2) thought; (3) body; and (4) emotion. Clinical applications and future research directions relevant to each dimension are discussed. Conceptualizing TRASC across the dimensions of time, thought, body, and emotion has transdiagnostic implications for trauma-related disorders described in both the Diagnostic Statistical Manual and the International Classifications of Diseases. The four-dimensional model provides a framework, guided by existing models of dissociation, for future research examining the phenomenological, neurobiological, and physiological underpinnings of trauma-related dissociation. PMID:25994026

  8. Trauma-related dissociation and altered states of consciousness: a call for clinical, treatment, and neuroscience research

    PubMed Central

    Lanius, Ruth A.

    2015-01-01

    The primary aim of this commentary is to describe trauma-related dissociation and altered states of consciousness in the context of a four-dimensional model that has recently been proposed (Frewen & Lanius, 2015). This model categorizes symptoms of trauma-related psychopathology into (1) those that occur within normal waking consciousness and (2) those that are dissociative and are associated with trauma-related altered states of consciousness (TRASC) along four dimensions: (1) time; (2) thought; (3) body; and (4) emotion. Clinical applications and future research directions relevant to each dimension are discussed. Conceptualizing TRASC across the dimensions of time, thought, body, and emotion has transdiagnostic implications for trauma-related disorders described in both the Diagnostic Statistical Manual and the International Classifications of Diseases. The four-dimensional model provides a framework, guided by existing models of dissociation, for future research examining the phenomenological, neurobiological, and physiological underpinnings of trauma-related dissociation. PMID:25994026

  9. Occupational Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Ramugondo, Elelwani L.

    2015-01-01

    Occupational consciousness refers to ongoing awareness of the dynamics of hegemony and recognition that dominant practices are sustained through what people do every day, with implications for personal and collective health. The emergence of the construct in post-apartheid South Africa signifies the country’s ongoing struggle with negotiating long-standing dynamics of power that were laid down during colonialism, and maintained under black majority rule. Consciousness, a key component of the new terminology, is framed from post-colonial perspectives – notably work by Biko and Fanon – and grounded in the philosophy of liberation, in order to draw attention to continuing unequal intersubjective relations that play out through human occupation. The paper also draws important links between occupational consciousness and other related constructs, namely occupational possibilities, occupational choice, occupational apartheid, and collective occupation. The use of the term ‘consciousness’ in sociology, with related or different meanings, is also explored. Occupational consciousness is then advanced as a critical notion that frames everyday doing as a potentially liberating response to oppressive social structures. This paper advances theorizing as a scholarly practice in occupational science, and could potentially expand inter or transdisciplinary work for critical conceptualizations of human occupation. PMID:26549984

  10. The Merit of Synesthesia for Consciousness Research.

    PubMed

    van Leeuwen, Tessa M; Singer, Wolf; Nikolić, Danko

    2015-01-01

    Synesthesia is a phenomenon in which additional perceptual experiences are elicited by sensory stimuli or cognitive concepts. Synesthetes possess a unique type of phenomenal experiences not directly triggered by sensory stimulation. Therefore, for better understanding of consciousness it is relevant to identify the mental and physiological processes that subserve synesthetic experience. In the present work we suggest several reasons why synesthesia has merit for research on consciousness. We first review the research on the dynamic and rapidly growing field of the studies of synesthesia. We particularly draw attention to the role of semantics in synesthesia, which is important for establishing synesthetic associations in the brain. We then propose that the interplay between semantics and sensory input in synesthesia can be helpful for the study of the neural correlates of consciousness, especially when making use of ambiguous stimuli for inducing synesthesia. Finally, synesthesia-related alterations of brain networks and functional connectivity can be of merit for the study of consciousness. PMID:26696921

  11. The Merit of Synesthesia for Consciousness Research

    PubMed Central

    van Leeuwen, Tessa M.; Singer, Wolf; Nikolić, Danko

    2015-01-01

    Synesthesia is a phenomenon in which additional perceptual experiences are elicited by sensory stimuli or cognitive concepts. Synesthetes possess a unique type of phenomenal experiences not directly triggered by sensory stimulation. Therefore, for better understanding of consciousness it is relevant to identify the mental and physiological processes that subserve synesthetic experience. In the present work we suggest several reasons why synesthesia has merit for research on consciousness. We first review the research on the dynamic and rapidly growing field of the studies of synesthesia. We particularly draw attention to the role of semantics in synesthesia, which is important for establishing synesthetic associations in the brain. We then propose that the interplay between semantics and sensory input in synesthesia can be helpful for the study of the neural correlates of consciousness, especially when making use of ambiguous stimuli for inducing synesthesia. Finally, synesthesia-related alterations of brain networks and functional connectivity can be of merit for the study of consciousness. PMID:26696921

  12. An Analysis of Inhabitants' Consciousness Related to Road Maintenance Status in View of Using Frequency

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takano, Shin-Ei; Fujii, Nao

    In our country, many infrastructures built in a highly economic growth period will be creaky. Therefore a need exists for a large amount of expense for maintenance and repair. On this account, application of asset management technique and budget for maintenance depending on an need are extremely important. Differences of consciousness structure of inhabitants that use frequency are high and low related to road maintenance management are analyzed, in case study of a tunnel coned off for four months by some troubles. In analysis results, persons show approval increase of maintenance expense, who feel that "maintenance administrative expense" is low and "satisfaction of administrative service related to road maintenance" is high. Whereas persons damaged by suspension of traffic disapprove expense increase. This result is totally reverse to original expectation and a very important for maintenance management policy.

  13. EEG oscillatory states as neuro-phenomenology of consciousness as revealed from patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states.

    PubMed

    Fingelkurts, Alexander A; Fingelkurts, Andrew A; Bagnato, Sergio; Boccagni, Cristina; Galardi, Giuseppe

    2012-03-01

    The value of resting electroencephalogram (EEG) in revealing neural constitutes of consciousness (NCC) was examined. We quantified the dynamic repertoire, duration and oscillatory type of EEG microstates in eyes-closed rest in relation to the degree of expression of clinical self-consciousness. For NCC a model was suggested that contrasted normal, severely disturbed state of consciousness and state without consciousness. Patients with disorders of consciousness were used. Results suggested that the repertoire, duration and oscillatory type of EEG microstates in resting condition quantitatively related to the level of consciousness expression in brain-damaged patients and healthy-conscious subjects. Specifically, results demonstrated that (a) decreased number of EEG microstate types was associated with altered states of consciousness, (b) unawareness was associated with the lack of diversity in EEG alpha-rhythmic microstates, and (c) the probability for the occurrence and duration of delta-, theta- and slow-alpha-rhythmic microstates were associated with unawareness, whereas the probability for the occurrence and duration of fast-alpha-rhythmic microstates were associated with consciousness. In conclusion, resting EEG has a potential value in revealing NCC. This work may have implications for clinical care and medical-legal decisions in patients with disorders of consciousness. PMID:22054641

  14. Objectified Body Consciousness in Relation to Recovery from an Eating Disorder

    PubMed Central

    Fitzsimmons, Ellen E.; Bardone-Cone, Anna M.; Kelly, Kathleen A.

    2011-01-01

    In Western society, the feminine body has been positioned as an object to be looked at and sexually gazed upon; thus, females often learn to view themselves as objects to be observed (i.e., objectified body consciousness (OBC)). This study examined the relation between OBC and eating disorder recovery by comparing its components across non-eating disorder controls, fully recovered, partially recovered, and active eating disorder cases. Results revealed that non-eating disorder controls and fully recovered individuals had similarly low levels of two components of OBC, body surveillance and body shame. Partially recovered individuals looked more similar to those with an active eating disorder on these constructs. The third component of OBC, control beliefs, and a conceptually similar construct, weight/shape self-efficacy, did not differ across groups. Results provide support for the importance of measuring aspects of self-objectification, particularly body surveillance and body shame, across the course of an eating disorder. PMID:22051364

  15. Distinct neural correlates of the preference-related valuation of supraliminally and subliminally presented faces.

    PubMed

    Ito, Ayahito; Abe, Nobuhito; Kawachi, Yousuke; Kawasaki, Iori; Ueno, Aya; Yoshida, Kazuki; Sakai, Shinya; Matsue, Yoshihiko; Fujii, Toshikatsu

    2015-08-01

    Recent neuroimaging studies have investigated the neural substrates involved in the valuation of supraliminally presented targets and the subsequent preference decisions. However, the neural mechanisms of the valuation of subliminally presented targets, which can guide subsequent preference decisions, remain to be explored. In the present study, we determined whether the neural systems associated with the valuation of supraliminally presented faces are involved in the valuation of subliminally presented faces. The subjects were supraliminally and subliminally presented with faces during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Following fMRI, the subjects were presented with pairs of faces and were asked to choose which face they preferred. We analyzed brain activation by back-sorting the fMRI data according to the subjects' choices. The present study yielded two main findings. First, the ventral striatum and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex predict preferences only for supraliminally presented faces. Second, the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex may predict preferences for subliminally presented faces. These findings indicate that neural correlates of the preference-related valuation of faces are dissociable, contingent upon whether the subjects consciously perceive the faces. PMID:25880023

  16. Trauma-related altered states of consciousness: exploring the 4-D model.

    PubMed

    Frewen, Paul A; Lanius, Ruth A

    2014-01-01

    Frewen and Lanius (in press) recently articulated a 4-D model as a framework for classifying symptoms of posttraumatic stress into those that potentially occur within normal waking consciousness (NWC) versus those that intrinsically represent dissociative experiences of trauma-related altered states of consciousness (TRASC). Four dimensions were specified: time-memory, thought, body, and emotion. The 4-D model further hypothesizes that in traumatized persons, symptoms of TRASC, compared with NWC forms of distress, will be (a) observed less frequently; (b) less intercorrelated, especially as measured as moment-to-moment states; (c) observed more frequently in people with high dissociative symptomatology as measured independently; and (d) observed more often in people who have experienced repeated traumatization, particularly early developmental trauma. The aim of the present research was to begin to evaluate these 4 predictions of the 4-D model. Within a sample of 74 women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) primarily due to histories of childhood trauma, as well as within a 2nd sample of 504 undergraduates (384 females), the 1st 2 hypotheses of the 4-D model were supported. In addition, within the PTSD sample, the 3rd hypothesis was supported. However, inconsistent with the 4th hypothesis, severity of childhood trauma history was not strongly associated with TRASC. We conclude that the hypotheses articulated by the 4-D model were generally supported, although further research in different trauma-related disorders is needed, and the role of childhood trauma history in the etiology of TRASC requires further research. PMID:24650122

  17. Relational Neural Evolution Approach to Bank Failure Prediction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abudu, Bolanle; Markose, Sheri

    2007-12-01

    Relational neural networks as a concept offers a unique opportunity for improving classification accuracy by exploiting relational structure in data. The premise is that a relational classification technique, which uses information implicit in relationships, should classify more accurately than techniques that only examine objects in isolation. In this paper, we study the use of relational neural networks for predicting bank failure. Alongside classical financial ratios normally used as predictor variables, we introduced new relational variables for the network. The relational neural network structure, specified as a combination of feed forward and recurrent neural networks, is determined by bank data through neuro-evolution. We discuss empirical results comparing performance of the relational approach to standard propositional methods used for bank failure prediction.

  18. Relational Neural Evolution Approach to Bank Failure Prediction

    SciTech Connect

    Abudu, Bolanle; Markose, Sheri

    2007-12-26

    Relational neural networks as a concept offers a unique opportunity for improving classification accuracy by exploiting relational structure in data. The premise is that a relational classification technique, which uses information implicit in relationships, should classify more accurately than techniques that only examine objects in isolation. In this paper, we study the use of relational neural networks for predicting bank failure. Alongside classical financial ratios normally used as predictor variables, we introduced new relational variables for the network. The relational neural network structure, specified as a combination of feed forward and recurrent neural networks, is determined by bank data through neuro-evolution. We discuss empirical results comparing performance of the relational approach to standard propositional methods used for bank failure prediction.

  19. Viewing brain processes as Critical State Transitions across levels of organization: Neural events in Cognition and Consciousness, and general principles.

    PubMed

    Werner, Gerhard

    2009-04-01

    In this theoretical and speculative essay, I propose that insights into certain aspects of neural system functions can be gained from viewing brain function in terms of the branch of Statistical Mechanics currently referred to as "Modern Critical Theory" [Stanley, H.E., 1987. Introduction to Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena. Oxford University Press; Marro, J., Dickman, R., 1999. Nonequilibrium Phase Transitions in Lattice Models. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK]. The application of this framework is here explored in two stages: in the first place, its principles are applied to state transitions in global brain dynamics, with benchmarks of Cognitive Neuroscience providing the relevant empirical reference points. The second stage generalizes to suggest in more detail how the same principles could also apply to the relation between other levels of the structural-functional hierarchy of the nervous system and between neural assemblies. In this view, state transitions resulting from the processing at one level are the input to the next, in the image of a 'bucket brigade', with the content of each bucket being passed on along the chain, after having undergone a state transition. The unique features of a process of this kind will be discussed and illustrated. PMID:19124060

  20. Predictable internal brain dynamics in EEG and its relation to conscious states

    PubMed Central

    Yoo, Jaewook; Kwon, Jaerock; Choe, Yoonsuck

    2014-01-01

    Consciousness is a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon defying scientific explanation. Part of the reason why this is the case is due to its subjective nature. In our previous computational experiments, to avoid such a subjective trap, we took a strategy to investigate objective necessary conditions of consciousness. Our basic hypothesis was that predictive internal dynamics serves as such a condition. This is in line with theories of consciousness that treat retention (memory), protention (anticipation), and primary impression as the tripartite temporal structure of consciousness. To test our hypothesis, we analyzed publicly available sleep and awake electroencephalogram (EEG) data. Our results show that EEG signals from awake or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep states have more predictable dynamics compared to those from slow-wave sleep (SWS). Since awakeness and REM sleep are associated with conscious states and SWS with unconscious or less consciousness states, these results support our hypothesis. The results suggest an intricate relationship among prediction, consciousness, and time, with potential applications to time perception and neurorobotics. PMID:24917813

  1. Assessing consciousness in coma and related states using transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with electroencephalography.

    PubMed

    Gosseries, O; Thibaut, A; Boly, M; Rosanova, M; Massimini, M; Laureys, S

    2014-02-01

    Thanks to advances in medical care, an increased number of patients recover from coma. However, some remain in vegetative/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome or in a minimally conscious state. Detection of awareness in severely brain-injured patients is challenging because it relies on behavioral assessments, which can be affected by motor, sensory and cognitive impairments of the patients. Other means of evaluation are needed to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis in this challenging population. We will here review the different altered states of consciousness occurring after severe brain damage, and explain the difficulties associated with behavioral assessment of consciousness. We will then describe a non-invasive technique, transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with high-density electroencephalography (TMS-EEG), which has allowed us to detect the presence or absence of consciousness in different physiological, pathological and pharmacological states. Some potential underlying mechanisms of the loss of consciousness will then be discussed. In conclusion, TMS-EEG is highly promising in identifying markers of consciousness at the individual level and might be of great value for clinicians in the assessment of consciousness. PMID:24393302

  2. Consciously Thinking about Consciousness

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tribus, Myron

    2004-01-01

    Merker hypothesized that because mobile creatures move around and must constantly readjust their map of the world and because the demands are so great for continually processing information for a map of the world, evolution has created a space in the brain where such preprocessing has been eliminated. This space he calls consciousness with the…

  3. Sleep in disorders of consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Cologan, Victor; Schabus, Manvel; Ledoux, Didier; Moonen, Gustave; Maquet, Pierre; Laureys, Steven

    2010-01-01

    SUMMARY From a behavioral as well as neurobiological point of view, sleep and consciousness are intimately connected. A better understanding of sleep cycles and sleep architecture of patients suffering from disorders of consciousness (DOC) might therefore improve the clinical care for these patients as well as our understanding of the neural correlations of consciousness. Defining sleep in severely brain-injured patients is however problematic as both their electrophysiological and sleep patterns differ in many ways from healthy individuals. This paper discusses the concepts involved in the study of sleep of patients suffering from DOC and critically assesses the applicability of standard sleep criteria in these patients. The available literature on comatose and vegetative states as well as that on locked-in and related states following traumatic or non-traumatic severe brain injury will be reviewed. A wide spectrum of sleep disturbances ranging from almost normal patterns to severe loss and architecture disorganization are reported in cases of DOC and some patterns correlate with diagnosis and prognosis. At the present time the interactions of sleep and consciousness in brain-injured patients are a little studied subject but, the authors suggest, a potentially very interesting field of research. PMID:19524464

  4. Sleep in disorders of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Cologan, Victor; Schabus, Manvel; Ledoux, Didier; Moonen, Gustave; Maquet, Pierre; Laureys, Steven

    2010-04-01

    From a behavioral as well as neurobiological point of view, sleep and consciousness are intimately connected. A better understanding of sleep cycles and sleep architecture of patients suffering from disorders of consciousness (DOC) might therefore improve the clinical care for these patients as well as our understanding of the neural correlations of consciousness. Defining sleep in severely brain-injured patients is however problematic as both their electrophysiological and sleep patterns differ in many ways from healthy individuals. This paper discusses the concepts involved in the study of sleep of patients suffering from DOC and critically assesses the applicability of standard sleep criteria in these patients. The available literature on comatose and vegetative states as well as that on locked-in and related states following traumatic or non-traumatic severe brain injury will be reviewed. A wide spectrum of sleep disturbances ranging from almost normal patterns to severe loss and architecture disorganization are reported in cases of DOC and some patterns correlate with diagnosis and prognosis. At the present time the interactions of sleep and consciousness in brain-injured patients are a little studied subject but, the authors suggest, a potentially very interesting field of research. PMID:19524464

  5. Robust single trial identification of conscious percepts triggered by sensory events of variable saliency.

    PubMed

    Teixeira, Marta; Pires, Gabriel; Raimundo, Miguel; Nascimento, Sérgio; Almeida, Vasco; Castelo-Branco, Miguel

    2014-01-01

    The neural correlates of visual awareness are elusive because of its fleeting nature. Here we have addressed this issue by using single trial statistical "brain reading" of neurophysiological event related (ERP) signatures of conscious perception of visual attributes with different levels of saliency. Behavioral reports were taken at every trial in 4 experiments addressing conscious access to color, luminance, and local phase offset cues. We found that single trial neurophysiological signatures of target presence can be observed around 300 ms at central parietal sites. Such signatures are significantly related with conscious perception, and their probability is related to sensory saliency levels. These findings identify a general neural correlate of conscious perception at the single trial level, since conscious perception can be decoded as such independently of stimulus salience and fluctuations of threshold levels. This approach can be generalized to successfully detect target presence in other individuals. PMID:24465957

  6. Electrical stimulation of a small brain area reversibly disrupts consciousness.

    PubMed

    Koubeissi, Mohamad Z; Bartolomei, Fabrice; Beltagy, Abdelrahman; Picard, Fabienne

    2014-08-01

    The neural mechanisms that underlie consciousness are not fully understood. We describe a region in the human brain where electrical stimulation reproducibly disrupted consciousness. A 54-year-old woman with intractable epilepsy underwent depth electrode implantation and electrical stimulation mapping. The electrode whose stimulation disrupted consciousness was between the left claustrum and anterior-dorsal insula. Stimulation of electrodes within 5mm did not affect consciousness. We studied the interdependencies among depth recording signals as a function of time by nonlinear regression analysis (h(2) coefficient) during stimulations that altered consciousness and stimulations of the same electrode at lower current intensities that were asymptomatic. Stimulation of the claustral electrode reproducibly resulted in a complete arrest of volitional behavior, unresponsiveness, and amnesia without negative motor symptoms or mere aphasia. The disruption of consciousness did not outlast the stimulation and occurred without any epileptiform discharges. We found a significant increase in correlation for interactions affecting medial parietal and posterior frontal channels during stimulations that disrupted consciousness compared with those that did not. Our findings suggest that the left claustrum/anterior insula is an important part of a network that subserves consciousness and that disruption of consciousness is related to increased EEG signal synchrony within frontal-parietal networks. PMID:24967698

  7. Timing and awareness of movement decisions: does consciousness really come too late?

    PubMed Central

    Guggisberg, Adrian G.; Mottaz, Anaïs

    2013-01-01

    Since Libet's seminal observation that a brain potential related to movement preparation occurs before participants report to be aware of their movement intention, it has been debated whether consciousness has causal influence on movement decisions. Here we review recent advances that provide new insights into the dynamics of human decision-making and question the validity of different markers used for determining the onset of neural and conscious events. Motor decisions involve multiple stages of goal evaluation, intention formation, and action execution. While the validity of the Bereitschaftspotential (BP) as index of neural movement preparation is controversial, improved neural markers are able to predict decision outcome even at early stages. Participants report being conscious of their decisions only at the time of final intention formation, just before the primary motor cortex starts executing the chosen action. However, accumulating evidence suggests that this is an artifact of Libet's clock method used for assessing consciousness. More refined methods suggest that intention consciousness does not appear instantaneously but builds up progressively. In this view, early neural markers of decision outcome are not unconscious but simply reflect conscious goal evaluation stages which are not final yet and therefore not reported with the clock method. Alternatives to the Libet clock are discussed that might allow for assessment of consciousness during decision making with improved sensitivity to early decision stages and with less influence from meta-conscious and perceptual inferences. PMID:23966921

  8. Consciousness, Plasticity, and Connectomics: The Role of Intersubjectivity in Human Cognition

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Micah; Williams, Gary

    2011-01-01

    Consciousness is typically construed as being explainable purely in terms of either private, raw feels or higher-order, reflective representations. In contrast to this false dichotomy, we propose a new view of consciousness as an interactive, plastic phenomenon open to sociocultural influence. We take up our account of consciousness from the observation of radical cortical neuroplasticity in human development. Accordingly, we draw upon recent research on macroscopic neural networks, including the “default mode,” to illustrate cases in which an individual's particular “connectome” is shaped by encultured social practices that depend upon and influence phenomenal and reflective consciousness. On our account, the dynamically interacting connectivity of these networks bring about important individual differences in conscious experience and determine what is “present” in consciousness. Further, we argue that the organization of the brain into discrete anti-correlated networks supports the phenomenological distinction of prereflective and reflective consciousness, but we emphasize that this finding must be interpreted in light of the dynamic, category-resistant nature of consciousness. Our account motivates philosophical and empirical hypotheses regarding the appropriate time-scale and function of neuroplastic adaptation, the relation of high and low-frequency neural activity to consciousness and cognitive plasticity, and the role of ritual social practices in neural development and cognitive function. PMID:21687435

  9. Attention and olfactory consciousness.

    PubMed

    Keller, Andreas

    2011-01-01

    Understanding the relation between attention and consciousness is an important part of our understanding of consciousness. Attention, unlike consciousness, can be systematically manipulated in psychophysical experiments and a law-like relation between attention and consciousness is waiting to be discovered. Most attempts to discover the nature of this relation are focused on a special type of attention: spatial visual attention. In this review I want to introduce another type of attention to the discussion: attention to the olfactory modality. I will first clarify the position of attention to smells in a general taxonomy of attention. I will then review the mechanisms and neuroanatomy of attention and consciousness in the olfactory system before using the newly introduced system to provide evidence that attention is necessary for consciousness. PMID:22203813

  10. Hippocampus is place of interaction between unconscious and conscious memories.

    PubMed

    Züst, Marc Alain; Colella, Patrizio; Reber, Thomas Peter; Vuilleumier, Patrik; Hauf, Martinus; Ruch, Simon; Henke, Katharina

    2015-01-01

    Recent evidence suggests that humans can form and later retrieve new semantic relations unconsciously by way of hippocampus-the key structure also recruited for conscious relational (episodic) memory. If the hippocampus subserves both conscious and unconscious relational encoding/retrieval, one would expect the hippocampus to be place of unconscious-conscious interactions during memory retrieval. We tested this hypothesis in an fMRI experiment probing the interaction between the unconscious and conscious retrieval of face-associated information. For the establishment of unconscious relational memories, we presented subliminal (masked) combinations of unfamiliar faces and written occupations ("actor" or "politician"). At test, we presented the former subliminal faces, but now supraliminally, as cues for the reactivation of the unconsciously associated occupations. We hypothesized that unconscious reactivation of the associated occupation-actor or politician-would facilitate or inhibit the subsequent conscious retrieval of a celebrity's occupation, which was also actor or politician. Depending on whether the reactivated unconscious occupation was congruent or incongruent to the celebrity's occupation, we expected either quicker or delayed conscious retrieval process. Conscious retrieval was quicker in the congruent relative to a neutral baseline condition but not delayed in the incongruent condition. fMRI data collected during subliminal face-occupation encoding confirmed previous evidence that the hippocampus was interacting with neocortical storage sites of semantic knowledge to support relational encoding. fMRI data collected at test revealed that the facilitated conscious retrieval was paralleled by deactivations in the hippocampus and neocortical storage sites of semantic knowledge. We assume that the unconscious reactivation has pre-activated overlapping relational representations in the hippocampus reducing the neural effort for conscious retrieval. This

  11. Conscious, but not unconscious, logo priming of brands and related words.

    PubMed

    Brintazzoli, Gigliola; Soetens, Eric; Deroost, Natacha; Van den Bussche, Eva

    2012-06-01

    This study assessed whether real-life stimulus material can elicit conscious and unconscious priming. A typical masked priming paradigm was used, with brand logo primes. We used a rigorous method to assess participants' awareness of the subliminal information. Our results show that shortly presented and masked brand logos (e.g., logo of McDonald's) have the power to prime their brand names (e.g., "McDonald's") and, remarkably, words associated to the brand (e.g., "hamburger"). However, this only occurred when the logos could be categorized clearly above the consciousness threshold. Once the primes were presented close to the consciousness threshold, no subliminal influences on behavior were observed. PMID:22503412

  12. Adrenal responses to calcitonin gene-related peptide in conscious hypophysectomized calves.

    PubMed Central

    Bloom, S R; Edwards, A V; Jones, C T

    1989-01-01

    1. Right adrenal and various cardiovascular responses to an intra-aortic infusion of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP; 4 micrograms min-1) have been investigated in the presence and absence of exogenous adrenocorticotrophin ACTH1-24 (2 or 5 ng min-1 kg-1, I.V.). The adrenal clamp technique was employed in conscious calves in which the pituitary stalk had been cauterized 3-7 days previously. 2. At the higher dose (5 ng min-1 kg-1) the I.V. infusion of ACTH raised mean plasma ACTH concentration by about 1000 pg ml-1 and mean right adrenal cortisol output by about 750 ng min-1 kg-1. Under these conditions the intra-aortic infusion of CGRP had no apparent effect on adrenal cortisol output by about 750 ng min-1 kg-1. Under these conditions the intra-aortic infusion of CGRP had no apparent effect on adrenal function, other than to produce moderate adrenal vasodilatation. In contrast, in the absence of exogenous ACTH, the same dose of CGRP produced a substantial rise in cortisol output, which rose steadily to a peak mean value of 409 +/- 31 pg min-1 kg-1 at 10 min. It also significantly inhibited the release of free, but not of total, met5-enkephalin-like immunoreactivity from the gland (P less than 0.001) together with a significantly greater fall in adrenal vascular resistance (P less than 0.001). 3. At the lower dose of ACTH (2 ng min-1 kg-1, I.V.) CGRP raised mean plasma cortisol output from 314 +/- 31 to 486 +/- 44 ng min-1 kg-1 (P less than 0.01) and this effect was not attributable to an increase in the adrenal presentation rate of ACTH. 4. It is concluded that this peptide exerts a steroidogenic action on the adrenal cortex which is manifest in the absence of exogenous ACTH in the functionally hypophysectomized calf. PMID:2555477

  13. Trauma-Related Altered States of Consciousness (TRASC) and Functional Impairment II: Perceived Causal Relationships in an Online Sample.

    PubMed

    Tzannidakis, Nicole C A; Frewen, Paul

    2015-01-01

    Research supports the existence of a dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder, although studies have not directly compared the perceived impact of dissociative versus nondissociative posttraumatic symptoms on social and occupational functioning. In addition, research is beginning to differentiate between posttraumatic distress associated with normal waking consciousness (NWC) and dissociative experiences of trauma-related altered states of consciousness (TRASC) along multiple phenomenological dimensions. The current study investigated perceived causal relationships between posttraumatic symptoms associated with NWC-distress and TRASC on the one hand and interpersonal and occupational functioning on the other. Although both TRASC and NWC-distress independently accounted for variance in self-reported interpersonal and occupational problems, perceived causal relationship results showed that individuals tended to attribute their social and work-related problems more strongly to NWC-distress than to TRASC. Future research directions are discussed. PMID:26308190

  14. Black Consciousness

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hraba, Joseph; Siegman, Jack

    1974-01-01

    Black militancy is treated as an instance of class consciousness with criteria and scales developed to measure black consciousness and "self-placement" into black consciousness. These dimensions are then investigated with respect to the social and symbolic participation in the ideology of the black movement on the part of a sample of black…

  15. Mestiza Consciousness in Relation to Sustained Political Solidarity: A Chicana Feminist Interpretation of the Farmworker Movement

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barvosa, Edwina

    2011-01-01

    Two of the most significant themes in Chicana feminist thought are the character of mestiza consciousness and the view that political solidarity--that is, the uniting of diverse people in common cause--should build upon diversity among peoples rather than on a single shared identity. Numerous Chicana and Latina feminists have connected these two…

  16. Aging Affects Neural Synchronization to Speech-Related Acoustic Modulations

    PubMed Central

    Goossens, Tine; Vercammen, Charlotte; Wouters, Jan; van Wieringen, Astrid

    2016-01-01

    As people age, speech perception problems become highly prevalent, especially in noisy situations. In addition to peripheral hearing and cognition, temporal processing plays a key role in speech perception. Temporal processing of speech features is mediated by synchronized activity of neural oscillations in the central auditory system. Previous studies indicate that both the degree and hemispheric lateralization of synchronized neural activity relate to speech perception performance. Based on these results, we hypothesize that impaired speech perception in older persons may, in part, originate from deviances in neural synchronization. In this study, auditory steady-state responses that reflect synchronized activity of theta, beta, low and high gamma oscillations (i.e., 4, 20, 40, and 80 Hz ASSR, respectively) were recorded in young, middle-aged, and older persons. As all participants had normal audiometric thresholds and were screened for (mild) cognitive impairment, differences in synchronized neural activity across the three age groups were likely to be attributed to age. Our data yield novel findings regarding theta and high gamma oscillations in the aging auditory system. At an older age, synchronized activity of theta oscillations is increased, whereas high gamma synchronization is decreased. In contrast to young persons who exhibit a right hemispheric dominance for processing of high gamma range modulations, older adults show a symmetrical processing pattern. These age-related changes in neural synchronization may very well underlie the speech perception problems in aging persons. PMID:27378906

  17. Neural co-activation as a yardstick of implicit motor learning and the propensity for conscious control of movement.

    PubMed

    Zhu, F F; Poolton, J M; Wilson, M R; Maxwell, J P; Masters, R S W

    2011-04-01

    Two studies examined EEG co-activation (coherence) between the verbal-analytical (T3) and motor planning (Fz) regions during a golf putting task. In Study 1, participants with a strong propensity to consciously monitor and control their movements, determined psychometrically by high scores on a movement specific Reinvestment Scale, displayed more alpha2 T3-Fz co-activation than participants with a weak propensity. In Study 2, participants who practiced a golf putting task implicitly (via an errorless learning protocol) displayed less alpha2 T3-Fz co-activation than those who practiced explicitly (by errorful learning). In addition, explicit but not implicit motor learners displayed more T3-Fz co-activation during golf putting under pressure, implying that verbal-analytical processing of putting movements increased under pressure. These findings provide neuropsychological evidence that supports claims that implicit motor learning can be used to limit movement specific reinvestment. PMID:21315795

  18. P3b, consciousness, and complex unconscious processing.

    PubMed

    Silverstein, Brian H; Snodgrass, Michael; Shevrin, Howard; Kushwaha, Ramesh

    2015-12-01

    How can perceptual consciousness be indexed in humans? Recent work with ERPs suggests that P3b, a relatively late component, may be a neural correlate of consciousness (NCC). This proposal dovetails with currently prevailing cognitive theory regarding the nature of conscious versus unconscious processes, which holds that the latter are simple and very brief, whereas consciousness is ostensibly required for more durable, complex cognitive processing. Using a P3b oddball paradigm, we instead show that P3b and even later, related slow wave activity occur under rigorously subliminal conditions. Additional principal component analysis (PCA) further differentiated the presence of both P3a and P3b components, demonstrating that the latter indeed occurred subliminally. Collectively, our results suggest that complex, sustained cognitive processing can occur unconsciously and that P3b is not an NCC after all. PMID:26474391

  19. Consciousness, brain, neuroplasticity

    PubMed Central

    Askenasy, Jean; Lehmann, Joseph

    2013-01-01

    Subjectivity, intentionality, self-awareness and will are major components of consciousness in human beings. Changes in consciousness and its content following different brain processes and malfunction have long been studied. Cognitive sciences assume that brain activities have an infrastructure, but there is also evidence that consciousness itself may change this infrastructure. The two-way influence between brain and consciousness has been at the center of philosophy and less so, of science. This so-called bottom-up and top-down interrelationship is controversial and is the subject of our article. We would like to ask: how does it happen that consciousness may provoke structural changes in the brain? The living brain means continuous changes at the synaptic level with every new experience, with every new process of learning, memorizing or mastering new and existing skills. Synapses are generated and dissolved, while others are preserved, in an ever-changing process of so-called neuroplasticity. Ongoing processes of synaptic reinforcements and decay occur during wakefulness when consciousness is present, but also during sleep when it is mostly absent. We suggest that consciousness influences brain neuroplasticity both during wakefulness as well as sleep in a top-down way. This means that consciousness really activates synaptic flow and changes brain structures and functional organization. The dynamic impact of consciousness on brain never stops despite the relative stationary structure of the brain. Such a process can be a target for medical intervention, e.g., by cognitive training. PMID:23847580

  20. Age-Grade Consciousness

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnstone, John W. C.

    1970-01-01

    Studies of generational phenomena have not paid sufficient attention to the distinction between cohort and kinship aspects of generations. Using empirical measures of class consciousness as a model, consciousness of kind based on age is measured and related to theoretically relevant determinants and consequences." (Author)

  1. Interactions between phasic alerting and consciousness in the fronto-striatal network.

    PubMed

    Chica, Ana B; Bayle, Dimitri J; Botta, Fabiano; Bartolomeo, Paolo; Paz-Alonso, Pedro M

    2016-01-01

    Only a small fraction of all the information reaching our senses can be the object of conscious report or voluntary action. Although some models propose that different attentional states (top-down amplification and vigilance) are necessary for conscious perception, few studies have explored how the brain activations associated with different attentional systems (such as top-down orienting and phasic alerting) lead to conscious perception of subsequent visual stimulation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the neural mechanisms associated with endogenous spatial attention and phasic alertness, and their interaction with the conscious perception of near-threshold stimuli. The only region demonstrating a neural interaction between endogenous attention and conscious perception was the thalamus, while a larger network of cortical and subcortical brain activations, typically associated with phasic alerting, was highly correlated with participants' conscious reports. Activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, supplementary motor area, frontal eye fields, thalamus, and caudate nucleus was related to perceptual consciousness. These data suggest that not all attentional systems are equally effective in enhancing conscious perception, highlighting the importance of thalamo-cortical circuits on the interactions between alerting and consciousness. PMID:27555378

  2. Interactions between phasic alerting and consciousness in the fronto-striatal network

    PubMed Central

    Chica, Ana B.; Bayle, Dimitri J.; Botta, Fabiano; Bartolomeo, Paolo; Paz-Alonso, Pedro M.

    2016-01-01

    Only a small fraction of all the information reaching our senses can be the object of conscious report or voluntary action. Although some models propose that different attentional states (top-down amplification and vigilance) are necessary for conscious perception, few studies have explored how the brain activations associated with different attentional systems (such as top-down orienting and phasic alerting) lead to conscious perception of subsequent visual stimulation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the neural mechanisms associated with endogenous spatial attention and phasic alertness, and their interaction with the conscious perception of near-threshold stimuli. The only region demonstrating a neural interaction between endogenous attention and conscious perception was the thalamus, while a larger network of cortical and subcortical brain activations, typically associated with phasic alerting, was highly correlated with participants’ conscious reports. Activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, supplementary motor area, frontal eye fields, thalamus, and caudate nucleus was related to perceptual consciousness. These data suggest that not all attentional systems are equally effective in enhancing conscious perception, highlighting the importance of thalamo-cortical circuits on the interactions between alerting and consciousness. PMID:27555378

  3. Fluctuation-response relation unifies dynamical behaviors in neural fields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fung, C. C. Alan; Wong, K. Y. Michael; Mao, Hongzi; Wu, Si

    2015-08-01

    Anticipation is a strategy used by neural fields to compensate for transmission and processing delays during the tracking of dynamical information and can be achieved by slow, localized, inhibitory feedback mechanisms such as short-term synaptic depression, spike-frequency adaptation, or inhibitory feedback from other layers. Based on the translational symmetry of the mobile network states, we derive generic fluctuation-response relations, providing unified predictions that link their tracking behaviors in the presence of external stimuli to the intrinsic dynamics of the neural fields in their absence.

  4. Fluctuation-response relation unifies dynamical behaviors in neural fields.

    PubMed

    Fung, C C Alan; Wong, K Y Michael; Mao, Hongzi; Wu, Si

    2015-08-01

    Anticipation is a strategy used by neural fields to compensate for transmission and processing delays during the tracking of dynamical information and can be achieved by slow, localized, inhibitory feedback mechanisms such as short-term synaptic depression, spike-frequency adaptation, or inhibitory feedback from other layers. Based on the translational symmetry of the mobile network states, we derive generic fluctuation-response relations, providing unified predictions that link their tracking behaviors in the presence of external stimuli to the intrinsic dynamics of the neural fields in their absence. PMID:26382448

  5. Age-Related Changes in 1/f Neural Electrophysiological Noise

    PubMed Central

    Kramer, Mark A.; Case, John; Lepage, Kyle Q.; Tempesta, Zechari R.; Knight, Robert T.; Gazzaley, Adam

    2015-01-01

    Aging is associated with performance decrements across multiple cognitive domains. The neural noise hypothesis, a dominant view of the basis of this decline, posits that aging is accompanied by an increase in spontaneous, noisy baseline neural activity. Here we analyze data from two different groups of human subjects: intracranial electrocorticography from 15 participants over a 38 year age range (15–53 years) and scalp EEG data from healthy younger (20–30 years) and older (60–70 years) adults to test the neural noise hypothesis from a 1/f noise perspective. Many natural phenomena, including electrophysiology, are characterized by 1/f noise. The defining characteristic of 1/f is that the power of the signal frequency content decreases rapidly as a function of the frequency (f) itself. The slope of this decay, the noise exponent (χ), is often <−1 for electrophysiological data and has been shown to approach white noise (defined as χ = 0) with increasing task difficulty. We observed, in both electrophysiological datasets, that aging is associated with a flatter (more noisy) 1/f power spectral density, even at rest, and that visual cortical 1/f noise statistically mediates age-related impairments in visual working memory. These results provide electrophysiological support for the neural noise hypothesis of aging. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Understanding the neurobiological origins of age-related cognitive decline is of critical scientific, medical, and public health importance, especially considering the rapid aging of the world's population. We find, in two separate human studies, that 1/f electrophysiological noise increases with aging. In addition, we observe that this age-related 1/f noise statistically mediates age-related working memory decline. These results significantly add to this understanding and contextualize a long-standing problem in cognition by encapsulating age-related cognitive decline within a neurocomputational model of 1/f noise

  6. The Neurogenetic Correlates of Consciousness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grandy, John K.

    2013-09-01

    The neurogenetic correlates of consciousness (NgCC) is a new field of consciousness studies that focuses on genes that have an effect on or are involved in the continuum of neuron-based consciousness. A framework of consciousness based on the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) has already been established by Francis Crick and Christof Kock. In this work I propose that there are NgCC underlying the NCC which are both active during the conscious experience. So how are genes involved? There are two significant connections between DNA and neurons that are involved in the conscious experience. First, any brain system can be adversely affected by underlying genetic abnormalities which can be expressed in an individual at birth, in adulthood, or later in life. Second, the DNA molecule does not lay dormant while the neuron runs on autopilot. DNA is active in translating and transcribing RNA and protein products that are utilized during neuron functioning. Without these products being continuously produced by the DNA during a conscious experience the neurons would cease to function correctly and be rendered unable to provide a continuum of human consciousness. Consequently, in addition to NCC, NgCC must be factored in when appreciating a conscious event. In this work I will discuss and explain some NgCC citing several examples.

  7. Consciousness, the brain, and spacetime geometry.

    PubMed

    Hameroff, S

    2001-04-01

    What is consciousness? Conventional approaches see it as an emergent property of complex interactions among individual neurons; however these approaches fail to address enigmatic features of consciousness. Accordingly, some philosophers have contended that "qualia," or an experiential medium from which consciousness is derived, exists as a fundamental component of reality. Whitehead, for example, described the universe as being composed of "occasions of experience." To examine this possibility scientifically, the very nature of physical reality must be re-examined. We must come to terms with the physics of spacetime--as described by Einstein's general theory of relativity, and its relation to the fundamental theory of matter--as described by quantum theory. Roger Penrose has proposed a new physics of objective reduction: "OR," which appeals to a form of quantum gravity to provide a useful description of fundamental processes at the quantum/classical borderline. Within the OR scheme, we consider that consciousness occurs if an appropriately organized system is able to develop and maintain quantum coherent superposition until a specific "objective" criterion (a threshold related to quantum gravity) is reached; the coherent system then self-reduces (objective reduction: OR). We contend that this type of objective self-collapse introduces non-computability, an essential feature of consciousness which distinguishes our minds from classical computers. Each OR is taken as an instantaneous event--the climax of a self-organizing process in fundamental spacetime--and a candidate for a conscious Whitehead "occasion of experience." How could an OR process occur in the brain, be coupled to neural activities, and account for other features of consciousness? We nominate a quantum computational OR process with the requisite characteristics to be occurring in cytoskeletal micro-tubules within the brain's neurons. In this model, quantum-superposed states develop in microtubule

  8. Neural Alterations in Acquired Age-Related Hearing Loss

    PubMed Central

    Mudar, Raksha A.; Husain, Fatima T.

    2016-01-01

    Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions in older adults. Growing evidence suggests that hearing loss is associated with reduced cognitive functioning and incident dementia. In this mini-review, we briefly examine literature on anatomical and functional alterations in the brains of adults with acquired age-associated hearing loss, which may underlie the cognitive consequences observed in this population, focusing on studies that have used structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, and event-related electroencephalography. We discuss structural and functional alterations observed in the temporal and frontal cortices and the limbic system. These neural alterations are discussed in the context of common cause, information-degradation, and sensory-deprivation hypotheses, and we suggest possible rehabilitation strategies. Although, we are beginning to learn more about changes in neural architecture and functionality related to age-associated hearing loss, much work remains to be done. Understanding the neural alterations will provide objective markers for early identification of neural consequences of age-associated hearing loss and for evaluating benefits of intervention approaches. PMID:27313556

  9. Non-conscious visual cues related to affect and action alter perception of effort and endurance performance

    PubMed Central

    Blanchfield, Anthony; Hardy, James; Marcora, Samuele

    2014-01-01

    The psychobiological model of endurance performance proposes that endurance performance is determined by a decision-making process based on perception of effort and potential motivation. Recent research has reported that effort-based decision-making during cognitive tasks can be altered by non-conscious visual cues relating to affect and action. The effects of these non-conscious visual cues on effort and performance during physical tasks are however unknown. We report two experiments investigating the effects of subliminal priming with visual cues related to affect and action on perception of effort and endurance performance. In Experiment 1 thirteen individuals were subliminally primed with happy or sad faces as they cycled to exhaustion in a counterbalanced and randomized crossover design. A paired t-test (happy vs. sad faces) revealed that individuals cycled significantly longer (178 s, p = 0.04) when subliminally primed with happy faces. A 2 × 5 (condition × iso-time) ANOVA also revealed a significant main effect of condition on rating of perceived exertion (RPE) during the time to exhaustion (TTE) test with lower RPE when subjects were subliminally primed with happy faces (p = 0.04). In Experiment 2, a single-subject randomization tests design found that subliminal priming with action words facilitated a significantly longer TTE (399 s, p = 0.04) in comparison to inaction words. Like Experiment 1, this greater TTE was accompanied by a significantly lower RPE (p = 0.03). These experiments are the first to show that subliminal visual cues relating to affect and action can alter perception of effort and endurance performance. Non-conscious visual cues may therefore influence the effort-based decision-making process that is proposed to determine endurance performance. Accordingly, the findings raise notable implications for individuals who may encounter such visual cues during endurance competitions, training, or health related exercise. PMID:25566014

  10. Job satisfaction in relation to energy resource consciousness and perceptions of energy utilization in selected Illinois manufacturing firms

    SciTech Connect

    Haynes, T.S.

    1986-01-01

    This study was developed through a synthesis and review of literature and research related to the current status of job satisfaction, energy resources, and perceptions of how energy is utilized in the manufacturing work environment. This synthesis and review revolved around several proven contributing factors of job satisfaction, such as age, education, and challenge from work itself. Quality of work life programs and their components are discussed in relation to their impact on job satisfaction. The nature of energy resource utilization is traced back through history with an emphasis on the limitations of current resources and options for the future. The review highlights the current debate over what should be the future path of energy resource development. The concept of satisfaction of human needs is reviewed and related to job satisfaction and energy resources. The purpose of this research study was to contribute to the understanding of how perceptions of energy resources relate to job satisfaction. Results of the study indicated that there were no significant differences between an individual's energy resource consciousness and perceptions of energy utilization in the work place, energy resource consciousness and job satisfaction, and job satisfaction and perceptions of energy utilization in the workplace.

  11. Single units and conscious vision.

    PubMed Central

    Logothetis, N K

    1998-01-01

    Figures that can be seen in more than one way are invaluable tools for the study of the neural basis of visual awareness, because such stimuli permit the dissociation of the neural responses that underlie what we perceive at any given time from those forming the sensory representation of a visual pattern. To study the former type of responses, monkeys were subjected to binocular rivalry, and the response of neurons in a number of different visual areas was studied while the animals reported their alternating percepts by pulling levers. Perception-related modulations of neural activity were found to occur to different extents in different cortical visual areas. The cells that were affected by suppression were almost exclusively binocular, and their proportion was found to increase in the higher processing stages of the visual system. The strongest correlations between neural activity and perception were observed in the visual areas of the temporal lobe. A strikingly large number of neurons in the early visual areas remained active during the perceptual suppression of the stimulus, a finding suggesting that conscious visual perception might be mediated by only a subset of the cells exhibiting stimulus selective responses. These physiological findings, together with a number of recent psychophysical studies, offer a new explanation of the phenomenon of binocular rivalry. Indeed, rivalry has long been considered to be closely linked with binocular fusion and stereopsis, and the sequences of dominance and suppression have been viewed as the result of competition between the two monocular channels. The physiological data presented here are incompatible with this interpretation. Rather than reflecting interocular competition, the rivalry is most probably between the two different central neural representations generated by the dichoptically presented stimuli. The mechanisms of rivalry are probably the same as, or very similar to, those underlying multistable perception in

  12. Stroke and Disorders of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Dostović, Zikrija; Smajlović, Dževdet; Dostović, Ernestina; Ibrahimagić, Omer Ć.

    2012-01-01

    Objectives. To determine the severity of stroke and mortality in relation to the type of disturbance of consciousness and outcome of patients with disorders of consciousness. Patients and Methods. We retrospectively analyzed 201 patients. Assessment of disorders of consciousness is performed by Glasgow Coma Scale (Teasdale and Jennet, 1974) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Anonymous, 2000). The severity of stroke was determined by National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (Lyden et al., 2011). Results. Fifty-four patients had disorders of consciousness (26.9%). Patients with disorders of consciousness on admission (P < 0.001) and discharge (P = 0.003) had a more severe stroke than patients without disturbances of consciousness. Mortality was significantly higher in patients with disorders of consciousness (P = 0.0001), and there was no difference in mortality in relation to the type of disturbance of consciousness. There is no statistically significant effect of specific predictors of survival in patients with disorders of consciousness. Conclusion. Patients with disorders of consciousness have a more severe stroke and higher mortality. There is no difference in mortality and severity of stroke between patients with quantitative and qualitative disorders of consciousness. There is no statistically significant effect of specific predictors of survival in patients with disorders of consciousness. PMID:22973503

  13. Stroke and disorders of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Dostović, Zikrija; Smajlović, Dževdet; Dostović, Ernestina; Ibrahimagić, Omer Ć

    2012-01-01

    Objectives. To determine the severity of stroke and mortality in relation to the type of disturbance of consciousness and outcome of patients with disorders of consciousness. Patients and Methods. We retrospectively analyzed 201 patients. Assessment of disorders of consciousness is performed by Glasgow Coma Scale (Teasdale and Jennet, 1974) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Anonymous, 2000). The severity of stroke was determined by National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (Lyden et al., 2011). Results. Fifty-four patients had disorders of consciousness (26.9%). Patients with disorders of consciousness on admission (P < 0.001) and discharge (P = 0.003) had a more severe stroke than patients without disturbances of consciousness. Mortality was significantly higher in patients with disorders of consciousness (P = 0.0001), and there was no difference in mortality in relation to the type of disturbance of consciousness. There is no statistically significant effect of specific predictors of survival in patients with disorders of consciousness. Conclusion. Patients with disorders of consciousness have a more severe stroke and higher mortality. There is no difference in mortality and severity of stroke between patients with quantitative and qualitative disorders of consciousness. There is no statistically significant effect of specific predictors of survival in patients with disorders of consciousness. PMID:22973503

  14. Vegetative versus Minimally Conscious States: A Study Using TMS-EEG, Sensory and Event-Related Potentials

    PubMed Central

    Ragazzoni, Aldo; Pirulli, Cornelia; Veniero, Domenica; Feurra, Matteo; Cincotta, Massimo; Giovannelli, Fabio; Chiaramonti, Roberta; Lino, Mario; Rossi, Simone; Miniussi, Carlo

    2013-01-01

    Differential diagnoses between vegetative and minimally conscious states (VS and MCS, respectively) are frequently incorrect. Hence, further research is necessary to improve the diagnostic accuracy at the bedside. The main neuropathological feature of VS is the diffuse damage of cortical and subcortical connections. Starting with this premise, we used electroencephalography (EEG) recordings to evaluate the cortical reactivity and effective connectivity during transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in chronic VS or MCS patients. Moreover, the TMS-EEG data were compared with the results from standard somatosensory-evoked potentials (SEPs) and event-related potentials (ERPs). Thirteen patients with chronic consciousness disorders were examined at their bedsides. A group of healthy volunteers served as the control group. The amplitudes (reactivity) and scalp distributions (connectivity) of the cortical potentials evoked by TMS (TEPs) of the primary motor cortex were measured. Short-latency median nerve SEPs and auditory ERPs were also recorded. Reproducible TEPs were present in all control subjects in both the ipsilateral and the contralateral hemispheres relative to the site of the TMS. The amplitudes of the ipsilateral and contralateral TEPs were reduced in four of the five MCS patients, and the TEPs were bilaterally absent in one MCS patient. Among the VS patients, five did not manifest ipsilateral or contralateral TEPs, and three of the patients exhibited only ipsilateral TEPs with reduced amplitudes. The SEPs were altered in five VS and two MCS patients but did not correlate with the clinical diagnosis. The ERPs were impaired in all patients and did not correlate with the clinical diagnosis. These TEP results suggest that cortical reactivity and connectivity are severely impaired in all VS patients, whereas in most MCS patients, the TEPs are preserved but with abnormal features. Therefore, TEPs may add valuable information to the current clinical and

  15. Vegetative versus minimally conscious states: a study using TMS-EEG, sensory and event-related potentials.

    PubMed

    Ragazzoni, Aldo; Pirulli, Cornelia; Veniero, Domenica; Feurra, Matteo; Cincotta, Massimo; Giovannelli, Fabio; Chiaramonti, Roberta; Lino, Mario; Rossi, Simone; Miniussi, Carlo

    2013-01-01

    Differential diagnoses between vegetative and minimally conscious states (VS and MCS, respectively) are frequently incorrect. Hence, further research is necessary to improve the diagnostic accuracy at the bedside. The main neuropathological feature of VS is the diffuse damage of cortical and subcortical connections. Starting with this premise, we used electroencephalography (EEG) recordings to evaluate the cortical reactivity and effective connectivity during transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in chronic VS or MCS patients. Moreover, the TMS-EEG data were compared with the results from standard somatosensory-evoked potentials (SEPs) and event-related potentials (ERPs). Thirteen patients with chronic consciousness disorders were examined at their bedsides. A group of healthy volunteers served as the control group. The amplitudes (reactivity) and scalp distributions (connectivity) of the cortical potentials evoked by TMS (TEPs) of the primary motor cortex were measured. Short-latency median nerve SEPs and auditory ERPs were also recorded. Reproducible TEPs were present in all control subjects in both the ipsilateral and the contralateral hemispheres relative to the site of the TMS. The amplitudes of the ipsilateral and contralateral TEPs were reduced in four of the five MCS patients, and the TEPs were bilaterally absent in one MCS patient. Among the VS patients, five did not manifest ipsilateral or contralateral TEPs, and three of the patients exhibited only ipsilateral TEPs with reduced amplitudes. The SEPs were altered in five VS and two MCS patients but did not correlate with the clinical diagnosis. The ERPs were impaired in all patients and did not correlate with the clinical diagnosis. These TEP results suggest that cortical reactivity and connectivity are severely impaired in all VS patients, whereas in most MCS patients, the TEPs are preserved but with abnormal features. Therefore, TEPs may add valuable information to the current clinical and

  16. Impact of Emotion on Consciousness: Positive Stimuli Enhance Conscious Reportability

    PubMed Central

    Rømer Thomsen, Kristine; Lou, Hans C.; Joensson, Morten; Hyam, Jonathan A.; Holland, Peter; Parsons, Christine E.; Young, Katherine S.; Møller, Arne; Stein, Alan; Green, Alex L.; Kringelbach, Morten L.; Aziz, Tipu Z.

    2011-01-01

    Emotion and reward have been proposed to be closely linked to conscious experience, but empirical data are lacking. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) plays a central role in the hedonic dimension of conscious experience; thus potentially a key region in interactions between emotion and consciousness. Here we tested the impact of emotion on conscious experience, and directly investigated the role of the ACC. We used a masked paradigm that measures conscious reportability in terms of subjective confidence and objective accuracy in identifying the briefly presented stimulus in a forced-choice test. By manipulating the emotional valence (positive, neutral, negative) and the presentation time (16 ms, 32 ms, 80 ms) we measured the impact of these variables on conscious and subliminal (i.e. below threshold) processing. First, we tested normal participants using face and word stimuli. Results showed that participants were more confident and accurate when consciously seeing happy versus sad/neutral faces and words. When stimuli were presented subliminally, we found no effect of emotion. To investigate the neural basis of this impact of emotion, we recorded local field potentials (LFPs) directly in the ACC in a chronic pain patient. Behavioural findings were replicated: the patient was more confident and accurate when (consciously) seeing happy versus sad faces, while no effect was seen in subliminal trials. Mirroring behavioural findings, we found significant differences in the LFPs after around 500 ms (lasting 30 ms) in conscious trials between happy and sad faces, while no effect was found in subliminal trials. We thus demonstrate a striking impact of emotion on conscious experience, with positive emotional stimuli enhancing conscious reportability. In line with previous studies, the data indicate a key role of the ACC, but goes beyond earlier work by providing the first direct evidence of interaction between emotion and conscious experience in the human ACC. PMID

  17. Dynamic Neural Processing of Linguistic Cues Related to Death

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Yina; Qin, Jungang; Han, Shihui

    2013-01-01

    Behavioral studies suggest that humans evolve the capacity to cope with anxiety induced by the awareness of death’s inevitability. However, the neurocognitive processes that underlie online death-related thoughts remain unclear. Our recent functional MRI study found that the processing of linguistic cues related to death was characterized by decreased neural activity in human insular cortex. The current study further investigated the time course of neural processing of death-related linguistic cues. We recorded event-related potentials (ERP) to death-related, life-related, negative-valence, and neutral-valence words in a modified Stroop task that required color naming of words. We found that the amplitude of an early frontal/central negativity at 84–120 ms (N1) decreased to death-related words but increased to life-related words relative to neutral-valence words. The N1 effect associated with death-related and life-related words was correlated respectively with individuals’ pessimistic and optimistic attitudes toward life. Death-related words also increased the amplitude of a frontal/central positivity at 124–300 ms (P2) and of a frontal/central positivity at 300–500 ms (P3). However, the P2 and P3 modulations were observed for both death-related and negative-valence words but not for life-related words. The ERP results suggest an early inverse coding of linguistic cues related to life and death, which is followed by negative emotional responses to death-related information. PMID:23840787

  18. Interpersonal liking modulates motor-related neural regions.

    PubMed

    Sobhani, Mona; Fox, Glenn R; Kaplan, Jonas; Aziz-Zadeh, Lisa

    2012-01-01

    Observing someone perform an action engages brain regions involved in motor planning, such as the inferior frontal, premotor, and inferior parietal cortices. Recent research suggests that during action observation, activity in these neural regions can be modulated by membership in an ethnic group defined by physical differences. In this study we expanded upon previous research by matching physical similarity of two different social groups and investigating whether likability of an outgroup member modulates activity in neural regions involved in action observation. Seventeen Jewish subjects were familiarized with biographies of eight individuals, half of the individuals belonged to Neo-Nazi groups (dislikable) and half of which did not (likable). All subjects and actors in the stimuli were Caucasian and physically similar. The subjects then viewed videos of actors portraying the characters performing simple motor actions (e.g. grasping a water bottle and raising it to the lips), while undergoing fMRI. Using multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA), we found that a classifier trained on brain activation patterns successfully discriminated between the likable and dislikable action observation conditions within the right ventral premotor cortex. These data indicate that the spatial pattern of activity in action observation related neural regions is modulated by likability even when watching a simple action such as reaching for a cup. These findings lend further support for the notion that social factors such as interpersonal liking modulate perceptual processing in motor-related cortices. PMID:23071644

  19. An information integration theory of consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Tononi, Giulio

    2004-01-01

    shown here, these include the association of consciousness with certain neural systems rather than with others; the fact that neural processes underlying consciousness can influence or be influenced by neural processes that remain unconscious; the reduction of consciousness during dreamless sleep and generalized seizures; and the time requirements on neural interactions that support consciousness. Implications of the hypothesis The theory entails that consciousness is a fundamental quantity, that it is graded, that it is present in infants and animals, and that it should be possible to build conscious artifacts. PMID:15522121

  20. Consciousness in dreams.

    PubMed

    Kahn, David; Gover, Tzivia

    2010-01-01

    This chapter argues that dreaming is an important state of consciousness and that it has many features that complement consciousness in the wake state. The chapter discusses consciousness in dreams and how it comes about. It discusses the changes that occur in the neuromodulatory environment and in the neuronal connectivity of the brain as we fall asleep and begin our night journeys. Dreams evolve from internal sources though the dream may look different than any one of these since something entirely new may emerge through self-organizing processes. The chapter also explores characteristics of dreaming consciousness such as acceptance of implausibility and how that might lead to creative insight. Examples of studies, which have shown creativity in dream sleep, are provided to illustrate important characteristics of dreaming consciousness. The chapter also discusses the dream body and how it relates to our consciousness while dreaming. Differences and similarities between wake, lucid, non-lucid and day dreaming are explored and the chapter concludes with a discussion on what we can learn from each of these expressions of consciousness. PMID:20870068

  1. Harnessing anesthesia and brain imaging for the study of human consciousness.

    PubMed

    Långsjo, Jaakko W; Revonsuo, Antti; Scheinin, Harry

    2014-01-01

    Philosophers have been trying to solve the mind-body problem for hundreds of years. Consciousness is the core of this problem: How do subjective conscious sensations, perceptions, feelings, and thoughts arise out of objective physical brain activities? How is this subjective conscious world in causal interaction with the objective sensory and motor mechanisms of the brain and the body? Although we witness the seamless interaction of the mental and the physical worlds in our everyday lives, no scientific theory can yet fully describe or explain it. The hard problem of consciousness, the question why and how any brain activity should be accompanied by any subjective experiences at all, remains a mystery and a challenge for modern science. Anesthesia offers a unique and safe way to directly manipulate the state of consciousness and can, thus, be used as a tool in consciousness research. With neuroimaging, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) performed at different states of consciousness, it is possible to visualize the state-related changes and pinpoint the brain structures or neural mechanisms related to changes in consciousness. With these tools, neurosciences now show promise in disentangling the eternal enigma of human consciousness. In this article, we will review the recent advancements in the field. PMID:24025060

  2. Passive microwave relative humidity retrievals using feedforward neural networks

    SciTech Connect

    Cabrera-Mercader, C.R.; Staelin, D.H.

    1995-11-01

    A technique for retrieving atmospheric humidity profiles using passive microwave spectral observations from satellite and Multilayer Feedforward Neural Networks (MFNN) is introduced in this paper. Relative humidity retrievals on a global scale from simulated radiances at fifteen frequencies between 23.8 and 183.3 GHz yielded rms errors in relative humidity of 6--14% over ocean and 6--15% over land at pressure levels ranging from 131 mbar to 1,013 mbar. Comparison with a combined statistical and physical iterative retrieval scheme shows that superior retrievals can be obtained at a lower computational cost using MFNN.

  3. Trauma-Related Altered States of Consciousness (TRASC) and Functional Impairment I: Prospective Study in Acutely Traumatized Persons.

    PubMed

    Frewen, Paul; Hegadoren, Kathy; Coupland, Nick J; Rowe, Brian H; Neufeld, Richard W J; Lanius, Ruth

    2015-01-01

    A theoretical framework referred to as a 4-D model has been described for classifying posttraumatic stress symptoms into those potentially occurring within normal waking consciousness (NWC) versus those thought to intrinsically exemplify dissociative experiences, specifically, trauma-related altered states of consciousness (TRASC). As a further test of this theoretical distinction, this prospective study evaluated whether TRASC and NWC forms of distress incrementally and prospectively predicted functional impairment at 6 and 12 weeks following presentation at hospital emergency departments in the acute aftermath of traumatic events in 180 persons. Establishing the clinical significance of both TRASC and NWC-distress symptoms, we found that 6-week markers of TRASC and NWC-distress independently predicted 12-week self-reported levels of social and occupational impairment. We also observed broad support for various predictions of the 4-D model except that, in contrast with hypotheses, childhood trauma history was generally more strongly correlated with symptoms of NWC-distress than with TRASC. Future research directions are discussed. PMID:26378486

  4. Reversal of age-related neural timing delays with training.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Samira; White-Schwoch, Travis; Parbery-Clark, Alexandra; Kraus, Nina

    2013-03-12

    Neural slowing is commonly noted in older adults, with consequences for sensory, motor, and cognitive domains. One of the deleterious effects of neural slowing is impairment of temporal resolution; older adults, therefore, have reduced ability to process the rapid events that characterize speech, especially in noisy environments. Although hearing aids provide increased audibility, they cannot compensate for deficits in auditory temporal processing. Auditory training may provide a strategy to address these deficits. To that end, we evaluated the effects of auditory-based cognitive training on the temporal precision of subcortical processing of speech in noise. After training, older adults exhibited faster neural timing and experienced gains in memory, speed of processing, and speech-in-noise perception, whereas a matched control group showed no changes. Training was also associated with decreased variability of brainstem response peaks, suggesting a decrease in temporal jitter in response to a speech signal. These results demonstrate that auditory-based cognitive training can partially restore age-related deficits in temporal processing in the brain; this plasticity in turn promotes better cognitive and perceptual skills. PMID:23401541

  5. Reversal of age-related neural timing delays with training

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, Samira; White-Schwoch, Travis; Parbery-Clark, Alexandra; Kraus, Nina

    2013-01-01

    Neural slowing is commonly noted in older adults, with consequences for sensory, motor, and cognitive domains. One of the deleterious effects of neural slowing is impairment of temporal resolution; older adults, therefore, have reduced ability to process the rapid events that characterize speech, especially in noisy environments. Although hearing aids provide increased audibility, they cannot compensate for deficits in auditory temporal processing. Auditory training may provide a strategy to address these deficits. To that end, we evaluated the effects of auditory-based cognitive training on the temporal precision of subcortical processing of speech in noise. After training, older adults exhibited faster neural timing and experienced gains in memory, speed of processing, and speech-in-noise perception, whereas a matched control group showed no changes. Training was also associated with decreased variability of brainstem response peaks, suggesting a decrease in temporal jitter in response to a speech signal. These results demonstrate that auditory-based cognitive training can partially restore age-related deficits in temporal processing in the brain; this plasticity in turn promotes better cognitive and perceptual skills. PMID:23401541

  6. Neural Basis of Visual Distraction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kim, So-Yeon; Hopfinger, Joseph B.

    2010-01-01

    The ability to maintain focus and avoid distraction by goal-irrelevant stimuli is critical for performing many tasks and may be a key deficit in attention-related problems. Recent studies have demonstrated that irrelevant stimuli that are consciously perceived may be filtered out on a neural level and not cause the distraction triggered by…

  7. ["Osteo-neural" related factors - bridge over bone homeostasis].

    PubMed

    Sato, Tsuyoshi

    2016-08-01

    Bone tissues including bone marrow are comprised of various cells. A growing body of evidence suggests that nerve cells which exist in and around bone such as periosteal and bone marrow build a close relationship with bone cells. Namely, it was revealed that central nervous system governs bone tissues via peripheral nervous system and neurotransmitters or cytokines play a role for the communication between bone and nerve in the last decade. In this paper, I would like to review "osteo-neural" related factors which has been well-documented so far. PMID:27461495

  8. Fairness influences early signatures of reward-related neural processing.

    PubMed

    Massi, Bart; Luhmann, Christian C

    2015-12-01

    Many humans exhibit a strong preference for fairness during decision-making. Although there is evidence that social factors influence reward-related and affective neural processing, it is unclear if this effect is mediated by compulsory outcome evaluation processes or results from slower deliberate cognition. Here we show that the feedback-related negativity (FRN) and late positive potential (LPP), two signatures of early hedonic processing, are modulated by the fairness of rewards during a passive rating task. We find that unfair payouts elicit larger FRNs than fair payouts, whereas fair payouts elicit larger LPPs than unfair payouts. This is true both in the time-domain, where the FRN and LPP are related, and in the time-frequency domain, where the two signals are largely independent. Ultimately, this work demonstrates that fairness affects the early stages of reward and affective processing, suggesting a common biological mechanism for social and personal reward evaluation. PMID:25962511

  9. Reward-related neural responses are dependent on the beneficiary.

    PubMed

    Braams, Barbara R; Güroğlu, Berna; de Water, Erik; Meuwese, Rosa; Koolschijn, P Cédric; Peper, Jiska S; Crone, Eveline A

    2014-07-01

    Prior studies have suggested that positive social interactions are experienced as rewarding. Yet, it is not well understood how social relationships influence neural responses to other persons' gains. In this study, we investigated neural responses during a gambling task in which healthy participants (N = 31; 18 females) could win or lose money for themselves, their best friend or a disliked other (antagonist). At the moment of receiving outcome, person-related activity was observed in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), precuneus and temporal parietal junction (TPJ), showing higher activity for friends and antagonists than for self, and this activity was independent of outcome. The only region showing an interaction between the person-participants played for and outcome was the ventral striatum. Specifically, the striatum was more active following gains than losses for self and friends, whereas for the antagonist this pattern was reversed. Together, these results show that, in a context with social and reward information, social aspects are processed in brain regions associated with social cognition (mPFC, TPJ), and reward aspects are processed in primary reward areas (striatum). Furthermore, there is an interaction of social and reward information in the striatum, such that reward-related activity was dependent on social relationship. PMID:23720575

  10. The Use of Life History Collage to Explore Learning Related to the Enactment of Social Consciousness in Female Nonprofit Leaders

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seymour, Susan R.

    2012-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to consider the development of social consciousness in female nonprofit leaders. The problem undergirding the study is that we do not know enough about social consciousness to know how it is learned, if it can be taught, if it is stable over a lifetime, and what factors and life events shape its unique expression. A…

  11. Evolving Complexity, Cognition, and Consciousness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liljenström, H.

    2012-12-01

    All through the history of the universe there is an apparent tendency for increasing complexity, with the organization of matter in evermore elaborate and interactive systems. The living world in general, and the human brain in particular, provides the highest complexity known. It seems obvious that all of this complexity must be the result of physical, chemical and biological evolution, but it was only with Darwin that we began to get a scientific understanding of biological evolution. Darwinian principles are guiding in our understanding of such complex systems as the nervous system, but also for the evolution of human society and technology. Living organisms have to survive in a complex and changing environment. This implies response and adaption to environmental events and changes at several time scales. The interaction with the environment depends on the present state of the organism, as well as on previous experiences stored in its molecular and cellular structures. At a longer time scale, organisms can adapt to slow environmental changes, by storing information in the genetic material carried over from generation to generation. This phylogenetic learning is complemented by ontogenetic learning, which is adaptation at a shorter time scale, occuring in non-genetic structures. The evolution of a nervous system is a major transition in biological evolution and allows for an increasing capacity for information storage and processing, increasing chances of survival. Such neural knowledge processing, cognition, shows the same principal features as nonneural adaptive processes. Similarly, consciousness might appear, to different degrees, at different stages in evolution. Both cognition and consciousness depends critically on the organization and complexity of the organism. In this presentation, I will briefly discuss general principles for evolution of complexity, focussing on the evolution of the nervous system, which provides organisms with ever increasing

  12. The Neural Consequences of Age-Related Hearing Loss.

    PubMed

    Peelle, Jonathan E; Wingfield, Arthur

    2016-07-01

    During hearing, acoustic signals travel up the ascending auditory pathway from the cochlea to auditory cortex; efferent connections provide descending feedback. In human listeners, although auditory and cognitive processing have sometimes been viewed as separate domains, a growing body of work suggests they are intimately coupled. Here, we review the effects of hearing loss on neural systems supporting spoken language comprehension, beginning with age-related physiological decline. We suggest that listeners recruit domain general executive systems to maintain successful communication when the auditory signal is degraded, but that this compensatory processing has behavioral consequences: even relatively mild levels of hearing loss can lead to cascading cognitive effects that impact perception, comprehension, and memory, leading to increased listening effort during speech comprehension. PMID:27262177

  13. Pharmacological modulation of the state of awareness in patients with disorders of consciousness: an overview.

    PubMed

    Mura, Elisa; Pistoia, Francesca; Sara, Marco; Sacco, Simona; Carolei, Antonio; Govoni, Stefano

    2014-01-01

    The neurobiological approach to consciousness moves from the assumption that all phenomenal experiences are based on neuronal activity in the brain. Consciousness has two main components: wakefulness and awareness. While it may be relatively easy to determine the neuronal correlates of wakefulness, it is not the same for awareness, of which the neural correlates are poorly understood. Knowledge of the circuitry and the neurochemistry of the sleep/wake condition is necessary but not sufficient to understand the circuitry and neurochemistry of consciousness. Disorders of consciousness (DOCs) include coma, vegetative state and minimally conscious state. The study of DOCs and of the electrophysiological changes underlying general anaesthesia-induced loss of consciousness may help in understanding the neuronal correlates of consciousness. In turn, the understanding of the neural bases of consciousness may help in designing interventions aimed at restoring consciousness in DOC patients. Sporadic cases of recovery from a DOC have been reported after the administration of various pharmacological agents (baclofen, zolpidem, amantadine etc.). This review provides an overview of such drugs, which are from various and diverging classes but can be grouped into two main categories: CNS stimulants and CNS depressants. The available data seem to suggest an awakening effect obtained with CNS depressants rather than stimulants, the latter being more effective at improving functional cognitive and behavioral recovery in patients who have spontaneously regained an appreciable level of consciousness. There is a need for more rigorous systematic trials and further investigation of the above treatments, with particular attention paid to their mechanisms of action and the neurotransmitters involved. PMID:24025054

  14. ELT and Consciousness-Raising

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Al-Jardani, Khalid Salim Saif

    2012-01-01

    The paper highlights the concept of consciousness-raising. It relates it to different aspects of ELT such as explicit teaching, language awareness, language acquisition and practice. How these terms are related to the concept of consciousness-raising within the English Language teaching. Its main aim is to help learners to notice for themselves…

  15. Consciousness as a state of matter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tegmark, Max

    2015-07-01

    I examine the hypothesis that consciousness can be understood as a state of matter, "perceptronium", with distinctive information processing abilities. I explore five basic principles that may distinguish conscious matter from other physical systems such as solids, liquids and gases: the information, integration, independence, dynamics and utility principles. This approach generalizes Giulio Tononi's integrated information framework for neural-network-based consciousness to arbitrary quantum systems, and provides interesting links to error-correcting codes and condensed matter criticality, as well as an interesting connections between the emergence of consciousness and the emergence of time. (For more technical details, see arXiv:1401.1219).

  16. Unconscious high-level information processing: implication for neurobiological theories of consciousness.

    PubMed

    van Gaal, Simon; Lamme, Victor A F

    2012-06-01

    Theories about the neural correlates and functional relevance of consciousness have traditionally assigned a crucial role to the prefrontal cortex in generating consciousness as well as in orchestrating high-level conscious control over behavior. However, recent neuroscientific findings show that prefrontal cortex can be activated unconsciously. The depth, direction, and scope of these activations depend on several top-down factors such as the task being probed (task-set, strategy) and on (temporal/spatial) attention. Regardless, such activations-when mediated by feedforward activation only-do not lead to a conscious sensation. Although unconscious, these prefrontal activations are functional, in the sense that they are associated with behavioral effects of cognitive control, such as response inhibition, task switching, conflict monitoring, and error detection. These findings challenge the pivotal role of the prefrontal cortex in consciousness. Instead, it appears that specific brain areas (or cognitive modules) may support specific cognitive functions but that consciousness is independent of this. Conscious sensations arise only when the brain areas involved engage in recurrent interactions enabling the long-lasting exchange of information between brain regions. Moreover, recent evidence suggests that also the state of consciousness, for example, in vegetative state patients or during sleep and anesthesia, is closely related to the scope and extent of residual recurrent interactions among brain regions. PMID:21628675

  17. New evidence of animal consciousness.

    PubMed

    Griffin, Donald R; Speck, Gayle B

    2004-01-01

    This paper reviews evidence that increases the probability that many animals experience at least simple levels of consciousness. First, the search for neural correlates of consciousness has not found any consciousness-producing structure or process that is limited to human brains. Second, appropriate responses to novel challenges for which the animal has not been prepared by genetic programming or previous experience provide suggestive evidence of animal consciousness because such versatility is most effectively organized by conscious thinking. For example, certain types of classical conditioning require awareness of the learned contingency in human subjects, suggesting comparable awareness in similarly conditioned animals. Other significant examples of versatile behavior suggestive of conscious thinking are scrub jays that exhibit all the objective attributes of episodic memory, evidence that monkeys sometimes know what they know, creative tool-making by crows, and recent interpretation of goal-directed behavior of rats as requiring simple nonreflexive consciousness. Third, animal communication often reports subjective experiences. Apes have demonstrated increased ability to use gestures or keyboard symbols to make requests and answer questions; and parrots have refined their ability to use the imitation of human words to ask for things they want and answer moderately complex questions. New data have demonstrated increased flexibility in the gestural communication of swarming honey bees that leads to vitally important group decisions as to which cavity a swarm should select as its new home. Although no single piece of evidence provides absolute proof of consciousness, this accumulation of strongly suggestive evidence increases significantly the likelihood that some animals experience at least simple conscious thoughts and feelings. The next challenge for cognitive ethologists is to investigate for particular animals the content of their awareness and what life is

  18. Consciousness Lost and Found: Subjective Experiences in an Unresponsive State

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Noreika, Valdas; Jylhankangas, Leila; Moro, Levente; Valli, Katja; Kaskinoro, Kimmo; Aantaa, Riku; Scheinin, Harry; Revonsuo, Antti

    2011-01-01

    Anesthetic-induced changes in the neural activity of the brain have been recently utilized as a research model to investigate the neural mechanisms of phenomenal consciousness. However, the anesthesiologic definition of consciousness as "responsiveness to the environment" seems to sidestep the possibility that an unresponsive individual may have…

  19. General and specific consciousness: a first-order representationalist approach

    PubMed Central

    Mehta, Neil; Mashour, George A.

    2013-01-01

    It is widely acknowledged that a complete theory of consciousness should explain general consciousness (what makes a state conscious at all) and specific consciousness (what gives a conscious state its particular phenomenal quality). We defend first-order representationalism, which argues that consciousness consists of sensory representations directly available to the subject for action selection, belief formation, planning, etc. We provide a neuroscientific framework for this primarily philosophical theory, according to which neural correlates of general consciousness include prefrontal cortex, posterior parietal cortex, and non-specific thalamic nuclei, while neural correlates of specific consciousness include sensory cortex and specific thalamic nuclei. We suggest that recent data support first-order representationalism over biological theory, higher-order representationalism, recurrent processing theory, information integration theory, and global workspace theory. PMID:23882231

  20. Environmentally conscious patent histories

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crouch, Dennis D.; Crouch, Henry L.

    2004-02-01

    There is a need for investigators, legislators, and business leaders to understand the magnitude of innovation and discovery in the field of environmentally conscious technologies (ECTs). Knowledge of the "big picture" is important to providing a national and global account of actual environmental stewardship over the last twenty-five years. A recitation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supported Acts which have been enacted into law reveals one facet of the multifaceted dynamic of environmental consciousness. The popular discussion and debate, as well as partisan lobbying, which created the political forces leading to environmentally conscious legislation is another facet. A third facet is the corporate response to the threats and opportunities predicted by CEO"s and others through environmental scanning. This paper examines changes in environmentally conscious inventive effort by comparing data from United States Patents issued from 1976 through 2003. Patents are useful tool for measuring technological innovation because they are publicly available records of innovative activity. Although not all inventions result in patent applications, the monopoly rights granted on the invention give the inventor a strong incentive to obtain patents on any viable product or process. Among the results, we found a significant increase in patents relating to environmentally conscious products and processes during the period in question. Specifically, a dramatic increase in patent activity was seen for the decade of the 1990"s. Surprisingly, the patenting rate from 2000 to 2003 seems to have stabilized. Additionally public discussion of ECTs appears to have a positive impact on patent filings.

  1. Neuronal function is necessary but not sufficient for consciousness: consciousness is necessary for will.

    PubMed

    Nussbaum, David; Ibrahim, Khadija

    2012-01-01

    Behavioral neuroscience has presented philosophers with the task of clarifying the relationship between neural determinism and free will. If neural functions encode information and govern decision-making, are the constructs of will, agency and indeed morality illusions of pre-scientific ignorance? This article will argue that neuronal function is necessary for representing distinct sensory-perceptual, cognitive, motivational, emotional states, and motor functions. However, neural transmission and action potentials are simply chemical-physical representations of these informational states but are not the embodiment of consciousness itself. By some yet undiscovered mechanism, consciousness "reads" the neuronal events into conscious experience. Absent a particular specialized brain region or sufficient relevant transmitters and receptors, relevant information cannot be processed and the individual cannot be conscious of that informational state. In natural and many artificial communication systems, communications proceed bi-directionally. By an argument of symmetry, if neuronal activity can communicate with consciousness, there is no reason to preclude consciousness from communicating back and influencing neuronal function. In the intervening conscious moment, information from diverse perceptual, motivational, cognitive, and emotional sources is weighted and will results. This process then biases resultant neural processes to actualize the willed target. This approach is limited in terms of operationalization into an experimental study because at present, there is no method to measure consciousness-independent of neuronal function and subjective report. PMID:23181011

  2. Maintenance of non-consciously presented information engages the prefrontal cortex

    PubMed Central

    Bergström, Fredrik; Eriksson, Johan

    2014-01-01

    Conscious processing is generally seen as required for flexible and willful actions, as well as for tasks that require durable information maintenance. Here we present research that questions the assumption that only consciously perceived information is durable (>500 ms). Using the attentional blink (AB) phenomenon, we rendered otherwise relatively clearly perceived letters non-conscious. In a first experiment we systematically manipulated the delay between stimulus presentation and response, for the purpose of estimating the durability of non-conscious perceptual representations. For items reported not seen, we found that behavioral performance was better than chance across intervals up to 15 s. In a second experiment we used fMRI to investigate the neural correlates underlying the maintenance of non-conscious perceptual representations. Critically, the relatively long delay period demonstrated in experiment 1 enabled isolation of the signal change specifically related to the maintenance period, separate from stimulus presentation and response. We found sustained BOLD signal change in the right mid-lateral prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and crus II of the cerebellum during maintenance of non-consciously perceived information. These findings are consistent with the controversial claim that working-memory mechanisms are involved in the short-term maintenance of non-conscious perceptual representations. PMID:25484862

  3. The Problem of Consciousness.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crick, Francis; Koch, Christof

    1992-01-01

    Discusses approaches to the problem presented in understanding consciousness as a yet undiscovered process of interacting neuron activity. Presents the historical context of research in the area of human awareness and identifies research necessary to scientifically explain how the brain relates to the mind. (MCO)

  4. From affective blindsight to emotional consciousness.

    PubMed

    Celeghin, Alessia; de Gelder, Beatrice; Tamietto, Marco

    2015-11-01

    Following destruction or denervation of the primary visual cortex (V1) cortical blindness ensues. Affective blindsight refers to the uncanny ability of such patients to respond correctly, or above chance level, to visual emotional expressions presented to their blind fields. Fifteen years after its original discovery, affective blindsight still fascinates neuroscientists and philosophers alike, as it offers a unique window on the vestigial properties of our visual system that, though present in the intact brain, tend to be unnoticed or even actively inhibited by conscious processes. Here we review available studies on affective blindsight with the intent to clarify its functional properties, neural bases and theoretical implications. Evidence converges on the role of subcortical structures of old evolutionary origin such as the superior colliculus, the pulvinar and the amygdala in mediating affective blindsight and nonconscious perception of emotions. We conclude that approaching consciousness, and its absence, from the vantage point of emotion processing may uncover important relations between the two phenomena, as consciousness may have evolved as an evolutionary specialization to interact with others and become aware of their social and emotional expressions. PMID:26058355

  5. Neural correlates of obsessive-compulsive related dysfunctional beliefs.

    PubMed

    Alonso, Pino; Orbegozo, Arantxa; Pujol, Jesús; López-Solà, Clara; Fullana, Miquel Àngel; Segalàs, Cinto; Real, Eva; Subirà, Marta; Martínez-Zalacaín, Ignacio; Menchón, José M; Harrison, Ben J; Cardoner, Narcís; Soriano-Mas, Carles

    2013-12-01

    There have been few attempts to integrate neurobiological and cognitive models of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), although this might constitute a key approach to clarify the complex etiology of the disorder. Our study aimed to explore the neural correlates underlying dysfunctional beliefs hypothesized by cognitive models to be involved in the development and maintenance of OCD. We obtained a high-resolution magnetic resonance image from fifty OCD patients and 30 healthy controls, and correlated them, voxel-wise, with the severity of OC-related dysfunctional beliefs assessed by the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire-44. In healthy controls, significant negative correlations were observed between anterior temporal lobe (ATL) volume and scores on perfectionism/intolerance of uncertainty and overimportance/need to control thoughts. No significant correlations between OBQ-44 domains and regional gray matter volumes were observed in OCD patients. A post-hoc region-of-interest analysis detected that the ATLs was bilaterally smaller in OCD patients. On splitting subjects into high- and low-belief subgroups, we observed that such brain structural differences between OCD patients and healthy controls were explained by significantly larger ATL volumes among healthy subjects from the low-belief subgroup. Our results suggest a significant correlation between OC-related dysfunctional beliefs and morphometric variability in the anterior temporal lobe, a brain structure related to socio-emotional processing. Future studies should address the interaction of these correlations with environmental factors to fully characterize the bases of OC-related dysfunctional beliefs and to advance in the integration of biological and cognitive models of OCD. PMID:23911440

  6. Impaired consciousness during temporal lobe seizures is related to increased long-distance cortical-subcortical synchronization.

    PubMed

    Arthuis, Marie; Valton, Luc; Régis, Jean; Chauvel, Patrick; Wendling, Fabrice; Naccache, Lionel; Bernard, Christophe; Bartolomei, Fabrice

    2009-08-01

    Loss of consciousness (LOC) is a dramatic clinical manifestation of temporal lobe seizures. Its underlying mechanism could involve altered coordinated neuronal activity between the brain regions that support conscious information processing. The consciousness access hypothesis assumes the existence of a global workspace in which information becomes available via synchronized activity within neuronal modules, often widely distributed throughout the brain. Re-entry loops and, in particular, thalamo-cortical communication would be crucial to functionally bind different modules together. In the present investigation, we used intracranial recordings of cortical and subcortical structures in 12 patients, with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), as part of their presurgical evaluation to investigate the relationship between states of consciousness and neuronal activity within the brain. The synchronization of electroencephalography signals between distant regions was estimated as a function of time by using non-linear regression analysis. We report that LOC occurring during temporal lobe seizures is characterized by increased long-distance synchronization between structures that are critical in processing awareness, including thalamus (Th) and parietal cortices. The degree of LOC was found to correlate with the amount of synchronization in thalamo-cortical systems. We suggest that excessive synchronization overloads the structures involved in consciousness processing, preventing them from treating incoming information, thus resulting in LOC. PMID:19416952

  7. Time to Loss of Consciousness and Its Relation to Behavior in Slaughter Pigs during Stunning with 80 or 95% Carbon Dioxide

    PubMed Central

    Verhoeven, Merel; Gerritzen, Marien; Velarde, Antonio; Hellebrekers, Ludo; Kemp, Bas

    2016-01-01

    Exposure to CO2 at high concentration is a much debated stunning method in pigs. Pigs respond aversively to high concentrations of CO2, and there is uncertainty about what behaviors occur before and after loss of consciousness. The aim was to assess timing of unconsciousness in pigs during exposure to high concentrations of CO2 based on changes in electroencephalogram (EEG) activity and the relation with the behaviors sniffing, retreat and escape attempts, lateral head movements, jumping, muscular contractions, loss of posture, and gasping. Pigs (108 ± 9 kg) were randomly assigned to 80% CO2 (80C, n = 24) or 95% CO2 (95C, n = 24). The time at which the gondola started descending into the well pre-filled with 80C or 95C was marked as T = 0. The CO2 exposure lasted 346 s after which the corneal reflex and breathing were assessed for 1 min. Visual assessment of changes in the amplitude and frequency of EEG traces after T = 0 was used to determine loss of consciousness. Time to loss of consciousness was longer in 80C pigs (47 ± 6 s) than in 95C pigs (33 ± 7 s). Time to an iso-electric EEG was similar in 80C pigs (75 ± 23 s) and 95C pigs (64 ± 32 s). When pigs descended into the well, the earlier entry of 95C pigs into high CO2 atmosphere rather than the concentration of CO2 by itself affected the latency of behavioral responses and decreasing brain activity. During exposure to the gas, 80C and 95C pigs exhibited sniffing, retreat attempts, lateral head movements, jumping, and gasping before loss of consciousness. 95C pigs exhibited all these behaviors on average earlier than 80C pigs after T = 0. But the interval between onset of these behaviors and loss of consciousness and the duration of these behaviors, except gasping, was similar for both treatments. Loss of posture was on average observed in both groups 10 s before EEG-based loss of consciousness. Furthermore, 88% of 80C pigs and 94% of 95C pigs

  8. The consciousness state space (CSS)—a unifying model for consciousness and self

    PubMed Central

    Berkovich-Ohana, Aviva; Glicksohn, Joseph

    2014-01-01

    Every experience, those we are aware of and those we are not, is embedded in a subjective timeline, is tinged with emotion, and inevitably evokes a certain sense of self. Here, we present a phenomenological model for consciousness and selfhood which relates time, awareness, and emotion within one framework. The consciousness state space (CSS) model is a theoretical one. It relies on a broad range of literature, hence has high explanatory and integrative strength, and helps in visualizing the relationship between different aspects of experience. Briefly, it is suggested that all phenomenological states fall into two categories of consciousness, core and extended (CC and EC, respectively). CC supports minimal selfhood that is short of temporal extension, its scope being the here and now. EC supports narrative selfhood, which involves personal identity and continuity across time, as well as memory, imagination and conceptual thought. The CSS is a phenomenological space, created by three dimensions: time, awareness and emotion. Each of the three dimensions is shown to have a dual phenomenological composition, falling within CC and EC. The neural spaces supporting each of these dimensions, as well as CC and EC, are laid out based on the neuroscientific literature. The CSS dynamics include two simultaneous trajectories, one in CC and one in EC, typically antagonistic in normal experiences. However, this characteristic behavior is altered in states in which a person experiences an altered sense of self. Two examples are laid out, flow and meditation. The CSS model creates a broad theoretical framework with explanatory and unificatory power. It constructs a detailed map of the consciousness and selfhood phenomenology, which offers constraints for the science of consciousness. We conclude by outlining several testable predictions raised by the CSS model. PMID:24808870

  9. The consciousness state space (CSS)-a unifying model for consciousness and self.

    PubMed

    Berkovich-Ohana, Aviva; Glicksohn, Joseph

    2014-01-01

    Every experience, those we are aware of and those we are not, is embedded in a subjective timeline, is tinged with emotion, and inevitably evokes a certain sense of self. Here, we present a phenomenological model for consciousness and selfhood which relates time, awareness, and emotion within one framework. The consciousness state space (CSS) model is a theoretical one. It relies on a broad range of literature, hence has high explanatory and integrative strength, and helps in visualizing the relationship between different aspects of experience. Briefly, it is suggested that all phenomenological states fall into two categories of consciousness, core and extended (CC and EC, respectively). CC supports minimal selfhood that is short of temporal extension, its scope being the here and now. EC supports narrative selfhood, which involves personal identity and continuity across time, as well as memory, imagination and conceptual thought. The CSS is a phenomenological space, created by three dimensions: time, awareness and emotion. Each of the three dimensions is shown to have a dual phenomenological composition, falling within CC and EC. The neural spaces supporting each of these dimensions, as well as CC and EC, are laid out based on the neuroscientific literature. The CSS dynamics include two simultaneous trajectories, one in CC and one in EC, typically antagonistic in normal experiences. However, this characteristic behavior is altered in states in which a person experiences an altered sense of self. Two examples are laid out, flow and meditation. The CSS model creates a broad theoretical framework with explanatory and unificatory power. It constructs a detailed map of the consciousness and selfhood phenomenology, which offers constraints for the science of consciousness. We conclude by outlining several testable predictions raised by the CSS model. PMID:24808870

  10. Roles of forebrain GABA receptors in controlling vasopressin secretion and related phenomena under basal and hyperosmotic circumstances in conscious rats.

    PubMed

    Yamaguchi, Ken'ichi; Yamada, Takaho

    2008-09-01

    Although the anteroventral third ventricular region (AV3V), a forebrain area essential for homeostatic responses, includes receptors for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the roles of these receptors in controlling vasopressin (AVP) secretion and related phenomena have not been clarified as yet. This study aimed to pursue this problem in conscious rats implanted with indwelling catheters. Cerebral injection sites were determined histologically. Applications of bicuculline, a GABA(A) receptor antagonist, to the AV3V induced prompt and marked augmentations in plasma AVP, osmolality, glucose, arterial pressure and heart rate, without affecting plasma electrolytes. Such phenomena did not occur when phaclofen, a GABA(B) receptor antagonist, was applied to the AV3V. All of the effects of AV3V-administered bicuculline were abolished by preadministration of the GABA(A) receptor agonist muscimol. Preadministration of either MK-801 or NBQX, ionotropic glutamatergic receptor antagonists, was also potent to abolish the AVP response to AV3V bicuculline. When hypertonic saline was infused intravenously, plasma AVP increased progressively, in parallel with rises in plasma osmolality, sodium and arterial pressure. AV3V application of muscimol or baclofen, a GABA(B) receptor agonist, was found to abolish the response of plasma AVP, without inhibiting that of the osmolality or sodium. The response of arterial pressure was also blocked by muscimol treatment, but not by baclofen treatment. Based on these results, we concluded that, under basal conditions, GABA receptors in the AV3V or vicinity may tonically operate to attenuate AVP secretion and cardiovascular functions through mechanisms associated with glutamatergic activity, and that plasma hyperosmolality may cause facilitation of AVP release by decreasing forebrain GABAergic activity. PMID:18639747

  11. Probing ERP correlates of verbal semantic processing in patients with impaired consciousness.

    PubMed

    Rohaut, Benjamin; Faugeras, Frédéric; Chausson, Nicolas; King, Jean-Rémi; Karoui, Imen El; Cohen, Laurent; Naccache, Lionel

    2015-01-01

    Our ability to identify covert cognitive abilities in non-communicating patients is of prime importance to improve diagnosis, to guide therapeutic decisions and to better predict their cognitive outcome. In the present study, we used a basic and rigorous paradigm contrasting pairs of words orthogonally. This paradigm enables the probing of semantic processing by comparing neural activity elicited by similar words delivered in various combinations. We describe the respective timing, topography and estimated cortical sources of two successive event-related potentials (ERP) components (N400 and late positive component (LPC)) using high-density EEG in conscious controls (N=20) and in minimally conscious (MCS; N=15) and vegetative states (VS; N=15) patients recorded at bedside. Whereas N400-like ERP components could be observed in the VS, MCS and conscious groups, only MCS and conscious groups showed a LPC response, suggesting that this late effect could be a potential specific marker of conscious semantic processing. This result is coherent with recent findings disentangling early and local non-conscious responses (e.g.: MMN in odd-ball paradigms, N400 in semantic violation paradigms) from late, distributed and conscious responses (e.g.: P3b to auditory rule violation) in controls and in patients with disorders of consciousness. However, N400 and LPC responses were not easily observed at the individual level, - even in conscious controls - , with standard ERP analyses, which is a limiting factor for its clinical use. Of potential interest, the only 3 patients presenting both significant N400 and LPC effects were MCS, and 2 of them regained consciousness and functional language abilities. PMID:25447058

  12. Dogs cannot bark: event-related brain responses to true and false negated statements as indicators of higher-order conscious processing.

    PubMed

    Herbert, Cornelia; Kübler, Andrea

    2011-01-01

    The present study investigated event-related brain potentials elicited by true and false negated statements to evaluate if discrimination of the truth value of negated information relies on conscious processing and requires higher-order cognitive processing in healthy subjects across different levels of stimulus complexity. The stimulus material consisted of true and false negated sentences (sentence level) and prime-target expressions (word level). Stimuli were presented acoustically and no overt behavioral response of the participants was required. Event-related brain potentials to target words preceded by true and false negated expressions were analyzed both within group and at the single subject level. Across the different processing conditions (word pairs and sentences), target words elicited a frontal negativity and a late positivity in the time window from 600-1000 msec post target word onset. Amplitudes of both brain potentials varied as a function of the truth value of the negated expressions. Results were confirmed at the single-subject level. In sum, our results support recent suggestions according to which evaluation of the truth value of a negated expression is a time- and cognitively demanding process that cannot be solved automatically, and thus requires conscious processing. Our paradigm provides insight into higher-order processing related to language comprehension and reasoning in healthy subjects. Future studies are needed to evaluate if our paradigm also proves sensitive for the detection of consciousness in non-responsive patients. PMID:22022414

  13. From unresponsive wakefulness to minimally conscious PLUS and functional locked-in syndromes: recent advances in our understanding of disorders of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Bruno, Marie-Aurélie; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey; Thibaut, Aurore; Moonen, Gustave; Laureys, Steven

    2011-07-01

    Functional neuroimaging and electrophysiology studies are changing our understanding of patients with coma and related states. Some severely brain damaged patients may show residual cortical processing in the absence of behavioural signs of consciousness. Given these new findings, the diagnostic errors and their potential effects on treatment as well as concerns regarding the negative associations intrinsic to the term vegetative state, the European Task Force on Disorders of Consciousness has recently proposed the more neutral and descriptive term unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. When vegetative/unresponsive patients show minimal signs of consciousness but are unable to reliably communicate the term minimally responsive or minimally conscious state (MCS) is used. MCS was recently subcategorized based on the complexity of patients' behaviours: MCS+ describes high-level behavioural responses (i.e., command following, intelligible verbalizations or non-functional communication) and MCS- describes low-level behavioural responses (i.e., visual pursuit, localization of noxious stimulation or contingent behaviour such as appropriate smiling or crying to emotional stimuli). Finally, patients who show non-behavioural evidence of consciousness or communication only measurable via para-clinical testing (i.e., functional MRI, positron emission tomography, EEG or evoked potentials) can be considered to be in a functional locked-in syndrome. An improved assessment of brain function in coma and related states is not only changing nosology and medical care but also offers a better-documented diagnosis and prognosis and helps to further identify the neural correlates of human consciousness. PMID:21674197

  14. Converging Intracranial Markers of Conscious Access

    PubMed Central

    Gaillard, Raphaël; Dehaene, Stanislas; Adam, Claude; Clémenceau, Stéphane; Hasboun, Dominique; Baulac, Michel; Cohen, Laurent; Naccache, Lionel

    2009-01-01

    We compared conscious and nonconscious processing of briefly flashed words using a visual masking procedure while recording intracranial electroencephalogram (iEEG) in ten patients. Nonconscious processing of masked words was observed in multiple cortical areas, mostly within an early time window (<300 ms), accompanied by induced gamma-band activity, but without coherent long-distance neural activity, suggesting a quickly dissipating feedforward wave. In contrast, conscious processing of unmasked words was characterized by the convergence of four distinct neurophysiological markers: sustained voltage changes, particularly in prefrontal cortex, large increases in spectral power in the gamma band, increases in long-distance phase synchrony in the beta range, and increases in long-range Granger causality. We argue that all of those measures provide distinct windows into the same distributed state of conscious processing. These results have a direct impact on current theoretical discussions concerning the neural correlates of conscious access. PMID:19296722

  15. Science of consciousness and the hard problem

    SciTech Connect

    Stapp, H.P.

    1996-05-22

    Quantum theory is essentially a rationally coherent theory of the interaction of mind and matter, and it allows our conscious thoughts to play a causally efficacious and necessary role in brain dynamics. It therefore provides a natural basis, created by scientists, for the science of consciousness. As an illustration it is explained how the interaction of brain and consciousness can speed up brain processing, and thereby enhance the survival prospects of conscious organisms, as compared to similar organisms that lack consciousness. As a second illustration it is explained how, within the quantum framework, the consciously experienced {open_quotes}I{close_quotes} directs the actions of a human being. It is concluded that contemporary science already has an adequate framework for incorporating causally efficacious experimential events into the physical universe in a manner that: (1) puts the neural correlates of consciousness into the theory in a well defined way, (2) explains in principle how the effects of consciousness, per se, can enhance the survival prospects of organisms that possess it, (3) allows this survival effect to feed into phylogenetic development, and (4) explains how the consciously experienced {open_quotes}I{close_quotes} can direct human behaviour.

  16. Consciousness and Attention: On Sufficiency and Necessity

    PubMed Central

    van Boxtel, Jeroen J. A.; Tsuchiya, Naotsugu; Koch, Christof

    2010-01-01

    Recent research has slowly corroded a belief that selective attention and consciousness are so tightly entangled that they cannot be individually examined. In this review, we summarize psychophysical and neurophysiological evidence for a dissociation between top-down attention and consciousness. The evidence includes recent findings that show subjects can attend to perceptually invisible objects. More contentious is the finding that subjects can become conscious of an isolated object, or the gist of the scene in the near absence of top-down attention; we critically re-examine the possibility of “complete” absence of top-down attention. We also cover the recent flurry of studies that utilized independent manipulation of attention and consciousness. These studies have shown paradoxical effects of attention, including examples where top-down attention and consciousness have opposing effects, leading us to strengthen and revise our previous views. Neuroimaging studies with EEG, MEG, and fMRI are uncovering the distinct neuronal correlates of selective attention and consciousness in dissociative paradigms. These findings point to a functional dissociation: attention as analyzer and consciousness as synthesizer. Separating the effects of selective visual attention from those of visual consciousness is of paramount importance to untangle the neural substrates of consciousness from those for attention. PMID:21833272

  17. Neural stem cells could serve as a therapeutic material for age-related neurodegenerative diseases

    PubMed Central

    Suksuphew, Sarawut; Noisa, Parinya

    2015-01-01

    Progressively loss of neural and glial cells is the key event that leads to nervous system dysfunctions and diseases. Several neurodegenerative diseases, for instance Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease, are associated to aging and suggested to be a consequence of deficiency of neural stem cell pool in the affected brain regions. Endogenous neural stem cells exist throughout life and are found in specific niches of human brain. These neural stem cells are responsible for the regeneration of new neurons to restore, in the normal circumstance, the functions of the brain. Endogenous neural stem cells can be isolated, propagated, and, notably, differentiated to most cell types of the brain. On the other hand, other types of stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells can also serve as a source for neural stem cell production, that hold a great promise for regeneration of the brain. The replacement of neural stem cells, either endogenous or stem cell-derived neural stem cells, into impaired brain is highly expected as a possible therapeutic mean for neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, clinical features and current routinely treatments of age-related neurodegenerative diseases are documented. Noteworthy, we presented the promising evidence of neural stem cells and their derivatives in curing such diseases, together with the remaining challenges to achieve the best outcome for patients. PMID:25815135

  18. A recurrent neural network with exponential convergence for solving convex quadratic program and related linear piecewise equations.

    PubMed

    Xia, Youshen; Feng, Gang; Wang, Jun

    2004-09-01

    This paper presents a recurrent neural network for solving strict convex quadratic programming problems and related linear piecewise equations. Compared with the existing neural networks for quadratic program, the proposed neural network has a one-layer structure with a low model complexity. Moreover, the proposed neural network is shown to have a finite-time convergence and exponential convergence. Illustrative examples further show the good performance of the proposed neural network in real-time applications. PMID:15312842

  19. Volition and the Function of Consciousness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lau, Hakwan C.

    What are the psychological functions that could only be performed consciously? People have intuitively assumed that many acts of volition are not influenced by unconscious information. These acts range from simple examples such as making a spontaneous motor movement, to higher cognitive control. How ever, the available evidence suggests that under suitable conditions, unconscious information can influence these behaviors and the underlying neural mechanisms. One possibility is that stimuli that are consciously perceived tend to yield strong signals in the brain, which makes us think that consciousness has the function of such strong signals. However, if we could create conditions where the stimuli could yield strong signals but not the conscious experience of perception, perhaps we would find that such stimuli are just as effective in influencing volitional be havior. Future studies that focus on clarifying this issue may tell us what the defining functions of consciousness are.

  20. Visual perception from the perspective of a representational, non-reductionistic, level-dependent account of perception and conscious awareness

    PubMed Central

    Overgaard, Morten; Mogensen, Jesper

    2014-01-01

    This article proposes a new model to interpret seemingly conflicting evidence concerning the correlation of consciousness and neural processes. Based on an analysis of research of blindsight and subliminal perception, the reorganization of elementary functions and consciousness framework suggests that mental representations consist of functions at several different levels of analysis, including truly localized perceptual elementary functions and perceptual algorithmic modules, which are interconnections of the elementary functions. We suggest that conscious content relates to the ‘top level’ of analysis in a ‘situational algorithmic strategy’ that reflects the general state of an individual. We argue that conscious experience is intrinsically related to representations that are available to guide behaviour. From this perspective, we find that blindsight and subliminal perception can be explained partly by too coarse-grained methodology, and partly by top-down enhancing of representations that normally would not be relevant to action. PMID:24639581

  1. Ecological Consciousness and Curriculum

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Morris, Marla

    2002-01-01

    This paper explores competing stories around consciousness, ecology and education, with particular reference to conceptual refinement of the idea of an "ecological consciousness." Phenomenological and functional models of consciousness are examined in terms of their implications for developing ecological consciousness in and for education.…

  2. An Essay on Consciousness.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Webb, Wise B.

    1981-01-01

    Reviews the role of consciousness within the discipline of psychology (including psychology research and textbooks). Presents information on the nature of consciousness, problems with consciousness, the mind/ matter controversy, and the state of the art of consciousness within psychology today. Concludes that there is a shift in psychology toward…

  3. Consciousness without a cerebral cortex: a challenge for neuroscience and medicine.

    PubMed

    Merker, Bjorn

    2007-02-01

    A broad range of evidence regarding the functional organization of the vertebrate brain - spanning from comparative neurology to experimental psychology and neurophysiology to clinical data - is reviewed for its bearing on conceptions of the neural organization of consciousness. A novel principle relating target selection, action selection, and motivation to one another, as a means to optimize integration for action in real time, is introduced. With its help, the principal macrosystems of the vertebrate brain can be seen to form a centralized functional design in which an upper brain stem system organized for conscious function performs a penultimate step in action control. This upper brain stem system retained a key role throughout the evolutionary process by which an expanding forebrain - culminating in the cerebral cortex of mammals - came to serve as a medium for the elaboration of conscious contents. This highly conserved upper brainstem system, which extends from the roof of the midbrain to the basal diencephalon, integrates the massively parallel and distributed information capacity of the cerebral hemispheres into the limited-capacity, sequential mode of operation required for coherent behavior. It maintains special connective relations with cortical territories implicated in attentional and conscious functions, but is not rendered nonfunctional in the absence of cortical input. This helps explain the purposive, goal-directed behavior exhibited by mammals after experimental decortication, as well as the evidence that children born without a cortex are conscious. Taken together these circumstances suggest that brainstem mechanisms are integral to the constitution of the conscious state, and that an adequate account of neural mechanisms of conscious function cannot be confined to the thalamocortical complex alone. PMID:17475053

  4. [Functional pathophysiology of consciousness].

    PubMed

    Jellinger, Kurt A

    2009-01-01

    from important somatic and sensory pathways and acts as a control system of neuronal activities of the cerebral cortex. The principal function of the ARAS is to focus our alertness on specific stimuli or internal processes, which run via complex neuronal cell groups and numerous neurotransmitters that influence various aspects of consciousness and wakefulness. Stimulation of the ARAS produces an arousal reaction as the electric correlate of consciousness; its destruction causes coma and related states. The highest level are cortical (prefrontal and association) networks for recognition, motor activity, longterm memory and attention, the left hemisphere being considered as the dominant one. Different levels of consciousness are distinguished: 1. hyperalertness, 2. alertness (normal state of wakefulness), 3. somnolence or lethargy, 4. obtundation with tendency to fall asleep, 5. stupor, 6. coma and its subtypes, like akinetic mutism, apallic syndrome or persistent vegative state, locked-in syndrome, delirium, and catatonia. They are caused by damages in various functional levels of the brain, by psychogenic factors or experimentally, and are accompanied by characteristic neurological and psychiatric disorders. The relevant morphological lesions can be detected by electrophysiological and imaging studies. The bases of functional anatomy and pathophysiology of consciousness, its cognitive aspects and its major disorders, their causes and functional substrates with reference to sleep and both spontaneous and iatrogenic disorders of consciousness are critically summarized. PMID:19573504

  5. The self and its resting state in consciousness: an investigation of the vegetative state.

    PubMed

    Huang, Zirui; Dai, Rui; Wu, Xuehai; Yang, Zhi; Liu, Dongqiang; Hu, Jin; Gao, Liang; Tang, Weijun; Mao, Ying; Jin, Yi; Wu, Xing; Liu, Bin; Zhang, Yao; Lu, Lu; Laureys, Steven; Weng, Xuchu; Northoff, Georg

    2014-05-01

    Recent studies have demonstrated resting-state abnormalities in midline regions in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome and minimally conscious state patients. However, the functional implications of these resting-state abnormalities remain unclear. Recent findings in healthy subjects have revealed a close overlap between the neural substrate of self-referential processing and the resting-state activity in cortical midline regions. As such, we investigated task-related neural activity during active self-referential processing and various measures of resting-state activity in 11 patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC) and 12 healthy control subjects. Overall, the results revealed that DOC patients exhibited task-specific signal changes in anterior and posterior midline regions, including the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex (PACC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). However, the degree of signal change was significantly lower in DOC patients compared with that in healthy subjects. Moreover, reduced signal differentiation in the PACC predicted the degree of consciousness in DOC patients. Importantly, the same midline regions (PACC and PCC) in DOC patients also exhibited severe abnormalities in the measures of resting-state activity, that is functional connectivity and the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations. Taken together, our results provide the first evidence of neural abnormalities in both the self-referential processing and the resting state in midline regions in DOC patients. This novel finding has important implications for clinical utility and general understanding of the relationship between the self, the resting state, and consciousness. PMID:23818102

  6. Consciousness, cognition and brain networks: New perspectives.

    PubMed

    Aldana, E M; Valverde, J L; Fábregas, N

    2016-10-01

    A detailed analysis of the literature on consciousness and cognition mechanisms based on the neural networks theory is presented. The immune and inflammatory response to the anesthetic-surgical procedure induces modulation of neuronal plasticity by influencing higher cognitive functions. Anesthetic drugs can cause unconsciousness, producing a functional disruption of cortical and thalamic cortical integration complex. The external and internal perceptions are processed through an intricate network of neural connections, involving the higher nervous activity centers, especially the cerebral cortex. This requires an integrated model, formed by neural networks and their interactions with highly specialized regions, through large-scale networks, which are distributed throughout the brain collecting information flow of these perceptions. Functional and effective connectivity between large-scale networks, are essential for consciousness, unconsciousness and cognition. It is what is called the "human connectome" or map neural networks. PMID:26143337

  7. Neural melanocortin receptors in obesity and related metabolic disorders

    PubMed Central

    Girardet, Clemence; Butler, Andrew A.

    2013-01-01

    Obesity is a global health issue, as it is associated with increased risk of developing chronic conditions associated with disorders of metabolism such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A better understanding of how excessive fat accumulation develops and causes diseases of the metabolic syndrome is urgently needed. The hypothalamic melanocortin system is an important point of convergence connecting signals of metabolic status with the neural circuitry that governs appetite and the autonomic and neuroendocrine system controling metabolism. This system has a critical role in the defense of body weight and maintenance of homeostasis. Two neural melanocortin receptors, melanocortin 3 and 4 receptors (MC3R and MC4R), play crucial roles in the regulation of energy balance. Mutations in the MC4R gene are the most common cause of monogenic obesity in humans, and a large literature indicates a role in regulating both energy intake through the control of satiety and energy expenditure. In contrast, MC3Rs have a more subtle role in energy homeostasis. Results from our lab indicate an important role for MC3Rs in synchronizing rhythms in foraging behavior with caloric cues and maintaining metabolic homeostasis during periods of nutrient scarcity. However, while deletion of the Mc3r gene in mice alters nutrient partitioning to favor accumulation of fat mass no obvious role for MC3R haploinsufficiency in human obesity has been reported. PMID:23680515

  8. Neural Correlates of Appetite and Hunger-Related Evaluative Judgments

    PubMed Central

    Piech, Richard M.; Lewis, Jade; Parkinson, Caroline H.; Owen, Adrian M.; Roberts, Angela C.; Downing, Paul E.; Parkinson, John A.

    2009-01-01

    How much we desire a meal depends on both the constituent foods and how hungry we are, though not every meal becomes more desirable with increasing hunger. The brain therefore needs to be able to integrate hunger and meal properties to compute the correct incentive value of a meal. The present study investigated the functional role of the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex in mediating hunger and dish attractiveness. Furthermore, it explored neural responses to dish descriptions particularly susceptible to value-increase following fasting. We instructed participants to rate how much they wanted food menu items while they were either hungry or sated, and compared the rating differences in these states. Our results point to the representation of food value in the amygdala, and to an integration of attractiveness with hunger level in the orbitofrontal cortex. Dishes particularly desirable during hunger activated the thalamus and the insula. Our results specify the functions of evaluative structures in the context of food attractiveness, and point to a complex neural representation of dish qualities which contribute to state-dependent value. PMID:19672296

  9. How Do Theories of Cognition and Consciousness in Ancient Indian Thought Systems Relate to Current Western Theorizing and Research?

    PubMed Central

    Sedlmeier, Peter; Srinivas, Kunchapudi

    2016-01-01

    Unknown to most Western psychologists, ancient Indian scriptures contain very rich, empirically derived psychological theories that are, however, intertwined with religious and philosophical content. This article represents our attempt to extract the psychological theory of cognition and consciousness from a prominent ancient Indian thought system: Samkhya-Yoga. We derive rather broad hypotheses from this approach that may complement and extend Western mainstream theorizing. These hypotheses address an ancient personality theory, the effects of practicing the applied part of Samkhya-Yoga on normal and extraordinary cognition, as well as different ways of perceiving reality. We summarize empirical evidence collected (mostly without reference to the Indian thought system) in diverse fields of research that allows for making judgments about the hypotheses, and suggest more specific hypotheses to be examined in future research. We conclude that the existing evidence for the (broad) hypotheses is substantial but that there are still considerable gaps in theory and research to be filled. Theories of cognition contained in the ancient Indian systems have the potential to modify and complement existing Western mainstream accounts of cognition. In particular, they might serve as a basis for arriving at more comprehensive theories for several research areas that, so far, lack strong theoretical grounding, such as meditation research or research on aspects of consciousness. PMID:27014150

  10. Occipital MEG Activity in the Early Time Range (<300 ms) Predicts Graded Changes in Perceptual Consciousness.

    PubMed

    Andersen, Lau M; Pedersen, Michael N; Sandberg, Kristian; Overgaard, Morten

    2016-06-01

    Two electrophysiological components have been extensively investigated as candidate neural correlates of perceptual consciousness: An early, occipitally realized component occurring 130-320 ms after stimulus onset and a late, frontally realized component occurring 320-510 ms after stimulus onset. Recent studies have suggested that the late component may not be uniquely related to perceptual consciousness, but also to sensory expectations, task associations, and selective attention. We conducted a magnetoencephalographic study; using multivariate analysis, we compared classification accuracies when decoding perceptual consciousness from the 2 components using sources from occipital and frontal lobes. We found that occipital sources during the early time range were significantly more accurate in decoding perceptual consciousness than frontal sources during both the early and late time ranges. These results are the first of its kind where the predictive values of the 2 components are quantitatively compared, and they provide further evidence for the primary importance of occipital sources in realizing perceptual consciousness. The results have important consequences for current theories of perceptual consciousness, especially theories emphasizing the role of frontal sources. PMID:26009612

  11. The neurophysical basis of mind and consciousness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beichler, James

    2012-04-01

    A living body is just a complex pattern of energetic particle exchanges to physicists when compared to the biochemical processes studied by chemists and biologists. New research has centered more upon the electric, magnetic and electromagnetic characteristics of life. It is easy to model mind and consciousness as the electric and magnetic counterparts of living organisms. Mind is an extremely complex electric scalar field pattern and consciousness is the corresponding magnetic vector potential field pattern. As humans, we may have the most complex and advanced mind and consciousness known, but all living organisms display mind and consciousness at various lower levels than our human mind and consciousness. Mind and consciousness have mistakenly become associated with the brain and no other part of the body because of the dense concentration of neurons in the brain. A strict study of the magnetic vector potential field patterns associated with neural microtubules, neurons and neural nets demonstrates how thoughts and streams of thought originate in the brain and are stored magnetically. Microtubules, which act as magnetic induction coils, are the primary structural bio-unit used for building, storing and retrieving memories in the mind.

  12. Hippocampal representation of related and opposing memories develop within distinct, hierarchically organized neural schemas.

    PubMed

    McKenzie, Sam; Frank, Andrea J; Kinsky, Nathaniel R; Porter, Blake; Rivière, Pamela D; Eichenbaum, Howard

    2014-07-01

    Recent evidence suggests that the hippocampus may integrate overlapping memories into relational representations, or schemas, that link indirectly related events and support flexible memory expression. Here we explored the nature of hippocampal neural population representations for multiple features of events and the locations and contexts in which they occurred. Hippocampal networks developed hierarchical organizations of associated elements of related but separately acquired memories within a context, and distinct organizations for memories where the contexts differentiated object-reward associations. These findings reveal neural mechanisms for the development and organization of relational representations. PMID:24910078

  13. Inferential bridging relations reveal distinct neural mechanisms: evidence from event-related brain potentials.

    PubMed

    Burkhardt, Petra

    2006-08-01

    This study investigates the online comprehension of Determiner Phrases (DPs) as a function of the given-new distinction in two-sentence texts in German and further focuses on DPs whose interpretation depends on inferential information (so-called 'bridging relations'). Previous reaction time studies report an advantage of given over new information. In the present study, this difference is reflected in distinct neural mechanisms: event-related potentials reveal that previously introduced (i.e., given) DPs elicit a reduced N400, while new DPs show an enhanced N400 followed by a P600. Crucially, inferentially bridged DPs, which are hypothesized to share properties with new and given information, first pattern with given DPs (showing an attenuated N400) and then with new DPs (showing an enhanced P600). The data demonstrate that salience relations between DPs and prior context ease DP integration and that additional cost arises from the establishment of independent reference. They further reveal that processing cost associated with the interpretation of bridged DPs results from the anaphoric complexity of introducing an independent referent. PMID:16725188

  14. Differential neural activity patterns for spatial relations in humans: a MEG study.

    PubMed

    Scott, Nicole M; Leuthold, Arthur; Sera, Maria D; Georgopoulos, Apostolos P

    2016-02-01

    Children learn the words for above-below relations earlier than for left-right relations, despite treating these equally well in a simple visual categorization task. Even as adults--conflicts in congruency, such as when a stimulus is depicted in a spatially incongruent manner with respect to salient global cues--can be challenging. Here we investigated the neural correlates of encoding and maintaining in working memory above-below and left-right relational planes in 12 adults using magnetoencephalography in order to discover whether above-below relations are represented by the brain differently than left-right relations. Adults performed perfectly on the task behaviorally, so any differences in neural activity were attributed to the stimuli's cognitive attributes. In comparing above-below to left-right relations during stimulus encoding, we found the greatest differences in neural activity in areas associated with space and movement. In comparing congruent to incongruent trials, we found the greatest differential activity in premotor areas. For both contrasts, brain areas involved in the encoding phase were also involved in the maintenance phase, which provides evidence that those brain areas are particularly important in representing the relational planes or congruency types throughout the trial. When comparing neural activity associated with the relational planes during working memory, additional right posterior areas were implicated, whereas the congruent-incongruent contrast implicated additional bilateral frontal and temporal areas. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis left-right relations are represented differently than above-below relations. PMID:26514809

  15. Adult Palatum as a Novel Source of Neural Crest-Related Stem Cells

    PubMed Central

    Widera, Darius; Zander, Christin; Heidbreder, Meike; Kasperek, Yvonne; Noll, Thomas; Seitz, Oliver; Saldamli, Belma; Sudhoff, Holger; Sader, Robert; Kaltschmidt, Christian; Kaltschmidt, Barbara

    2009-01-01

    Somatic neural and neural crest stem cells are promising sources for cellular therapy of several neurodegenerative diseases. However, because of practical considerations such as inadequate accessibility of the source material, the application of neural crest stem cells is strictly limited. The secondary palate is a highly regenerative and heavily innervated tissue, which develops embryonically under direct contribution of neural crest cells. Here, we describe for the first time the presence of nestin-positive neural crest-related stem cells within Meissner corpuscles and Merkel cell-neurite complexes located in the hard palate of adult Wistar rats. After isolation, palatal neural crest-related stem cells (pNC-SCs) were cultivated in the presence of epidermal growth factor and fibroblast growth factor under serum-free conditions, resulting in large amounts of neurospheres. We used immunocytochemical techniques and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction to assess the expression profile of pNC-SCs. In addition to the expression of neural crest stem cell markers such as Nestin, Sox2, and p75, we detected the expression of Klf4, Oct4, and c-Myc. pNC-SCs differentiated efficiently into neuronal and glial cells. Finally, we investigated the potential expression of stemness markers within the human palate. We identified expression of stem cell markers nestin and CD133 and the transcription factors needed for reprogramming of somatic cells into pluripotent cells: Sox2, Oct4, Klf4, and c-Myc. These data show that cells isolated from palatal rugae form neurospheres, are highly plastic, and express neural crest stem cell markers. In addition, pNC-SCs may have the ability to differentiate into functional neurons and glial cells, serving as a starting point for therapeutic studies. Stem Cells 2009;27:1899–1910 PMID:19544446

  16. A point process framework for relating neural spiking activity to spiking history, neural ensemble, and extrinsic covariate effects.

    PubMed

    Truccolo, Wilson; Eden, Uri T; Fellows, Matthew R; Donoghue, John P; Brown, Emery N

    2005-02-01

    Multiple factors simultaneously affect the spiking activity of individual neurons. Determining the effects and relative importance of these factors is a challenging problem in neurophysiology. We propose a statistical framework based on the point process likelihood function to relate a neuron's spiking probability to three typical covariates: the neuron's own spiking history, concurrent ensemble activity, and extrinsic covariates such as stimuli or behavior. The framework uses parametric models of the conditional intensity function to define a neuron's spiking probability in terms of the covariates. The discrete time likelihood function for point processes is used to carry out model fitting and model analysis. We show that, by modeling the logarithm of the conditional intensity function as a linear combination of functions of the covariates, the discrete time point process likelihood function is readily analyzed in the generalized linear model (GLM) framework. We illustrate our approach for both GLM and non-GLM likelihood functions using simulated data and multivariate single-unit activity data simultaneously recorded from the motor cortex of a monkey performing a visuomotor pursuit-tracking task. The point process framework provides a flexible, computationally efficient approach for maximum likelihood estimation, goodness-of-fit assessment, residual analysis, model selection, and neural decoding. The framework thus allows for the formulation and analysis of point process models of neural spiking activity that readily capture the simultaneous effects of multiple covariates and enables the assessment of their relative importance. PMID:15356183

  17. Feminist Consciousness and Objectified Body Consciousness

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McKinley, Nita Mary

    2011-01-01

    The author has been asked to write about how her article "The Objectified Body Consciousness Scale: Development and Validation" (McKinley & Hyde, 1996) came to be published in "Psychology of Women Quarterly" ("PWQ"). In this article, she recalls the contexts in which she developed her ideas about objectified body consciousness (OBC), the process…

  18. A systematic review of the neural bases of psychotherapy for anxiety and related disorders

    PubMed Central

    Brooks, Samantha J.; Stein, Dan J.

    2015-01-01

    Brain imaging studies over two decades have delineated the neural circuitry of anxiety and related disorders, particularly regions involved in fear processing and in obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The neural circuitry of fear processing involves the amygdala, anterior cingulate, and insular cortex, while cortico-striatal-thalamic circuitry plays a key role in obsessive-compulsive disorder. More recently, neuroimaging studies have examined how psychotherapy for anxiety and related disorders impacts on these neural circuits. Here we conduct a systematic review of the findings of such work, which yielded 19 functional magnetic resonance imaging studies examining the neural bases of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in 509 patients with anxiety and related disorders. We conclude that, although each of these related disorders is mediated by somewhat different neural circuitry, CBT may act in a similar way to increase prefrontal control of subcortical structures. These findings are consistent with an emphasis in cognitive-affective neuroscience on the potential therapeutic value of enhancing emotional regulation in various psychiatric conditions. PMID:26487807

  19. A systematic review of the neural bases of psychotherapy for anxiety and related disorders.

    PubMed

    Brooks, Samantha J; Stein, Dan J

    2015-09-01

    Brain imaging studies over two decades have delineated the neural circuitry of anxiety and related disorders, particularly regions involved in fear processing and in obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The neural circuitry of fear processing involves the amygdala, anterior cingulate, and insular cortex, while cortico-striatal-thalamic circuitry plays a key role in obsessive-compulsive disorder. More recently, neuroimaging studies have examined how psychotherapy for anxiety and related disorders impacts on these neural circuits. Here we conduct a systematic review of the findings of such work, which yielded 19 functional magnetic resonance imaging studies examining the neural bases of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in 509 patients with anxiety and related disorders. We conclude that, although each of these related disorders is mediated by somewhat different neural circuitry, CBT may act in a similar way to increase prefrontal control of subcortical structures. These findings are consistent with an emphasis in cognitive-affective neuroscience on the potential therapeutic value of enhancing emotional regulation in various psychiatric conditions. PMID:26487807

  20. Differences in Feedback- and Inhibition-Related Neural Activity in Adult ADHD

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dibbets, Pauline; Evers, Lisbeth; Hurks, Petra; Marchetta, Natalie; Jolles, Jelle

    2009-01-01

    The objective of this study was to examine response inhibition- and feedback-related neural activity in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using event-related functional MRI. Sixteen male adults with ADHD and 13 healthy/normal controls participated in this study and performed a modified Go/NoGo task. Behaviourally,…

  1. Causal estimation of neural and overall baroreflex sensitivity in relation to carotid artery stiffness.

    PubMed

    Lipponen, Jukka A; Tarvainen, Mika P; Laitinen, Tomi; Karjalainen, Pasi A; Vanninen, Joonas; Koponen, Timo; Laitinen, Tiina M

    2013-12-01

    Continuous electrocardiogram, blood pressure and carotid artery ultrasound video were analyzed from 15 diabetics and 28 healthy controls. By using these measurements artery elasticity, overall baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) assessed between RR and systolic blood pressure variation, and neural BRS assessed between RR and artery diameter variation were estimated. In addition, BRS was estimated using traditional and causal methods which enable separation of feedforward and feedback variation. The aim of this study was to analyze overall and neural BRS in relation to artery stiffness and to validate the causal BRS estimation method in assessing these two types of BRS within the study population. The most significant difference between the healthy and diabetic groups (p < 0.0007) was found for the overall BRS estimated using the causal method. The difference between the groups was also significant for neural BRS (p < 0.0018). However neural BRS was normal in some old diabetics, which indicates normal functioning of autonomic nervous system (ANS), even though the elasticity in arteries of these subjects was reduced. The noncausal method overestimated neural BRS in low BRS values when compared to causal BRS. In conclusion, neural BRS estimated using the causal method is proposed as the best marker of ANS functioning. PMID:24168896

  2. [Altered states of consciousness].

    PubMed

    Gora, E P

    2005-01-01

    The review of modern ideas concerning the altered states of consciousness is presented in this article. Various methods of entry into the altered states of consciousness are looked over. It is shown that the altered states of consciousness are insufficiently known, but important aspects of human being existence. The role of investigation of the altered states of consciousness for the creation of integrative scientific conception base is discussed. PMID:15810684

  3. Nutri-epigenomic Studies Related to Neural Tube Defects: Does Folate Affect Neural Tube Closure Via Changes in DNA Methylation?

    PubMed

    Rochtus, Anne; Jansen, Katrien; Van Geet, Chris; Freson, Kathleen

    2015-01-01

    Neural tube defects (NTDs), affecting 1-2 per 1000 pregnancies, are severe congenital malformations that arise from the failure of neurulation during early embryonic development. The methylation hypothesis suggests that folate prevents NTDs by stimulating cellular methylation reactions. Folate is central to the one-carbon metabolism that produces pyrimidines and purines for DNA synthesis and for the generation of the methyldonor S-adenosyl-methionine. This review focuses on the relation between the folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism, DNA methylation and NTDs. Studies will be discussed that investigated global or locus-specific DNA methylation differences in patients with NTDs. Folate deficiency may increase NTD risk by decreasing DNA methylation, but to date, human studies vary widely in study design in terms of analyzing different clinical subtypes of NTDs, using different methylation quantification assays and using DNA isolated from diverse types of tissues. Some studies have focused mainly on global DNA methylation differences while others have quantified specific methylation differences for imprinted genes, transposable elements and DNA repair enzymes. Findings of global DNA hypomethylation and LINE-1 hypomethylation suggest that epigenetic alterations may disrupt neural tube closure. However, current research does not support a linear relation between red blood cell folate concentration and DNA methylation. Further studies are required to better understand the interaction between folate, DNA methylation changes and NTDs. PMID:26349489

  4. Nonneurocognitive Extended Consciousness

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wojcik, Kevin; Chemero, Anthony

    2012-01-01

    One of the attributes necessary for Watson to be considered human is that it must be conscious. From Rachlin's (2012) point of view, that of teleological behaviorism, consciousness refers to the organization of behavioral complexity in which overt behavior is distributed widely over time. Consciousness is something that humans do, or achieve, in…

  5. Contributions of magno- and parvocellular channels to conscious and non-conscious vision

    PubMed Central

    Breitmeyer, Bruno G.

    2014-01-01

    The dorsal and ventral cortical pathways, driven predominantly by magnocellular (M) and parvocellular (P) inputs, respectively, assume leading roles in models of visual information processing. Although in prior proposals, the dorsal and ventral pathways support non-conscious and conscious vision, respectively, recent modelling and empirical developments indicate that each pathway plays important roles in both non-conscious and conscious vision. In these models, the ventral P-pathway consists of one subpathway processing an object's contour features, e.g. curvature, the other processing its surface attributes, e.g. colour. Masked priming studies have shown that feed-forward activity in the ventral P-pathway on its own supports non-conscious processing of contour and surface features. The dorsal M-pathway activity contributes directly to conscious vision of motion and indirectly to object vision by projecting to prefrontal cortex, which in turn injects top-down neural activity into the ventral P-pathway and there ‘ignites’ feed-forward–re-entrant loops deemed necessary for conscious vision. Moreover, an object's shape or contour remains invisible without the prior conscious registration of its surface properties, which for that reason are taken to comprise fundamental visual qualia. Besides suggesting avenues for future research, these developments bear on several recent and past philosophical issues. PMID:24639584

  6. Toward physics of the mind: Concepts, emotions, consciousness, and symbols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perlovsky, Leonid I.

    2006-03-01

    Mathematical approaches to modeling the mind since the 1950s are reviewed, including artificial intelligence, pattern recognition, and neural networks. I analyze difficulties faced by these algorithms and neural networks and relate them to the fundamental inconsistency of logic discovered by Gödel. Mathematical discussions are related to those in neurobiology, psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy. Higher cognitive functions are reviewed including concepts, emotions, instincts, understanding, imagination, intuition, consciousness. Then, I describe a mathematical formulation, unifying the mind mechanisms in a psychologically and neuro-biologically plausible system. A mechanism of the knowledge instinct drives our understanding of the world and serves as a foundation for higher cognitive functions. This mechanism relates aesthetic emotions and perception of beauty to “everyday” functioning of the mind. The article reviews mechanisms of human symbolic ability. I touch on future directions: joint evolution of the mind, language, consciousness, and cultures; mechanisms of differentiation and synthesis; a manifold of aesthetic emotions in music and differentiated instinct for knowledge. I concentrate on elucidating the first principles; review aspects of the theory that have been proven in laboratory research, relationships between the mind and brain; discuss unsolved problems, and outline a number of theoretical predictions, which will have to be tested in future mathematical simulations and neuro-biological research.

  7. Slow cortical potentials and "inner time consciousness" - A neuro-phenomenal hypothesis about the "width of present".

    PubMed

    Northoff, Georg

    2016-05-01

    William James postulated a "stream of consciousness" that presupposes temporal continuity. The neuronal mechanisms underlying the construction of such temporal continuity remain unclear, however, in my contribution, I propose a neuro-phenomenal hypothesis that is based on slow cortical potentials and their extension of the present moment as described in the phenomenal term of "width of present". More specifically, I focus on the way the brain's neural activity needs to be encoded in order to make possible the "stream of consciousness." This leads us again to the low-frequency fluctuations of the brain's neural activity and more specifically to slow cortical potentials (SCPs). Due to their long phase duration as low-frequency fluctuations, SCPs can integrate different stimuli and their associated neural activity from different regions in one converging region. Such integration may be central for consciousness to occur, as it was recently postulated by He and Raichle. They leave open, however, the question of the exact neuronal mechanisms, like the encoding strategy, that make possible the association of the otherwise purely neuronal SCP with consciousness and its phenomenal features. I hypothesize that SCPs allow for linking and connecting different discrete points in physical time by encoding their statistically based temporal differences rather than the single discrete time points by themselves. This presupposes difference-based coding rather than stimulus-based coding. The encoding of such statistically based temporal differences makes it possible to "go beyond" the merely physical features of the stimuli; that is, their single discrete time points and their conduction delays (as related to their neural processing in the brain). This, in turn, makes possible the constitution of "local temporal continuity" of neural activity in one particular region. The concept of "local temporal continuity" signifies the linkage and integration of different discrete time points

  8. Spectral Parameters Modulation and Source Localization of Blink-Related Alpha and Low-Beta Oscillations Differentiate Minimally Conscious State from Vegetative State/Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome

    PubMed Central

    Bonfiglio, Luca; Piarulli, Andrea; Olcese, Umberto; Andre, Paolo; Arrighi, Pieranna; Frisoli, Antonio; Rossi, Bruno; Bergamasco, Massimo; Carboncini, Maria Chiara

    2014-01-01

    Recently, the cortical source of blink-related delta oscillations (delta BROs) in resting healthy subjects has been localized in the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus (PCC/PCu), one of the main core-hubs of the default-mode network. This has been interpreted as the electrophysiological signature of the automatic monitoring of the surrounding environment while subjects are immersed in self-reflecting mental activities. Although delta BROs were directly correlated to the degree of consciousness impairment in patients with disorders of consciousness, they failed to differentiate vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) from minimally conscious state (MCS). In the present study, we have extended the analysis of BROs to frequency bands other than delta in the attempt to find a biological marker that could support the differential diagnosis between VS/UWS and MCS. Four patients with VS/UWS, 5 patients with MCS, and 12 healthy matched controls (CTRL) underwent standard 19-channels EEG recordings during resting conditions. Three-second-lasting EEG epochs centred on each blink instance were submitted to time-frequency analyses in order to extract the normalized Blink-Related Synchronization/Desynchronization (nBRS/BRD) of three bands of interest (low-alpha, high-alpha and low-beta) in the time-window of 50–550 ms after the blink-peak and to estimate the corresponding cortical sources of electrical activity. VS/UWS nBRS/BRD levels of all three bands were lower than those related to both CTRL and MCS, thus enabling the differential diagnosis between MCS and VS/UWS. Furthermore, MCS showed an intermediate signal intensity on PCC/PCu between CTRL and VS/UWS and a higher signal intensity on the left temporo-parieto-occipital junction and inferior occipito-temporal regions when compared to VS/UWS. This peculiar pattern of activation leads us to hypothesize that resting MCS patients have a bottom-up driven activation of the task positive network and thus

  9. Age-related changes in neural gap detection thresholds in the rat auditory cortex.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Yin; Xu, Xiaoxiao; He, Juan; Xu, Jinghong; Zhang, Jiping

    2015-02-01

    The ability of the auditory system to resolve sound temporal information is crucial for the understanding of human speech and other species-specific communications. Gap detection threshold, i.e. the ability to detect the shortest duration of a silent interval in a sound, is commonly used to study the auditory temporal resolution. Behavioral studies in humans and rats have shown that normal developing infants have higher gap detection thresholds than adults; however, the underlying neural mechanism is not fully understood. In the present study, we determined and compared the neural gap detection thresholds in the primary auditory cortex of three age groups of rats: the juvenile group (postnatal day 20-30), adult group I (8-10 weeks), and adult group II (28-30 weeks). We found age-related changes in auditory temporal acuity in the auditory cortex, i.e. the proportion of cortical units with short neural gap detection thresholds (< 5 ms) was much lower in juvenile groups compared with that in both adult groups at a constant sound level, and no significant differences in neural gap detection thresholds were found between the two adult groups. In addition, units in the auditory cortex of each group generally showed better gap detection thresholds at higher sound levels than at lower sound levels, exhibiting a level-dependent temporal acuity. These results provided evidence for neural correlates of age-related changes in behavioral gap detection ability during postnatal hearing development. PMID:25388865

  10. Structural qualia: a solution to the hard problem of consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Loorits, Kristjan

    2014-01-01

    The hard problem of consciousness has been often claimed to be unsolvable by the methods of traditional empirical sciences. It has been argued that all the objects of empirical sciences can be fully analyzed in structural terms but that consciousness is (or has) something over and above its structure. However, modern neuroscience has introduced a theoretical framework in which also the apparently non-structural aspects of consciousness, namely the so called qualia or qualitative properties, can be analyzed in structural terms. That framework allows us to see qualia as something compositional with internal structures that fully determine their qualitative nature. Moreover, those internal structures can be identified which certain neural patterns. Thus consciousness as a whole can be seen as a complex neural pattern that misperceives some of its own highly complex structural properties as monadic and qualitative. Such neural pattern is analyzable in fully structural terms and thereby the hard problem is solved. PMID:24672510

  11. Acute loss of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Tristán, Bekinschtein; Gleichgerrcht, Ezequiel; Manes, Facundo

    2015-01-01

    Acute loss of consciousness poses a fascinating scenario for theoretical and clinical research. This chapter introduces a simple yet powerful framework to investigate altered states of consciousness. We then explore the different disorders of consciousness that result from acute brain injury, and techniques used in the acute phase to predict clinical outcome in different patient populations in light of models of acute loss of consciousness. We further delve into post-traumatic amnesia as a model for predicting cognitive sequels following acute loss of consciousness. We approach the study of acute loss of consciousness from a theoretical and clinical perspective to conclude that clinicians in acute care centers must incorporate new measurements and techniques besides the classic coma scales in order to assess their patients with loss of consciousness. PMID:25702218

  12. Music and Consciousness: A Continuing Project

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clarke, David; Clarke, Eric

    2014-01-01

    If there is a topic on which the humanities might make a distinctive claim, it is that of consciousness--an essential aspect of human being. And within the humanities, music might make its own claims in relation to both consciousness and being human. To investigate this connection, David Clarke and Eric Clarke brought together a wide variety of…

  13. Resting state activity and the "stream of consciousness" in schizophrenia--neurophenomenal hypotheses.

    PubMed

    Northoff, Georg

    2015-01-01

    Schizophrenia is a multifaceted disorder with various symptoms including auditory hallucinations, egodisturbances, passivity phenomena, and delusions. Recent neurobiological approaches have focused on, especially, the abnormal contents of consciousness, the "substantive parts" as James said, to associate them with the neural mechanisms related to sensory, motor, and cognitive functions, and the brain's underlying stimulus-induced or task-evoked activity. This leaves open, however, the neural mechanisms that provide the temporal linkage or glue between the various contents, the transitive parts that makes possible the "stream of consciousness." Interestingly, schizophrenic patients seem to suffer from abnormalities specifically in the "transitive parts" when they experience contents as temporally disconnected or fragmented which in phenomenological psychiatry has been described as "temporal fragmentation." The aim of this article is to develop so-called neurophenomenal hypothesis about the direct relationship between phenomenal features of the "stream of consciousness," the "transitive parts," and the specific neuronal mechanisms in schizophrenia as based on healthy subjects. Rather than emphasizing stimulus-induced and task-evoked activity and sensory and lateral prefrontal cortical regions as in neurocognitive approaches with their focus on the "substantive parts," the focus shifts here to the brain's intrinsic activity, its resting state activity, which may account for the temporal linkage or glue between the contents of consciousness, the transitive parts. PMID:25150784

  14. Differential neural responses to humans vs. robots: an event-related potential study.

    PubMed

    Hirai, Masahiro; Hiraki, Kazuo

    2007-08-24

    Do we perceive humanoid robots as human beings? Recent neuroimaging studies have reported similarity in the neural processing of human and robot actions in the superior temporal sulcus area but a differential neural response in the premotor area. These studies suggest that the neural activity of the occipitotemporal region would not be affected by appearance information. Unlike those studies, in this study, by using the inversion effect as an index, we demonstrated for the first time that the appearance information of a presented action affects neural responses in the occipitotemporal region. In event-related potential (ERP) studies, the inversion effect is the phenomenon whereby an upright face- and body-sensitive ERP component in the occipitotemporal region is enhanced and delayed up to 200 ms in response to an inverted face and body, but not to an inverted object. We used three kinds of walking animation with different appearance information (human, robot, and point-light) as well as inverted stimuli of each appearance. The anatomical structure and walking speed of the presented stimuli were all identical. The results showed that the inversion effect occurred in the right occipitotemporal region only in response to human appearance, and not robotic and point-light appearances. That is, the amplitude of the inverted condition of human appearance was significantly larger than that of the upright condition only. Our results, which are contrary to other recent neuroimaging studies, suggested that appearance information affects the neural response in the occipitotemporal region. PMID:17658496

  15. Transient and sustained neural responses to death-related linguistic cues.

    PubMed

    Shi, Zhenhao; Han, Shihui

    2013-06-01

    Recent research showed that perception of death-related vs death-unrelated linguistic cues produced increased frontoparietal activity but decreased insular activity. This study investigated (i) whether the increased frontoparietal and decreased insular activities are, respectively, associated with transient trial-specific processes of death-related linguistic cues and sustained death-related thought during death-relevance judgments on linguistic cues and (ii) whether the neural activity underlying death-related thought can predict individuals' dispositional death anxiety. Participants were presented with death-related/unrelated words, life-related/unrelated words, and negative-valence/neutral words in separate sessions. Participants were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing death-relevance, life-relevance, and valence judgments on the words, respectively. The contrast of death-related vs death-unrelated words during death-relevance judgments revealed transient increased activity in the left inferior parietal lobule, the right frontal eye field, and the right superior parietal lobule. The contrast of death-relevance judgments vs life-relevance/valence judgments showed decreased activity in the bilateral insula. The sustained insular activity was correlated with dispositional death anxiety, but only in those with weak transient frontoparietal responses to death-related words. Our results dissociate the transient and sustained neural responses to death-related linguistic cues and suggest that the combination of the transient and sustained neural activities can predict dispositional death anxiety. PMID:22422804

  16. Relating the sequential dynamics of excitatory neural networks to synaptic cellular automata.

    PubMed

    Nekorkin, V I; Dmitrichev, A S; Kasatkin, D V; Afraimovich, V S

    2011-12-01

    We have developed a new approach for the description of sequential dynamics of excitatory neural networks. Our approach is based on the dynamics of synapses possessing the short-term plasticity property. We suggest a model of such synapses in the form of a second-order system of nonlinear ODEs. In the framework of the model two types of responses are realized-the fast and the slow ones. Under some relations between their timescales a cellular automaton (CA) on the graph of connections is constructed. Such a CA has only a finite number of attractors and all of them are periodic orbits. The attractors of the CA determine the regimes of sequential dynamics of the original neural network, i.e., itineraries along the network and the times of successive firing of neurons in the form of bunches of spikes. We illustrate our approach on the example of a Morris-Lecar neural network. PMID:22225361

  17. Brain and conscious experience.

    PubMed

    Gazzaniga, M S

    1998-01-01

    brain possesses, the greater the awareness of capacities. Think of the variations in capacity within our own species; they are not unlike the vast differences between species. Years of split-brain research have informed us that the left hemisphere has many more mental capacities than the right one. The left is capable of logical feats that the right hemisphere cannot manage. Although the right has capacities such as facial recognition systems, it is a distant second with problem-solving skills. In short, the right hemisphere's level of awareness is limited. It knows precious little about a lot of things, but the limits to human capacity are everywhere in the population. No one need be offended to realize that just as someone with normal intelligence can understand Ohm's law, others, like yours truly, are clueless about Kepler's laws. I am ignorant about them and will remain so. I am unable to be aware about what they mean for the universe. The circuits that enable me to understand these things are not present in my brain. By emphasizing specialized circuits that arise from natural selection, we see that the brain is not a unified neural net that supports a general problem-solving device. With this being understood, we can concentrate on the possibility that smaller, more manageable circuits produce awareness of a species' capacities. Holding fast to the notion of a unified neural net means we can understand human conscious experience only by figuring out the interactions of billions of neurons. That task is hopeless. My scheme is not. Hence step 3. The very same split-brain research that exposed shocking differences between the two hemispheres also showed that the human left hemisphere has the interpreter. The left brain interpreter's job is to interpret our behavior and our responses, whether cognitive or emotional, to environmental challenges. It constantly establishes a running narrative of our actions, emotions, thoughts, and dreams. It is the glue that keeps our

  18. Correlates of reward-predictive value in learning-related hippocampal neural activity

    PubMed Central

    Okatan, Murat

    2009-01-01

    Temporal difference learning (TD) is a popular algorithm in machine learning. Two learning signals that are derived from this algorithm, the predictive value and the prediction error, have been shown to explain changes in neural activity and behavior during learning across species. Here, the predictive value signal is used to explain the time course of learning-related changes in the activity of hippocampal neurons in monkeys performing an associative learning task. The TD algorithm serves as the centerpiece of a joint probability model for the learning-related neural activity and the behavioral responses recorded during the task. The neural component of the model consists of spiking neurons that compete and learn the reward-predictive value of task-relevant input signals. The predictive-value signaled by these neurons influences the behavioral response generated by a stochastic decision stage, which constitutes the behavioral component of the model. It is shown that the time course of the changes in neural activity and behavioral performance generated by the model exhibits key features of the experimental data. The results suggest that information about correct associations may be expressed in the hippocampus before it is detected in the behavior of a subject. In this way, the hippocampus may be among the earliest brain areas to express learning and drive the behavioral changes associated with learning. Correlates of reward-predictive value may be expressed in the hippocampus through rate remapping within spatial memory representations, they may represent reward-related aspects of a declarative or explicit relational memory representation of task contingencies, or they may correspond to reward-related components of episodic memory representations. These potential functions are discussed in connection with hippocampal cell assembly sequences and their reverse reactivation during the awake state. The results provide further support for the proposal that neural

  19. The Influence of Consciousness Research

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Exceptional Children, 1978

    1978-01-01

    Presented is a conversation with Stanley Krippner, Program Planning Coordinator at the Humanistic Psychology Institute (San Francisco, California), on the field of psychoenergetics (the interdisciplinary investigation of the relationships among consciousness, energy, and matter) and its relation to special education. (SBH)

  20. Natural and Artificial Intelligence, Language, Consciousness, Emotion, and Anticipation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dubois, Daniel M.

    2010-11-01

    The classical paradigm of the neural brain as the seat of human natural intelligence is too restrictive. This paper defends the idea that the neural ectoderm is the actual brain, based on the development of the human embryo. Indeed, the neural ectoderm includes the neural crest, given by pigment cells in the skin and ganglia of the autonomic nervous system, and the neural tube, given by the brain, the spinal cord, and motor neurons. So the brain is completely integrated in the ectoderm, and cannot work alone. The paper presents fundamental properties of the brain as follows. Firstly, Paul D. MacLean proposed the triune human brain, which consists to three brains in one, following the species evolution, given by the reptilian complex, the limbic system, and the neo-cortex. Secondly, the consciousness and conscious awareness are analysed. Thirdly, the anticipatory unconscious free will and conscious free veto are described in agreement with the experiments of Benjamin Libet. Fourthly, the main section explains the development of the human embryo and shows that the neural ectoderm is the whole neural brain. Fifthly, a conjecture is proposed that the neural brain is completely programmed with scripts written in biological low-level and high-level languages, in a manner similar to the programmed cells by the genetic code. Finally, it is concluded that the proposition of the neural ectoderm as the whole neural brain is a breakthrough in the understanding of the natural intelligence, and also in the future design of robots with artificial intelligence.

  1. Phase of neural excitation relative to basilar membrane motion in the organ of Corti: Theoretical considerations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andoh, Masayoshi; Nakajima, Chihiro; Wada, Hiroshi

    2005-09-01

    Although the auditory transduction process is dependent on neural excitation of the auditory nerve in relation to motion of the basilar membrane (BM) in the organ of Corti (OC), specifics of this process are unclear. In this study, therefore, an attempt was made to estimate the phase of the neural excitation relative to the BM motion using a finite-element model of the OC at the basal turn of the gerbil, including the fluid-structure interaction with the lymph fluid. It was found that neural excitation occurs when the BM exhibits a maximum velocity toward the scala vestibuli at 10 Hz and shows a phase delay relative to the BM motion with increasing frequency up to 800 Hz. It then shows a phase advance until the frequency reaches 2 kHz. From 2 kHz, neural excitation again shows a phase delay with increasing frequency. From 800 Hz up to 2 kHz, the phase advances because the dominant force exerted on the hair bundle shifts from a velocity-dependent Couette flow-induced force to a displacement-dependent force induced by the pressure difference. The phase delay that occurs from 2 kHz is caused by the resonance process of the hair bundle of the IHC.

  2. Does perceptual learning require consciousness or attention?

    PubMed

    Meuwese, Julia D I; Post, Ruben A G; Scholte, H Steven; Lamme, Victor A F

    2013-10-01

    It has been proposed that visual attention and consciousness are separate [Koch, C., & Tsuchiya, N. Attention and consciousness: Two distinct brain processes. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11, 16-22, 2007] and possibly even orthogonal processes [Lamme, V. A. F. Why visual attention and awareness are different. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 12-18, 2003]. Attention and consciousness converge when conscious visual percepts are attended and hence become available for conscious report. In such a view, a lack of reportability can have two causes: the absence of attention or the absence of a conscious percept. This raises an important question in the field of perceptual learning. It is known that learning can occur in the absence of reportability [Gutnisky, D. A., Hansen, B. J., Iliescu, B. F., & Dragoi, V. Attention alters visual plasticity during exposure-based learning. Current Biology, 19, 555-560, 2009; Seitz, A. R., Kim, D., & Watanabe, T. Rewards evoke learning of unconsciously processed visual stimuli in adult humans. Neuron, 61, 700-707, 2009; Seitz, A. R., & Watanabe, T. Is subliminal learning really passive? Nature, 422, 36, 2003; Watanabe, T., Náñez, J. E., & Sasaki, Y. Perceptual learning without perception. Nature, 413, 844-848, 2001], but it is unclear which of the two ingredients-consciousness or attention-is not necessary for learning. We presented textured figure-ground stimuli and manipulated reportability either by masking (which only interferes with consciousness) or with an inattention paradigm (which only interferes with attention). During the second session (24 hr later), learning was assessed neurally and behaviorally, via differences in figure-ground ERPs and via a detection task. Behavioral and neural learning effects were found for stimuli presented in the inattention paradigm and not for masked stimuli. Interestingly, the behavioral learning effect only became apparent when performance feedback was given on the task to measure learning

  3. Age-Related Changes to the Neural Correlates of Social Evaluation

    PubMed Central

    Cassidy, Brittany S.; Shih, Joanne Y.; Gutchess, Angela H.

    2012-01-01

    Recent work suggests the existence of a specialized neural system underlying social processing that may be relatively spared with age, unlike pervasive aging-related decline occurring in many cognitive domains. We investigated how neural mechanisms underlying social evaluation are engaged with age, and how age-related changes to socioemotional goals affect recruitment of regions within this network. In a functional MRI study, fifteen young and fifteen older adults formed behavior-based impressions of individuals. They also responded to a prompt that was interpersonally meaningful, social but interpersonally irrelevant, or non-social. Both age groups engaged regions implicated in mentalizing and impression formation when making social relative to non-social evaluations, including dorsal and ventral medial prefrontal cortices, precuneus, and temporoparietal junction. Older adults had increased activation over young in right temporal pole when making social relative to non-social evaluations, suggesting reliance on past experiences when evaluating others. Young had greater activation than old in posterior cingulate gyrus when making interpersonally irrelevant, compared to interpersonally meaningful, evaluations, potentially reflecting enhanced valuation of this information. The findings demonstrate the age-related preservation of the neural correlates underlying social evaluation, and suggest that functioning in these regions might be mediated by age-related changes in socioemotional goals. PMID:22439896

  4. Exploring self-compassion as a refuge against recalling the body-related shaming of caregiver eating messages on dimensions of objectified body consciousness in college women.

    PubMed

    Daye, Chesnee A; Webb, Jennifer B; Jafari, Nadia

    2014-09-01

    Guided by an overarching body-related shame regulation framework, the present investigation examined the associations between caregiver eating messages and dimensions of objectified body consciousness and further explored whether self-compassion moderated these links in a sample of 322 U.S. college women. Correlational findings indicated that retrospective accounts of restrictive/critical caregiver eating messages were positively related to body shame and negatively related to self-compassion and appearance control beliefs. Recollections of experiencing pressure to eat from caregivers were positively correlated with body shame and inversely associated with appearance control beliefs. Higher self-compassion was associated with lower body shame and body surveillance. Self-compassion attenuated the associations between restrictive/critical caregiver eating messages and both body surveillance and body shame. Implications for advancing our understanding of the adaptive properties of a self-compassionate self-regulatory style in mitigating recall of familial body-related shaming on the internalized body-related shame regulating processes of body objectification in emerging adulthood are discussed. PMID:25195124

  5. Consciousness: a neurological perspective.

    PubMed

    Cavanna, Andrea E; Shah, Sachin; Eddy, Clare M; Williams, Adrian; Rickards, Hugh

    2011-01-01

    Consciousness is a state so essentially entwined with human experience, yet so difficult to conceptually define and measure. In this article, we explore how a bidimensional model of consciousness involving both level of arousal and subjective awareness of the contents of consciousness can be used to differentiate a range of healthy and altered conscious states. These include the different sleep stages of healthy individuals and the altered states of consciousness associated with neurological conditions such as epilepsy, vegetative state and coma. In particular, we discuss how arousal and awareness are positively correlated in normal physiological states with the exception of REM sleep, while a disturbance in this relationship is characteristic of vegetative state, minimally conscious state, complex partial seizures and sleepwalking. PMID:21447904

  6. Cognitive flexibility modulates maturation and music-training-related changes in neural sound discrimination.

    PubMed

    Saarikivi, Katri; Putkinen, Vesa; Tervaniemi, Mari; Huotilainen, Minna

    2016-07-01

    Previous research has demonstrated that musicians show superior neural sound discrimination when compared to non-musicians, and that these changes emerge with accumulation of training. Our aim was to investigate whether individual differences in executive functions predict training-related changes in neural sound discrimination. We measured event-related potentials induced by sound changes coupled with tests for executive functions in musically trained and non-trained children aged 9-11 years and 13-15 years. High performance in a set-shifting task, indexing cognitive flexibility, was linked to enhanced maturation of neural sound discrimination in both musically trained and non-trained children. Specifically, well-performing musically trained children already showed large mismatch negativity (MMN) responses at a young age as well as at an older age, indicating accurate sound discrimination. In contrast, the musically trained low-performing children still showed an increase in MMN amplitude with age, suggesting that they were behind their high-performing peers in the development of sound discrimination. In the non-trained group, in turn, only the high-performing children showed evidence of an age-related increase in MMN amplitude, and the low-performing children showed a small MMN with no age-related change. These latter results suggest an advantage in MMN development also for high-performing non-trained individuals. For the P3a amplitude, there was an age-related increase only in the children who performed well in the set-shifting task, irrespective of music training, indicating enhanced attention-related processes in these children. Thus, the current study provides the first evidence that, in children, cognitive flexibility may influence age-related and training-related plasticity of neural sound discrimination. PMID:26797826

  7. Global workspace dynamics: cortical "binding and propagation" enables conscious contents.

    PubMed

    Baars, Bernard J; Franklin, Stan; Ramsoy, Thomas Zoega

    2013-01-01

    A global workspace (GW) is a functional hub of binding and propagation in a population of loosely coupled signaling elements. In computational applications, GW architectures recruit many distributed, specialized agents to cooperate in resolving focal ambiguities. In the brain, conscious experiences may reflect a GW function. For animals, the natural world is full of unpredictable dangers and opportunities, suggesting a general adaptive pressure for brains to resolve focal ambiguities quickly and accurately. GW theory aims to understand the differences between conscious and unconscious brain events. In humans and related species the cortico-thalamic (C-T) core is believed to underlie conscious aspects of perception, thinking, learning, feelings of knowing (FOK), felt emotions, visual imagery, working memory, and executive control. Alternative theoretical perspectives are also discussed. The C-T core has many anatomical hubs, but conscious percepts are unitary and internally consistent at any given moment. Over time, conscious contents constitute a very large, open set. This suggests that a brain-based GW capacity cannot be localized in a single anatomical hub. Rather, it should be sought in a functional hub - a dynamic capacity for binding and propagation of neural signals over multiple task-related networks, a kind of neuronal cloud computing. In this view, conscious contents can arise in any region of the C-T core when multiple input streams settle on a winner-take-all equilibrium. The resulting conscious gestalt may ignite an any-to-many broadcast, lasting ∼100-200 ms, and trigger widespread adaptation in previously established networks. To account for the great range of conscious contents over time, the theory suggests an open repertoire of binding coalitions that can broadcast via theta/gamma or alpha/gamma phase coupling, like radio channels competing for a narrow frequency band. Conscious moments are thought to hold only 1-4 unrelated items; this small

  8. Calorie Restriction Alleviates Age-Related Decrease in Neural Progenitor Cell Division in the Aging Brain

    PubMed Central

    Park, June-Hee; Glass, Zachary; Sayed, Kasim; Michurina, Tatyana V.; Lazutkin, Alexander; Mineyeva, Olga; Velmeshev, Dmitry; Ward, Walter F.; Richardson, Arlan; Enikolopov, Grigori

    2013-01-01

    Production of new neurons from stem cells is important for cognitive function, and the reduction of neurogenesis in the aging brain may contribute to the accumulation of age-related cognitive deficits. Restriction of calorie intake and prolonged treatment with rapamycin have been shown to extend the lifespan of animals and delay the onset of age-related decline in tissue and organ function. Using a reporter line in which neural stem and progenitor cells are marked by the expression of GFP, we examined the effect of prolonged exposure to calorie restriction (CR) or rapamycin on hippocampal neural stem and progenitor cell proliferation in aging mice. We show that CR increases the number of dividing cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) of female mice. The majority of these cells corresponded to Nestin-GFP-expressing neural stem or progenitor cells; however, this increased proliferative activity of stem and progenitor cells did not result in a significant increase in the number of doublecortin-positive newborn neurons. Our results suggest that restricted calorie intake may increase the number of divisions that neural stem and progenitor cells undergo in the aging brain of females. PMID:23773068

  9. A neurofunctional theory of visual consciousness.

    PubMed

    Prinz, J

    2000-06-01

    This paper develops an empirically motivated theory of visual consciousness. It begins by outlining neuropsychological support for Jackendoff's (1987) hypothesis that visual consciousness involves mental representations at an intermediate level of processing. It then supplements that hypothesis with the further requirement that attention, which can come under the direction of high level representations, is also necessary for consciousness. The resulting theory is shown to have a number of philosophical consequences. If correct, higher-order thought accounts, the multiple drafts account, and the widely held belief that sensation precedes perception will all be found wanting. The theory will also be used to illustrate and defend a methodology that fills the gulf between functionalists who ignore the brain and neural reductionists who repudiate functionalism. PMID:10924244

  10. Neural Basis of Intrinsic Motivation: Evidence from Event-Related Potentials.

    PubMed

    Jin, Jia; Yu, Liping; Ma, Qingguo

    2015-01-01

    Human intrinsic motivation is of great importance in human behavior. However, although researchers have focused on this topic for decades, its neural basis was still unclear. The current study employed event-related potentials to investigate the neural disparity between an interesting stop-watch (SW) task and a boring watch-stop task (WS) to understand the neural mechanisms of intrinsic motivation. Our data showed that, in the cue priming stage, the cue of the SW task elicited smaller N2 amplitude than that of the WS task. Furthermore, in the outcome feedback stage, the outcome of the SW task induced smaller FRN amplitude and larger P300 amplitude than that of the WS task. These results suggested that human intrinsic motivation did exist and that it can be detected at the neural level. Furthermore, intrinsic motivation could be quantitatively indexed by the amplitude of ERP components, such as N2, FRN, and P300, in the cue priming stage or feedback stage. Quantitative measurements would also be convenient for intrinsic motivation to be added as a candidate social factor in the construction of a machine learning model. PMID:26491430

  11. Brain activations during judgments of positive self-conscious emotion and positive basic emotion: pride and joy.

    PubMed

    Takahashi, Hidehiko; Matsuura, Masato; Koeda, Michihiko; Yahata, Noriaki; Suhara, Tetsuya; Kato, Motoichiro; Okubo, Yoshiro

    2008-04-01

    We aimed to investigate the neural correlates associated with judgments of a positive self-conscious emotion, pride, and elucidate the difference between pride and a basic positive emotion, joy, at the neural basis level using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Study of the neural basis associated with pride might contribute to a better understanding of the pride-related behaviors observed in neuropsychiatric disorders. Sixteen healthy volunteers were studied. The participants read sentences expressing joy or pride contents during the scans. Pride conditions activated the right posterior superior temporal sulcus and left temporal pole, the regions implicated in the neural substrate of social cognition or theory of mind. However, against our prediction, we did not find brain activation in the medial prefrontal cortex, a region responsible for inferring others' intention or self-reflection. Joy condition produced activations in the ventral striatum and insula/operculum, the key nodes of processing of hedonic or appetitive stimuli. Our results support the idea that pride is a self-conscious emotion, requiring the ability to detect the intention of others. At the same time, judgment of pride might require less self-reflection compared with those of negative self-conscious emotions such as guilt or embarrassment. PMID:17638925

  12. Neural dissociation of food- and money-related reward processing using an abstract incentive delay task.

    PubMed

    Simon, Joe J; Skunde, Mandy; Wu, Mudan; Schnell, Knut; Herpertz, Sabine C; Bendszus, Martin; Herzog, Wolfgang; Friederich, Hans-Christoph

    2015-08-01

    Food is an innate reward stimulus related to energy homeostasis and survival, whereas money is considered a more general reward stimulus that gains a rewarding value through learning experiences. Although the underlying neural processing for both modalities of reward has been investigated independently from one another, a more detailed investigation of neural similarities and/or differences between food and monetary reward is still missing. Here, we investigated the neural processing of food compared with monetary-related rewards in 27 healthy, normal-weight women using functional magnetic resonance imaging. We developed a task distinguishing between the anticipation and the receipt of either abstract food or monetary reward. Both tasks activated the ventral striatum during the expectation of a reward. Compared with money, greater food-related activations were observed in prefrontal, parietal and central midline structures during the anticipation and lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC) during the receipt of food reward. Furthermore, during the receipt of food reward, brain activation in the secondary taste cortex was positively related to the body mass index. These results indicate that food-dependent activations encompass to a greater extent brain regions involved in self-control and self-reflection during the anticipation and phylogenetically older parts of the lOFC during the receipt of reward. PMID:25552570

  13. Neural dissociation of food- and money-related reward processing using an abstract incentive delay task

    PubMed Central

    Skunde, Mandy; Wu, Mudan; Schnell, Knut; Herpertz, Sabine C.; Bendszus, Martin; Herzog, Wolfgang; Friederich, Hans-Christoph

    2015-01-01

    Food is an innate reward stimulus related to energy homeostasis and survival, whereas money is considered a more general reward stimulus that gains a rewarding value through learning experiences. Although the underlying neural processing for both modalities of reward has been investigated independently from one another, a more detailed investigation of neural similarities and/or differences between food and monetary reward is still missing. Here, we investigated the neural processing of food compared with monetary-related rewards in 27 healthy, normal-weight women using functional magnetic resonance imaging. We developed a task distinguishing between the anticipation and the receipt of either abstract food or monetary reward. Both tasks activated the ventral striatum during the expectation of a reward. Compared with money, greater food-related activations were observed in prefrontal, parietal and central midline structures during the anticipation and lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC) during the receipt of food reward. Furthermore, during the receipt of food reward, brain activation in the secondary taste cortex was positively related to the body mass index. These results indicate that food-dependent activations encompass to a greater extent brain regions involved in self-control and self-reflection during the anticipation and phylogenetically older parts of the lOFC during the receipt of reward. PMID:25552570

  14. Age-related decline in differentiated neural responses to rare target versus frequent standard stimuli.

    PubMed

    Mott, Katherine K; Alperin, Brittany R; Holcomb, Phillip J; Daffner, Kirk R

    2014-10-31

    One mechanism hypothesized to contribute to cognitive aging is the failure to recruit specialized neural modules and generate differentiated neural responses to various classes of stimuli. Here, ERPs were used to examine the extent to which target and standard stimulus types were processed differently by well-matched adults ages 19-99. Subjects responded to designated visual target letters under low and high load conditions. Temporospatial PCA was used to parse the P3b component, an index of categorization/memory updating. The P3b amplitude difference between targets and standards decreased substantially as a function of age. Dedifferentiation began in middle age, and continued into old-old age. The reduced differentiation of neural responses was driven by an age-related decline in the size of the P3b to targets and an age-related increase in the P3b to standards. Larger P3b amplitude to standards among older subjects was associated with higher executive capacity and better task performance. In summary, dedifferentiation begins relatively early in adulthood and progresses in a linear fashion throughout the lifespan. The age-related augmentation of the P3b to standards appears to reflect a compensatory mechanism that helps maintain task performance. PMID:25171804

  15. Age-related decline in differentiated neural responses to rare target versus frequent standard stimuli

    PubMed Central

    Mott, Katherine K.; Alperin, Brittany R.; Holcomb, Phillip J.; Daffner, Kirk R.

    2014-01-01

    One mechanism hypothesized to contribute to cognitive aging is the failure to recruit specialized neural modules and generate differentiated neural responses to various classes of stimuli. Here, ERPs were used to examine the extent to which target and standard stimulus types were processed differently by well-matched adults ages 19–99. Subjects responded to designated visual target letters under low and high load conditions. Temporospatial PCA was used to parse the P3b component, an index of categorization/memory updating. The P3b amplitude difference between targets and standards decreased substantially as a function of age. Dedifferentiation began in middle age, and continued into old-old age. The reduced differentiation of neural responses was driven by an age-related decline in the size of the P3b to targets and an age-related increase in the P3b to standards. Larger P3b amplitude to standards among older subjects was associated with higher executive capacity and better task performance. In summary, dedifferentiation begins relatively early in adulthood and progresses in a linear fashion throughout the lifespan. The age-related augmentation of the P3b to standards appears to reflect a compensatory mechanism that helps maintain task performance. PMID:25171804

  16. Perception of race-related features modulates neural activity associated with action observation and imitation.

    PubMed

    Earls, Holly A; Englander, Zoë A; Morris, James P

    2013-05-29

    The present study examines whether race-specific features affect biological motion perception. Activation of the neural action observation and imitation network was measured using functional MRI. During scanning, individuals were asked to imitate and observe basic hand movements of own-race and other-race actors. Results indicate that three key areas often associated with action observation and imitation, the inferior parietal lobule, superior parietal lobule, and superior temporal sulcus, were more active when participants imitated and observed hand movements of own-race relative to other-race actors. These findings indicate that several regions associated with the neural imitation/observation network are sensitive to race-related features. PMID:23571693

  17. Relative entropy minimizing noisy non-linear neural network to approximate stochastic processes.

    PubMed

    Galtier, Mathieu N; Marini, Camille; Wainrib, Gilles; Jaeger, Herbert

    2014-08-01

    A method is provided for designing and training noise-driven recurrent neural networks as models of stochastic processes. The method unifies and generalizes two known separate modeling approaches, Echo State Networks (ESN) and Linear Inverse Modeling (LIM), under the common principle of relative entropy minimization. The power of the new method is demonstrated on a stochastic approximation of the El Niño phenomenon studied in climate research. PMID:24815743

  18. Measurement of relative density of tissue using wavelet analysis and neural nets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suyatinov, Sergey I.; Kolentev, Sergey V.; Buldakova, Tatyana I.

    2001-01-01

    Development of methods for indirect measurement of substance's consistence and characteristics is highly actual problem of medical diagnostics. Many diseases bring about changes of tissue density or appearances of alien bodies (e.g. stones in kidneys or gallbladders). Propose to use wavelet-analysis and neural nets for indirect measurement of relative density of tissue by images of internal organs. It shall allow to reveal a disease on early stage.

  19. The evolution of consciousness

    SciTech Connect

    Stapp, H.P.

    1996-08-16

    It is argued that the principles of classical physics are inimical to the development of an adequate science of consciousness. The problem is that insofar as the classical principles are valid consciousness can have no effect on the behavior, and hence on the survival prospects, of the organisms in which it inheres. Thus within the classical framework it is not possible to explain in natural terms the development of consciousness to the high-level form found in human beings. In quantum theory, on the other hand, consciousness can be dynamically efficacious: quantum theory does allow consciousness to influence behavior, and thence to evolve in accordance with the principles of natural selection. However, this evolutionary requirement places important constraints upon the details of the formulation of the quantum dynamical principles.

  20. Perceptual Salience and Reward Both Influence Feedback-Related Neural Activity Arising from Choice.

    PubMed

    Lou, Bin; Hsu, Wha-Yin; Sajda, Paul

    2015-09-23

    For day-to-day decisions, multiple factors influence our choice between alternatives. Two dimensions of decision making that substantially affect choice are the objective perceptual properties of the stimulus (e.g., salience) and its subjective value. Here we measure EEGs in human subjects to relate their feedback-evoked EEG responses to estimates of prediction error given a neurally derived expected value for each trial. Unlike in traditional reinforcement learning paradigms, in our experiment the reward itself is not probabilistic; rather, it is a fixed value, which, when combined with the variable stimulus salience, yields uncertainty in the choice. We find that feedback-evoked event-related potentials (ERPs), specifically those classically termed feedback-related negativity, are modulated by both the reward level and stimulus salience. Using single-trial analysis of the EEG, we show stimulus-locked EEG components reflecting perceived stimulus salience can be combined with the level of reward to create an estimate of expected reward. This expected reward is used to form a prediction error that correlates with the trial-by-trial variability of the feedback ERPs for negative, but not positive, feedback. This suggests that the valence of prediction error is more important than the valence of the actual feedback, since only positive rewards were delivered in the experiment (no penalty or loss). Finally, we show that these subjectively defined prediction errors are informative of the riskiness of the subject's choice on the subsequent trial. In summary, our work shows that neural correlates of stimulus salience interact with value information to yield neural representations of subjective expected reward. Significance statement: How we make perceptual decisions depends on sensory evidence and the value of our options. These two factors often interact to yield subjective decisions; i.e., individuals integrate sensory evidence and value to form their own estimates of

  1. Perceptual Salience and Reward Both Influence Feedback-Related Neural Activity Arising from Choice

    PubMed Central

    Lou, Bin; Hsu, Wha-Yin

    2015-01-01

    For day-to-day decisions, multiple factors influence our choice between alternatives. Two dimensions of decision making that substantially affect choice are the objective perceptual properties of the stimulus (e.g., salience) and its subjective value. Here we measure EEGs in human subjects to relate their feedback-evoked EEG responses to estimates of prediction error given a neurally derived expected value for each trial. Unlike in traditional reinforcement learning paradigms, in our experiment the reward itself is not probabilistic; rather, it is a fixed value, which, when combined with the variable stimulus salience, yields uncertainty in the choice. We find that feedback-evoked event-related potentials (ERPs), specifically those classically termed feedback-related negativity, are modulated by both the reward level and stimulus salience. Using single-trial analysis of the EEG, we show stimulus-locked EEG components reflecting perceived stimulus salience can be combined with the level of reward to create an estimate of expected reward. This expected reward is used to form a prediction error that correlates with the trial-by-trial variability of the feedback ERPs for negative, but not positive, feedback. This suggests that the valence of prediction error is more important than the valence of the actual feedback, since only positive rewards were delivered in the experiment (no penalty or loss). Finally, we show that these subjectively defined prediction errors are informative of the riskiness of the subject's choice on the subsequent trial. In summary, our work shows that neural correlates of stimulus salience interact with value information to yield neural representations of subjective expected reward. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT How we make perceptual decisions depends on sensory evidence and the value of our options. These two factors often interact to yield subjective decisions; i.e., individuals integrate sensory evidence and value to form their own estimates of

  2. Why the Brain Knows More than We Do: Non-Conscious Representations and Their Role in the Construction of Conscious Experience

    PubMed Central

    Dresp-Langley, Birgitta

    2011-01-01

    Scientific studies have shown that non-conscious stimuli and representations influence information processing during conscious experience. In the light of such evidence, questions about potential functional links between non-conscious brain representations and conscious experience arise. This article discusses neural model capable of explaining how statistical learning mechanisms in dedicated resonant circuits could generate specific temporal activity traces of non-conscious representations in the brain. How reentrant signaling, top-down matching, and statistical coincidence of such activity traces may lead to the progressive consolidation of temporal patterns that constitute the neural signatures of conscious experience in networks extending across large distances beyond functionally specialized brain regions is then explained. PMID:24962683

  3. The Vegetative State and the Science of Consciousness*

    PubMed Central

    Shea, Nicholas; Bayne, Tim

    2012-01-01

    Consciousness in experimental subjects is typically inferred from reports and other forms of voluntary behaviour. A wealth of everyday experience confirms that healthy subjects do not ordinarily behave in these ways unless they are conscious. Investigation of consciousness in vegetative state patients has been based on the search for neural evidence that such broad functional capacities are preserved in some vegetative state patients. We call this the standard approach. To date, the results of the standard approach have suggested that some vegetative state patients might indeed be conscious, although they fall short of being demonstrative. The fact that some vegetative state patients show evidence of consciousness according to the standard approach is remarkable, for the standard approach to consciousness is rather conservative, and leaves open the pressing question of how to ascertain whether patients who fail such tests are conscious or not. We argue for a cluster-based ‘natural kind’ methodology that is adequate to that task, both as a replacement for the approach that currently informs research into the presence or absence of consciousness in vegetative state patients and as a methodology for the science of consciousness more generally. PMID:22654125

  4. Neural Connectivity and Immunocytochemical Studies of Anatomical Sites Related to Nauseogenic and Emetic Reflexes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fox, Robert A. (Principal Investigator)

    1992-01-01

    The studies conducted in this research project examined several aspects of neuroanatomical structures and neurochemical processes related to motion sickness in animal models. A principle objective of these studies was to investigate neurochemical changes in the central nervous system that are related to motion sickness with the objective of defining neural mechanisms important to this malady. For purposes of exposition, the studies and research finding have been classified into five categories. These are: immunoreactivity in the brainstem, vasopressin effects, lesion studies of area postrema, role of the vagus nerve, and central nervous system structure related to adaptation to microgravity.

  5. Does Socio-Economic Status and Health Consciousness Influence How Women Respond to Health Related Messages in Media?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Iversen, Anette Christine; Kraft, Pal

    2006-01-01

    During the past few decades, people have been increasingly exposed to health-related messages in the mass media, conveying recommendations for healthy lifestyles. The present study investigates whether these messages represent a stressor, and whether coping responses increase levels of motivation or levels of negative affect. A sample of 403 women…

  6. A unified 3D default space consciousness model combining neurological and physiological processes that underlie conscious experience

    PubMed Central

    Jerath, Ravinder; Crawford, Molly W.; Barnes, Vernon A.

    2015-01-01

    The Global Workspace Theory and Information Integration Theory are two of the most currently accepted consciousness models; however, these models do not address many aspects of conscious experience. We compare these models to our previously proposed consciousness model in which the thalamus fills-in processed sensory information from corticothalamic feedback loops within a proposed 3D default space, resulting in the recreation of the internal and external worlds within the mind. This 3D default space is composed of all cells of the body, which communicate via gap junctions and electrical potentials to create this unified space. We use 3D illustrations to explain how both visual and non-visual sensory information may be filled-in within this dynamic space, creating a unified seamless conscious experience. This neural sensory memory space is likely generated by baseline neural oscillatory activity from the default mode network, other salient networks, brainstem, and reticular activating system. PMID:26379573

  7. Folate-related gene variants in Irish families affected by neural tube defects

    PubMed Central

    Fisk Green, Ridgely; Byrne, Julianne; Crider, Krista S.; Gallagher, Margaret; Koontz, Deborah; Berry, Robert J.

    2013-01-01

    Periconceptional folic acid use can often prevent neural tube defects (NTDs). Variants of genes involved in folate metabolism in mothers and children have been associated with occurrence of NTDs. We identified Irish families with individuals affected by neural tube defects. In these families, we observed that neural tube defects and birth defects overall occurred at a higher rate in the maternal lineage compared with the paternal lineage. The goal of this study was to look for evidence for genetic effects that could explain the discrepancy in the occurrence of these birth defects in the maternal vs. paternal lineage. We genotyped blood samples from 322 individuals from NTD-affected Irish families, identified through their membership in spina bifida associations. We looked for differences in distribution in maternal vs. paternal lineages of five genetic polymorphisms: the DHFR 19 bp deletion, MTHFD1 1958G>A, MTHFR 1298A>C, MTHFR 677C>T, and SLC19A1 80A>G. In addition to looking at genotypes individually, we determined the number of genotypes associated with decreased folate metabolism in each relative (“risk genotypes”) and compared the distribution of these genotypes in maternal vs. paternal relatives. Overall, maternal relatives had a higher number of genotypes associated with lower folate metabolism than paternal relatives (p = 0.017). We expected that relatives would share the same risk genotype as the individuals with NTDs and/or their mothers. However, we observed that maternal relatives had an over-abundance of any risk genotype, rather than one specific genotype. The observed genetic effects suggest an epigenetic mechanism in which decreased folate metabolism results in epigenetic alterations related to the increased rate of NTDs and other birth defects seen in the maternal lineage. Future studies on the etiology of NTDs and other birth defects could benefit from including multigenerational extended families, in order to explore potential epigenetic

  8. ERPS to Monitor Non-conscious Mentation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donchin, E.

    1984-01-01

    Event Related Brain Potentials (or ERPs) are extracted from the EEG that can be recorded between a pair of electrodes placed on a person's scalp. The EEG is recorded as a continual fluctuation in voltage. It is the results of the integration of the potential fields generated by a multitude of neuronal ensembles that are active as the brain goes about its business. Within this ongoing signal it is possible to distinguish voltage fluctuations that are triggered in neural structures by the occurrence of specific events. This activity, evoked as it is by an external event, is known as the Evoked, or Event Related, Potential. The ERPs provide a unique opportunity to monitor non-conscious mentation. The inferences that can be based on ERP data are described and the limits of these inferences are emphasized. This, however, will not be an exhaustive review of the use of ERPs in Engineering Psychology. The application, its scope, and its limitations will be illustrated by means of one example. This example is preceded by a brief technical introduction to the methodology used in the study of ERPs. The manner in which ERPs are used to study cognition is described.

  9. Sex-related similarities and differences in the neural correlates of beauty

    PubMed Central

    Cela-Conde, Camilo J.; Ayala, Francisco J.; Munar, Enric; Maestú, Fernando; Nadal, Marcos; Capó, Miguel A.; del Río, David; López-Ibor, Juan J.; Ortiz, Tomás; Mirasso, Claudio; Marty, Gisèle

    2009-01-01

    The capacity to appreciate beauty is one of our species' most remarkable traits. Although knowledge about its neural correlates is growing, little is known about any gender-related differences. We have explored possible differences between men and women's neural correlates of aesthetic preference. We have used magnetoencephalography to record the brain activity of 10 male and 10 female participants while they decided whether or not they considered examples of artistic and natural visual stimuli to be beautiful. Our results reveal significantly different activity between the sexes in parietal regions when participants judged the stimuli as beautiful. Activity in this region was bilateral in women, whereas it was lateralized to the right hemisphere in men. It is known that the dorsal visual processing stream, which encompasses the superior parietal areas, has been significantly modified throughout human evolution. We posit that the observed gender-related differences are the result of evolutionary processes that occurred after the splitting of the human and chimpanzee lineages. In view of previous results on gender differences with respect to the neural correlates of coordinate and categorical spatial strategies, we infer that the different strategies used by men and women in assessing aesthetic preference may reflect differences in the strategies associated with the division of labor between our male and female hunter-gatherer hominin ancestors. PMID:19237562

  10. Modeling of relative intensity noise and terminal electrical noise of semiconductor lasers using artificial neural network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rezaei, A.; Noori, L.

    2016-06-01

    In this paper, artificial neural network (ANN) is used to predict the source laser's relative intensity noise (RIN) and the terminal electrical noise (TEN) of semiconductor lasers. For this purpose, the multi-layer perceptron (MLP) neural network trained with the back propagation algorithm is used. To develop this model, the normalized bias current and frequency are selected as the input parameters and the RIN and TEN of semiconductor lasers are selected as the output parameters. The obtained results show that the proposed ANN model is in a good agreement with the numerical method, and a small error between the predicted values and the numerical solution is obtained. Therefore, the proposed ANN model is a useful, reliable, fast and cheap tool to predict the RIN and TEN of semiconductor lasers.

  11. Neural representation of orientation relative to gravity in the macaque cerebellum

    PubMed Central

    Laurens, Jean; Meng, Hui; Angelaki, Dora E.

    2013-01-01

    Summary A fundamental challenge for maintaining spatial orientation and interacting with the world is knowledge of our orientation relative to gravity, i.e. tilt. Sensing gravity is complicated because of Einstein’s equivalence principle, where gravitational and translational accelerations are physically indistinguishable. Theory has proposed that this ambiguity is solved by tracking head tilt through multisensory integration. Here we identify a group of Purkinje cells in the caudal cerebellar vermis with responses that reflect an estimate of head tilt. These tilt-selective cells are complementary to translation-selective Purkinje cells, such that their population activities sum to the net gravito-inertial acceleration encoded by the otolith organs, as predicted by theory. These findings reflect the remarkable ability of the cerebellum for neural computation and provide novel quantitative evidence for a neural representation of gravity, whose calculation relies on long-postulated theoretical concepts such as internal models and Bayesian priors. PMID:24360549

  12. On the Character of Consciousness.

    PubMed

    Annila, Arto

    2016-01-01

    The human brain is a particularly demanding system to infer its nature from observations. Thus, there is on one hand plenty of room for theorizing and on the other hand a pressing need for a rigorous theory. We apply statistical mechanics of open systems to describe the brain as a hierarchical system in consuming free energy in least time. This holistic tenet accounts for cellular metabolism, neuronal signaling, cognitive processes all together, or any other process by a formal equation of motion that extends down to the ultimate precision of one quantum of action. According to this general thermodynamic theory cognitive processes are no different by their operational and organizational principle from other natural processes. Cognition too will emerge and evolve along path-dependent and non-determinate trajectories by consuming free energy in least time to attain thermodynamic balance within the nervous system itself and with its surrounding systems. Specifically, consciousness can be ascribed to a natural process that integrates various neural networks for coherent consumption of free energy, i.e., for meaningful deeds. The whole hierarchy of integrated systems can be formally summed up to thermodynamic entropy. The holistic tenet provides insight to the character of consciousness also by acknowledging awareness in other systems at other levels of nature's hierarchy. PMID:27065819

  13. On the Character of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Annila, Arto

    2016-01-01

    The human brain is a particularly demanding system to infer its nature from observations. Thus, there is on one hand plenty of room for theorizing and on the other hand a pressing need for a rigorous theory. We apply statistical mechanics of open systems to describe the brain as a hierarchical system in consuming free energy in least time. This holistic tenet accounts for cellular metabolism, neuronal signaling, cognitive processes all together, or any other process by a formal equation of motion that extends down to the ultimate precision of one quantum of action. According to this general thermodynamic theory cognitive processes are no different by their operational and organizational principle from other natural processes. Cognition too will emerge and evolve along path-dependent and non-determinate trajectories by consuming free energy in least time to attain thermodynamic balance within the nervous system itself and with its surrounding systems. Specifically, consciousness can be ascribed to a natural process that integrates various neural networks for coherent consumption of free energy, i.e., for meaningful deeds. The whole hierarchy of integrated systems can be formally summed up to thermodynamic entropy. The holistic tenet provides insight to the character of consciousness also by acknowledging awareness in other systems at other levels of nature's hierarchy. PMID:27065819

  14. Consciousness during dreams.

    PubMed

    Cicogna, P C; Bosinelli, M

    2001-03-01

    Two aspects of consciousness are first considered: consciousness as awareness (phenomenological meaning) and consciousness as strategic control (functional meaning). As to awareness, three types can be distinguished: first, awareness as the phenomenal experiences of objects and events; second, awareness as meta-awareness, i.e., the awareness of mental life itself; third, awareness as self-awareness, i.e., the awareness of being oneself. While phenomenal experience and self-awareness are usually present during dreaming (even if many modifications are possible), meta-awareness is usually absent (apart from some particular experiences of self-reflectiveness) with the major exception of lucid dreaming. Consciousness as strategic control may also be present in dreams. The functioning of consciousness is then analyzed, following a cognitive model of dream production. In such a model, the dream is supposed to be the product of the interaction of three components: (a) the bottom-up activation of mnemonic elements coming from LTM systems, (b) interpretative and elaborative top-down processes, and (c) monitoring of phenomenal experience. A feedback circulation is activated among the components, where the top-down interpretative organization and the conscious monitoring of the oneiric scene elicitates other mnemonic contents, according to the requirements of the dream plot. This dream productive activity is submitted to unconscious and conscious processes. PMID:11273624

  15. Relations among pure-tone sound stimuli, neural activity, and the loudness sensation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howes, W. L.

    1972-01-01

    Both the physiological and psychological responses to pure-tone sound stimuli are used to derive formulas which: (1) relate the loudness, loudness level, and sound-pressure level of pure tones; (2) apply continuously over most of the acoustic regime, including the loudness threshold; and (3) contain no undetermined coefficients. Some of the formulas are fundamental for calculating the loudness of any sound. Power-law formulas relating the pure-tone sound stimulus, neural activity, and loudness are derived from published data.

  16. Impaired regulation of emotion: neural correlates of reappraisal and distraction in bipolar disorder and unaffected relatives

    PubMed Central

    Kanske, P; Schönfelder, S; Forneck, J; Wessa, M

    2015-01-01

    Deficient emotion regulation has been proposed as a crucial pathological mechanism in bipolar disorder (BD). We therefore investigated emotion regulation impairments in BD, the related neural underpinnings and their etiological relevance for the disorder. Twenty-two euthymic patients with bipolar-I disorder and 17 unaffected first-degree relatives of BD-I patients, as well as two groups of healthy gender-, age- and education-matched controls (N=22/17, respectively) were included. Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while applying two different emotion regulation techniques, reappraisal and distraction, when presented with emotional images. BD patients and relatives showed impaired downregulation of amygdala activity during reappraisal, but not during distraction, when compared with controls. This deficit was correlated with the habitual use of reappraisal. The negative connectivity of amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) observed during reappraisal in controls was reversed in BD patients and relatives. There were no significant differences between BD patients and relatives. As being observed in BD patients and unaffected relatives, deficits in emotion regulation through reappraisal may represent heritable neurobiological abnormalities underlying BD. The neural mechanisms include impaired control of amygdala reactivity to emotional stimuli and dysfunctional connectivity of the amygdala to regulatory control regions in the OFC. These are, thus, important aspects of the neurobiological basis of increased vulnerability for BD. PMID:25603413

  17. Static torque-angle relation of human elbow joint estimated with artificial neural network technique.

    PubMed

    Uchiyama, T; Bessho, T; Akazawa, K

    1998-06-01

    Static relations between elbow joint angle and torque at constant muscle activity in normal volunteers were investigated with the aid of an artificial neural network technique. A subject sat on a chair and moved his upper- and forearm in a horizontal plane at the height of his shoulder. The subject was instructed to maintain the elbow joint at a pre-determined angle. The wrist was then pulled to extend the elbow joint by the gravitational force of a weight hanging from a pulley. Integrated electromyograms (IEMGs), elbow and shoulder joint angles and elbow joint torque were measured. Then the relation among IEMGs, joint angles and torque was modeled with the aid of the artificial neural network, where IEMGs and joint angles were the inputs and torque was the output. After back propagation learning, we presented various combinations of IEMGs, shoulder and elbow joint angles to the model and estimated the elbow joint torque to obtain the torque-angle relation for constant muscle activation. The elbow joint torque increased and then decreased with extension of the elbow joint. This suggests that if the forearm is displaced from an equilibrium point, the torque angle relation would not act like a simple spring. In a view of the musculoskeletal structure of the elbow joint, the relation between the elbow joint angle and the moment arm of the elbow flexor muscles seems to have a dominant effect on the torque-angle relation. PMID:9755039

  18. Conscious Control over Action

    PubMed Central

    Shepherd, Joshua

    2015-01-01

    The extensive involvement of nonconscious processes in human behaviour has led some to suggest that consciousness is much less important for the control of action than we might think. In this article I push against this trend, developing an understanding of conscious control that is sensitive to our best models of overt (that is, bodily) action control. Further, I assess the cogency of various zombie challenges—challenges that seek to demote the importance of conscious control for human agency. I argue that though nonconscious contributions to action control are evidently robust, these challenges are overblown. PMID:26113753

  19. The role of consciousness in cognitive control and decision making

    PubMed Central

    van Gaal, Simon; de Lange, Floris P.; Cohen, Michael X

    2012-01-01

    Here we review studies on the complexity and strength of unconscious information processing. We focus on empirical evidence that relates awareness of information to cognitive control processes (e.g., response inhibition, conflict resolution, and task-switching), the life-time of information maintenance (e.g., working memory) and the possibility to integrate multiple pieces of information across space and time. Overall, the results that we review paint a picture of local and specific effects of unconscious information on various (high-level) brain regions, including areas in the prefrontal cortex. Although this neural activation does not elicit any conscious experience, it is functional and capable of influencing many perceptual, cognitive (control) and decision-related processes, sometimes even for relatively long periods of time. However, recent evidence also points out interesting dissociations between conscious and unconscious information processing when it comes to the duration, flexibility and the strategic use of that information for complex operations and decision-making. Based on the available evidence, we conclude that the role of task-relevance of subliminal information and meta-cognitive factors in unconscious cognition need more attention in future work. PMID:22586386

  20. Occipital cortical thickness in very low birth weight born adolescents predicts altered neural specialization of visual semantic category related neural networks.

    PubMed

    Klaver, Peter; Latal, Beatrice; Martin, Ernst

    2015-01-01

    Very low birth weight (VLBW) premature born infants have a high risk to develop visual perceptual and learning deficits as well as widespread functional and structural brain abnormalities during infancy and childhood. Whether and how prematurity alters neural specialization within visual neural networks is still unknown. We used functional and structural brain imaging to examine the visual semantic system of VLBW born (<1250 g, gestational age 25-32 weeks) adolescents (13-15 years, n = 11, 3 males) and matched term born control participants (13-15 years, n = 11, 3 males). Neurocognitive assessment revealed no group differences except for lower scores on an adaptive visuomotor integration test. All adolescents were scanned while viewing pictures of animals and tools and scrambled versions of these pictures. Both groups demonstrated animal and tool category related neural networks. Term born adolescents showed tool category related neural activity, i.e. tool pictures elicited more activity than animal pictures, in temporal and parietal brain areas. Animal category related activity was found in the occipital, temporal and frontal cortex. VLBW born adolescents showed reduced tool category related activity in the dorsal visual stream compared with controls, specifically the left anterior intraparietal sulcus, and enhanced animal category related activity in the left middle occipital gyrus and right lingual gyrus. Lower birth weight of VLBW adolescents correlated with larger thickness of the pericalcarine gyrus in the occipital cortex and smaller surface area of the superior temporal gyrus in the lateral temporal cortex. Moreover, larger thickness of the pericalcarine gyrus and smaller surface area of the superior temporal gyrus correlated with reduced tool category related activity in the parietal cortex. Together, our data suggest that very low birth weight predicts alterations of higher order visual semantic networks, particularly in the dorsal stream. The differences

  1. Relation of obesity to neural activation in response to food commercials.

    PubMed

    Gearhardt, Ashley N; Yokum, Sonja; Stice, Eric; Harris, Jennifer L; Brownell, Kelly D

    2014-07-01

    Adolescents view thousands of food commercials annually, but the neural response to food advertising and its association with obesity is largely unknown. This study is the first to examine how neural response to food commercials differs from other stimuli (e.g. non-food commercials and television show) and to explore how this response may differ by weight status. The blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging activation was measured in 30 adolescents ranging from lean to obese in response to food and non-food commercials imbedded in a television show. Adolescents exhibited greater activation in regions implicated in visual processing (e.g. occipital gyrus), attention (e.g. parietal lobes), cognition (e.g. temporal gyrus and posterior cerebellar lobe), movement (e.g. anterior cerebellar cortex), somatosensory response (e.g. postcentral gyrus) and reward [e.g. orbitofrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)] during food commercials. Obese participants exhibited less activation during food relative to non-food commercials in neural regions implicated in visual processing (e.g. cuneus), attention (e.g. posterior cerebellar lobe), reward (e.g. ventromedial prefrontal cortex and ACC) and salience detection (e.g. precuneus). Obese participants did exhibit greater activation in a region implicated in semantic control (e.g. medial temporal gyrus). These findings may inform current policy debates regarding the impact of food advertising to minors. PMID:23576811

  2. Automatic Neural Processing of Disorder-Related Stimuli in Social Anxiety Disorder: Faces and More

    PubMed Central

    Schulz, Claudia; Mothes-Lasch, Martin; Straube, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    It has been proposed that social anxiety disorder (SAD) is associated with automatic information processing biases resulting in hypersensitivity to signals of social threat such as negative facial expressions. However, the nature and extent of automatic processes in SAD on the behavioral and neural level is not entirely clear yet. The present review summarizes neuroscientific findings on automatic processing of facial threat but also other disorder-related stimuli such as emotional prosody or negative words in SAD. We review initial evidence for automatic activation of the amygdala, insula, and sensory cortices as well as for automatic early electrophysiological components. However, findings vary depending on tasks, stimuli, and neuroscientific methods. Only few studies set out to examine automatic neural processes directly and systematic attempts are as yet lacking. We suggest that future studies should: (1) use different stimulus modalities, (2) examine different emotional expressions, (3) compare findings in SAD with other anxiety disorders, (4) use more sophisticated experimental designs to investigate features of automaticity systematically, and (5) combine different neuroscientific methods (such as functional neuroimaging and electrophysiology). Finally, the understanding of neural automatic processes could also provide hints for therapeutic approaches. PMID:23745116

  3. Transient Global Amnesia following Neural and Cardiac Angiography May Be Related to Ischemia.

    PubMed

    Duan, Hongzhou; Li, Liang; Zhang, Yang; Zhang, Jiayong; Chen, Ming; Bao, Shengde

    2016-01-01

    Introduction. Transient global amnesia (TGA) following angiography is rare, and the pathogenesis has not been illustrated clearly till now. The aim of this research is to explore the pathogenesis of TGA following angiography by analyzing our data and reviewing the literature. Methods. We retrospectively studied 20836 cases with angiography in our hospital between 2007 and 2015 and found 9 cases with TGA following angiography. The data of these 9 cases were analyzed. Results. We found all 9 cases with TGA following neural angiography (5 in 4360) or cardiac angiography (4 in 8817) and no case with TGA following peripheral angiography (0 in 7659). Statistical difference was found when comparing the neural and cardiac angiography group with peripheral group (p = 0.022). Two cases with TGA were confirmed with small acute infarctions in hippocampus after angiography. This might be related to the microemboli which were rushed into vertebral artery following blood flow during neural angiography or cardiac angiography. There was no statistical difference when comparing the different approaches for angiography (p = 0.82) and different contrast agents (p = 0.619). Conclusion. Based on the positive findings of imaging study and our analysis, we speculate that ischemia in the medial temporal lobe with the involvement of the hippocampus might be an important reason of TGA following angiography. PMID:27419129

  4. Power to Punish Norm Violations Affects the Neural Processes of Fairness-Related Decision Making

    PubMed Central

    Cheng, Xuemei; Zheng, Li; Li, Lin; Guo, Xiuyan; Wang, Qianfeng; Lord, Anton; Hu, Zengxi; Yang, Guang

    2015-01-01

    Punishing norm violations is considered an important motive during rejection of unfair offers in the ultimatum game (UG). The present study investigates the impact of the power to punish norm violations on people’s responses to unfairness and associated neural correlates. In the UG condition participants had the power to punish norm violations, while an alternate condition, the impunity game (IG), was presented where participants had no power to punish norm violations since rejection only reduced the responder’s income to zero. Results showed that unfair offers were rejected more often in UG compared to IG. At the neural level, anterior insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex were more active when participants received and rejected unfair offers in both UG and IG. Moreover, greater dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activity was observed when participants rejected than accepted unfair offers in UG but not in IG. Ventromedial prefrontal cortex activation was higher in UG than IG when unfair offers were accepted as well as when rejecting unfair offers in IG as opposed to UG. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the power to punish norm violations affects not only people’s behavioral responses to unfairness but also the neural correlates of the fairness-related social decision-making process. PMID:26696858

  5. Power to Punish Norm Violations Affects the Neural Processes of Fairness-Related Decision Making.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Xuemei; Zheng, Li; Li, Lin; Guo, Xiuyan; Wang, Qianfeng; Lord, Anton; Hu, Zengxi; Yang, Guang

    2015-01-01

    Punishing norm violations is considered an important motive during rejection of unfair offers in the ultimatum game (UG). The present study investigates the impact of the power to punish norm violations on people's responses to unfairness and associated neural correlates. In the UG condition participants had the power to punish norm violations, while an alternate condition, the impunity game (IG), was presented where participants had no power to punish norm violations since rejection only reduced the responder's income to zero. Results showed that unfair offers were rejected more often in UG compared to IG. At the neural level, anterior insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex were more active when participants received and rejected unfair offers in both UG and IG. Moreover, greater dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activity was observed when participants rejected than accepted unfair offers in UG but not in IG. Ventromedial prefrontal cortex activation was higher in UG than IG when unfair offers were accepted as well as when rejecting unfair offers in IG as opposed to UG. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the power to punish norm violations affects not only people's behavioral responses to unfairness but also the neural correlates of the fairness-related social decision-making process. PMID:26696858

  6. Transient Global Amnesia following Neural and Cardiac Angiography May Be Related to Ischemia

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yang; Chen, Ming; Bao, Shengde

    2016-01-01

    Introduction. Transient global amnesia (TGA) following angiography is rare, and the pathogenesis has not been illustrated clearly till now. The aim of this research is to explore the pathogenesis of TGA following angiography by analyzing our data and reviewing the literature. Methods. We retrospectively studied 20836 cases with angiography in our hospital between 2007 and 2015 and found 9 cases with TGA following angiography. The data of these 9 cases were analyzed. Results. We found all 9 cases with TGA following neural angiography (5 in 4360) or cardiac angiography (4 in 8817) and no case with TGA following peripheral angiography (0 in 7659). Statistical difference was found when comparing the neural and cardiac angiography group with peripheral group (p = 0.022). Two cases with TGA were confirmed with small acute infarctions in hippocampus after angiography. This might be related to the microemboli which were rushed into vertebral artery following blood flow during neural angiography or cardiac angiography. There was no statistical difference when comparing the different approaches for angiography (p = 0.82) and different contrast agents (p = 0.619). Conclusion. Based on the positive findings of imaging study and our analysis, we speculate that ischemia in the medial temporal lobe with the involvement of the hippocampus might be an important reason of TGA following angiography. PMID:27419129

  7. Relation of obesity to neural activation in response to food commercials

    PubMed Central

    Yokum, Sonja; Stice, Eric; Harris, Jennifer L.; Brownell, Kelly D.

    2014-01-01

    Adolescents view thousands of food commercials annually, but the neural response to food advertising and its association with obesity is largely unknown. This study is the first to examine how neural response to food commercials differs from other stimuli (e.g. non-food commercials and television show) and to explore how this response may differ by weight status. The blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging activation was measured in 30 adolescents ranging from lean to obese in response to food and non-food commercials imbedded in a television show. Adolescents exhibited greater activation in regions implicated in visual processing (e.g. occipital gyrus), attention (e.g. parietal lobes), cognition (e.g. temporal gyrus and posterior cerebellar lobe), movement (e.g. anterior cerebellar cortex), somatosensory response (e.g. postcentral gyrus) and reward [e.g. orbitofrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)] during food commercials. Obese participants exhibited less activation during food relative to non-food commercials in neural regions implicated in visual processing (e.g. cuneus), attention (e.g. posterior cerebellar lobe), reward (e.g. ventromedial prefrontal cortex and ACC) and salience detection (e.g. precuneus). Obese participants did exhibit greater activation in a region implicated in semantic control (e.g. medial temporal gyrus). These findings may inform current policy debates regarding the impact of food advertising to minors. PMID:23576811

  8. Raising Consciousness about Sexism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Delworth, Ursula

    1973-01-01

    The sexism consciousness raising exercises provided in this article can help both men and women understand how cultural attitudes toward the sexes are embedded in our individual psychological makeup. (Author)

  9. Self-consciousness and animal suffering.

    PubMed

    Morton, D B

    2000-04-01

    Animals with relatively highly developed brains are likely to experience some degree of self-awareness and the ability to think. As well as being interesting in its own right, self-consciousness matters from an ethical point of view, since it can give rise to forms of suffering above and beyond the immediate physical sensations of pain or distress. This article surveys the evidence for animal self-consciousness and its implications for animal welfare. PMID:11190233

  10. Altered states of consciousness in small animals.

    PubMed

    Platt, Simon

    2014-11-01

    Impaired states of consciousness can be relatively easily identified, although it can occasionally be difficult to assess whether there is a pure disorder of wakefulness or awareness. Regardless, such impairments represent dysfunction of the brainstem and or cerebrum. Acute and severe impairments of consciousness can require immediate assessment, in part currently performed using the modified Glasgow coma scoring system, and emergency stabilization. The prognosis is always guarded and highly sensitive to the underlying etiology. PMID:25441625

  11. The source of consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Paller, Ken A.; Suzuki, Satoru

    2015-01-01

    Why does a relentless stream of experiences normally fill your mind? No answer is entirely satisfactory. We are not sure how the normal operation of the human brain might exude subjective experiences. Consciousness can thus seem miraculous, and research on consciousness a waste of time and money, ultimately doomed to fail. Yet, there are good reasons for optimism that should be shared with the public to justify research in this area. PMID:25023451

  12. Are We Explaining Consciousness Yet?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dennett, Daniel

    2001-01-01

    Maintains that theorists are converging on a version of the global neuronal workspace model of consciousness, but that there are residual confusions to be dissolved. Asserts that global accessibility is not the "cause" of consciousness, it "is" consciousness. Argues that like fame, consciousness is not a momentary condition or a purely…

  13. Stigma consciousness: the psychological legacy of social stereotypes.

    PubMed

    Pinel, E C

    1999-01-01

    Whereas past researchers have treated targets of stereotypes as though they have uniform reactions to their stereotyped status (e.g., J. Crocker & B. Major, 1989; C. M. Steele & J. Aronson, 1995), it is proposed here that targets differ in the extent to which they expect to be stereotyped by others (i.e., stigma consciousness). Six studies, 5 of which validate the stigma-consciousness questionnaire (SCQ), are presented. The results suggest that the SCQ is a reliable and valid instrument for detecting differences in stigma consciousness. In addition, scores on the SCQ predict perceptions of discrimination and the ability to generate convincing examples of such discrimination. The final study highlights a behavioral consequence of stigma consciousness: the tendency for people high in stigma consciousness to forgo opportunities to invalidate stereotypes about their group. The relation of stigma consciousness to past research on targets of stereotypes is considered as is the issue of how stigma consciousness may encourage continued stereotyping. PMID:9972557

  14. Divergent neural substrates of inhibitory control in binge eating disorder relative to other manifestations of obesity

    PubMed Central

    Balodis, Iris M.; Molina, Nathan D.; Kober, Hedy; Worhunsky, Patrick D.; White, Marney A.; Sinha, Rajita; Grilo, Carlos M.; Potenza, Marc N.

    2012-01-01

    An important endeavor involves increasing our understanding of biobehavioral processes underlying different types of obesity. The current study investigated the neural correlates of cognitive control (involving conflict monitoring and response inhibition) in obese individuals with binge eating disorder (BED) as compared to BMI-matched non-BED obese (OB) individuals and lean comparison (LC) participants. Alterations in cognitive control may contribute to differences in behavioral control over eating behaviors in BED and obesity. Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while completing the Stroop color-word interference task. Relative to the OB and LC groups, activity in the BED group was differentiated by relative hypoactivity in brain areas involved in self-regulation and impulse control. Specifically, the BED group showed diminished activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and insula during Stroop performance. In addition, dietary restraint scores were negatively correlated with right IFG and vmPFC activation in the BED group, but not in the OB or HC groups. Thus, BED individuals’ diminished ability to recruit impulse-control-related brain regions appears associated with impaired dietary restraint. The observed differences in neural correlates of inhibitory processing in BED relative to OB and LC groups suggest distinct neurobiological contributions to binge eating as a subgroup of obese individuals. PMID:23404820

  15. Health consciousness and health behavior: the application of a new health consciousness scale.

    PubMed

    Gould, S J

    1990-01-01

    Self-consciousness has been an important trait in personality research. It seems logical to investigate whether health consciousness, involving a similar self-focusing, might operate in a parallel manner. To this end, I developed the Health Consciousness Scale (HCS), primarily by modifying items of the Self-Consciousness Scale, and also tested it for reliability and validity. My study found the HCS to contain four first-order factors: (1) Health Self-Consciousness, (2) Health Alertness, (3) Health Self-Monitoring, and (4) Health Involvement. I found these four first-order factors, along with the overall HCS second-order factor, to relate to a number of self-reported, health-associated behavioral variables. The study also included comparisons with the Health Locus-of-Control Scale and other measures. PMID:2223170

  16. Promoting the use of personally relevant stimuli for investigating patients with disorders of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Perrin, Fabien; Castro, Maïté; Tillmann, Barbara; Luauté, Jacques

    2015-01-01

    Sensory stimuli are used to evaluate and to restore cognitive functions and consciousness in patients with a disorder of consciousness (DOC) following a severe brain injury. Although sophisticated protocols can help assessing higher order cognitive functions and awareness, one major drawback is their lack of sensitivity. The aim of the present review is to show that stimulus selection is crucial for an accurate evaluation of the state of patients with disorders of consciousness as it determines the levels of processing that the patient can have with stimulation from his/her environment. The probability to observe a behavioral response or a cerebral response is increased when her/his personal history and/or her/his personal preferences are taken into account. We show that personally relevant stimuli (i.e., with emotional, autobiographical, or self-related characteristics) are associated with clearer signs of perception than are irrelevant stimuli in patients with DOC. Among personally relevant stimuli, music appears to be a promising clinical tool as it boosts perception and cognition in patients with DOC and could also serve as a prognostic tool. We suggest that the effect of music on cerebral processes in patients might reflect the music's capacity to act both on the external and internal neural networks supporting consciousness. PMID:26284020

  17. Promoting the use of personally relevant stimuli for investigating patients with disorders of consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Perrin, Fabien; Castro, Maïté; Tillmann, Barbara; Luauté, Jacques

    2015-01-01

    Sensory stimuli are used to evaluate and to restore cognitive functions and consciousness in patients with a disorder of consciousness (DOC) following a severe brain injury. Although sophisticated protocols can help assessing higher order cognitive functions and awareness, one major drawback is their lack of sensitivity. The aim of the present review is to show that stimulus selection is crucial for an accurate evaluation of the state of patients with disorders of consciousness as it determines the levels of processing that the patient can have with stimulation from his/her environment. The probability to observe a behavioral response or a cerebral response is increased when her/his personal history and/or her/his personal preferences are taken into account. We show that personally relevant stimuli (i.e., with emotional, autobiographical, or self-related characteristics) are associated with clearer signs of perception than are irrelevant stimuli in patients with DOC. Among personally relevant stimuli, music appears to be a promising clinical tool as it boosts perception and cognition in patients with DOC and could also serve as a prognostic tool. We suggest that the effect of music on cerebral processes in patients might reflect the music’s capacity to act both on the external and internal neural networks supporting consciousness. PMID:26284020

  18. Brain functional integration decreases during propofol-induced loss of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Schrouff, Jessica; Perlbarg, Vincent; Boly, Mélanie; Marrelec, Guillaume; Boveroux, Pierre; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie; Laureys, Steven; Phillips, Christophe; Pélégrini-Issac, Mélanie; Maquet, Pierre; Benali, Habib

    2011-07-01

    Consciousness has been related to the amount of integrated information that the brain is able to generate. In this paper, we tested the hypothesis that the loss of consciousness caused by propofol anesthesia is associated with a significant reduction in the capacity of the brain to integrate information. To assess the functional structure of the whole brain, functional integration and partial correlations were computed from fMRI data acquired from 18 healthy volunteers during resting wakefulness and propofol-induced deep sedation. Total integration was significantly reduced from wakefulness to deep sedation in the whole brain as well as within and between its constituent networks (or systems). Integration was systematically reduced within each system (i.e., brain or networks), as well as between networks. However, the ventral attentional network maintained interactions with most other networks during deep sedation. Partial correlations further suggested that functional connectivity was particularly affected between parietal areas and frontal or temporal regions during deep sedation. Our findings suggest that the breakdown in brain integration is the neural correlate of the loss of consciousness induced by propofol. They stress the important role played by parietal and frontal areas in the generation of consciousness. PMID:21524704

  19. Error-related electromyographic activity over the corrugator supercilii is associated with neural performance monitoring.

    PubMed

    Elkins-Brown, Nathaniel; Saunders, Blair; Inzlicht, Michael

    2016-02-01

    Emerging research in social and affective neuroscience has implicated a role for affect and motivation in performance monitoring and cognitive control. No study, however, has investigated whether facial electromyography (EMG) over the corrugator supercilii-a measure associated with negative affect and the exertion of effort-is related to neural performance monitoring. Here, we explored these potential relationships by simultaneously measuring the error-related negativity, error positivity (Pe), and facial EMG over the corrugator supercilii muscle during a punished, inhibitory control task. We found evidence for increased facial EMG activity over the corrugator immediately following error responses, and this activity was related to the Pe for both between- and within-subject analyses. These results are consistent with the idea that early, avoidance-motivated processes are associated with performance monitoring, and that such processes may also be related to orienting toward errors, the emergence of error awareness, or both. PMID:26470645

  20. Handedness is related to neural mechanisms underlying hemispheric lateralization of face processing.

    PubMed

    Frässle, Stefan; Krach, Sören; Paulus, Frieder Michel; Jansen, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    While the right-hemispheric lateralization of the face perception network is well established, recent evidence suggests that handedness affects the cerebral lateralization of face processing at the hierarchical level of the fusiform face area (FFA). However, the neural mechanisms underlying differential hemispheric lateralization of face perception in right- and left-handers are largely unknown. Using dynamic causal modeling (DCM) for fMRI, we aimed to unravel the putative processes that mediate handedness-related differences by investigating the effective connectivity in the bilateral core face perception network. Our results reveal an enhanced recruitment of the left FFA in left-handers compared to right-handers, as evidenced by more pronounced face-specific modulatory influences on both intra- and interhemispheric connections. As structural and physiological correlates of handedness-related differences in face processing, right- and left-handers varied with regard to their gray matter volume in the left fusiform gyrus and their pupil responses to face stimuli. Overall, these results describe how handedness is related to the lateralization of the core face perception network, and point to different neural mechanisms underlying face processing in right- and left-handers. In a wider context, this demonstrates the entanglement of structurally and functionally remote brain networks, suggesting a broader underlying process regulating brain lateralization. PMID:27250879

  1. Neural mechanisms regulating different forms of risk-related decision-making: Insights from animal models.

    PubMed

    Orsini, Caitlin A; Moorman, David E; Young, Jared W; Setlow, Barry; Floresco, Stan B

    2015-11-01

    Over the past 20 years there has been a growing interest in the neural underpinnings of cost/benefit decision-making. Recent studies with animal models have made considerable advances in our understanding of how different prefrontal, striatal, limbic and monoaminergic circuits interact to promote efficient risk/reward decision-making, and how dysfunction in these circuits underlies aberrant decision-making observed in numerous psychiatric disorders. This review will highlight recent findings from studies exploring these questions using a variety of behavioral assays, as well as molecular, pharmacological, neurophysiological, and translational approaches. We begin with a discussion of how neural systems related to decision subcomponents may interact to generate more complex decisions involving risk and uncertainty. This is followed by an overview of interactions between prefrontal-amygdala-dopamine and habenular circuits in regulating choice between certain and uncertain rewards and how different modes of dopamine transmission may contribute to these processes. These data will be compared with results from other studies investigating the contribution of some of these systems to guiding decision-making related to rewards vs. punishment. Lastly, we provide a brief summary of impairments in risk-related decision-making associated with psychiatric disorders, highlighting recent translational studies in laboratory animals. PMID:26072028

  2. Handedness is related to neural mechanisms underlying hemispheric lateralization of face processing

    PubMed Central

    Frässle, Stefan; Krach, Sören; Paulus, Frieder Michel; Jansen, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    While the right-hemispheric lateralization of the face perception network is well established, recent evidence suggests that handedness affects the cerebral lateralization of face processing at the hierarchical level of the fusiform face area (FFA). However, the neural mechanisms underlying differential hemispheric lateralization of face perception in right- and left-handers are largely unknown. Using dynamic causal modeling (DCM) for fMRI, we aimed to unravel the putative processes that mediate handedness-related differences by investigating the effective connectivity in the bilateral core face perception network. Our results reveal an enhanced recruitment of the left FFA in left-handers compared to right-handers, as evidenced by more pronounced face-specific modulatory influences on both intra- and interhemispheric connections. As structural and physiological correlates of handedness-related differences in face processing, right- and left-handers varied with regard to their gray matter volume in the left fusiform gyrus and their pupil responses to face stimuli. Overall, these results describe how handedness is related to the lateralization of the core face perception network, and point to different neural mechanisms underlying face processing in right- and left-handers. In a wider context, this demonstrates the entanglement of structurally and functionally remote brain networks, suggesting a broader underlying process regulating brain lateralization. PMID:27250879

  3. Handedness is related to neural mechanisms underlying hemispheric lateralization of face processing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frässle, Stefan; Krach, Sören; Paulus, Frieder Michel; Jansen, Andreas

    2016-06-01

    While the right-hemispheric lateralization of the face perception network is well established, recent evidence suggests that handedness affects the cerebral lateralization of face processing at the hierarchical level of the fusiform face area (FFA). However, the neural mechanisms underlying differential hemispheric lateralization of face perception in right- and left-handers are largely unknown. Using dynamic causal modeling (DCM) for fMRI, we aimed to unravel the putative processes that mediate handedness-related differences by investigating the effective connectivity in the bilateral core face perception network. Our results reveal an enhanced recruitment of the left FFA in left-handers compared to right-handers, as evidenced by more pronounced face-specific modulatory influences on both intra- and interhemispheric connections. As structural and physiological correlates of handedness-related differences in face processing, right- and left-handers varied with regard to their gray matter volume in the left fusiform gyrus and their pupil responses to face stimuli. Overall, these results describe how handedness is related to the lateralization of the core face perception network, and point to different neural mechanisms underlying face processing in right- and left-handers. In a wider context, this demonstrates the entanglement of structurally and functionally remote brain networks, suggesting a broader underlying process regulating brain lateralization.

  4. Neural Responses During Social Reflection in Relatives of Schizophrenia Patients: Relationship to Subclinical Delusions

    PubMed Central

    Brent, Benjamin K.; Seidman, Larry J.; Coombs, Garth; Keshavan, Matcheri S.; Moran, Joseph M.; Holt, Daphne J.

    2014-01-01

    Background Deficits in the capacity to reflect about the self and others (“social reflection” [SR]) have been identified in schizophrenia, as well as in people with a genetic or clinical risk for the disorder. However, the neural underpinnings of these abnormalities are incompletely understood. Methods Responses of a network of brain regions known to be involved in self and other processing (e.g., medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), and superior temporal gyrus (STG)) were measured during SR in 16 first-degree, non-psychotic relatives (RELS) of schizophrenia patients and 16 healthy controls (CONS). Because of prior evidence linking dysfunction in this network and delusions, associations between SR-related responses of this network and subclinical delusions (measured using the Peters et al. Delusions Inventory) were also examined. Results Compared with CONS, RELS showed significantly less SR-related activity of the right and left PCC and STG. Moreover, response magnitudes were negatively correlated with levels of delusional thinking across both groups. Conclusions These findings suggest that aberrant function of the neural circuitry underpinning SR is associated with the genetic liability to schizophrenia and confers vulnerability to delusional beliefs. PMID:24951401

  5. The innate alarm circuit in post-traumatic stress disorder: Conscious and subconscious processing of fear- and trauma-related cues.

    PubMed

    Rabellino, Daniela; Densmore, Maria; Frewen, Paul A; Théberge, Jean; Lanius, Ruth A

    2016-02-28

    Fast defensive responses to salient threatening stimuli are an important clinical feature of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We investigated the neural correlates of subliminal and supraliminal processing of fearful faces and individualized trauma-related words in individuals with PTSD (n=26) compared with healthy controls (n=20) using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Increased activity in the right cerebellum and the posterior cingulum was observed in individuals with PTSD during subliminal processing of trauma-related words, whereas increased activity of the basal forebrain was found within the PTSD group when processing supraliminal trauma-related words. Moreover, significant positive correlations were found between re-experiencing symptoms and response within the amygdala, and between hyper-arousal symptoms and response within the periaqueductal gray matter, during subliminal processing of trauma-related words and during supraliminal processing of fearful faces, respectively. These findings further our understanding of rapid threat processing and defensive responses, highlighting the role of the cerebellum and periaqueductal gray matter as part of an 'innate alarm system' in PTSD. PMID:26749205

  6. EPR, Biology, and Consciousness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goradia, Shantilal

    2006-03-01

    It seems that Darwin, in his concluding remark (1859, p490) ruled out the possibility of cosmic connection to evolution based on the fixed law of gravity, known then. More recent Dirac’s Large Number Hypothesis as described in http://www.arXiv.org/pdf/physics/0210040 v1 raises a possibility that the universal constant of gravity is decreasing and all coupling constants are increasing with time, so reported by some observations. Deeper investigation of the connection between evolution and the variation of the universal constant of gravity seems worthwhile to see if it impacts the passage of time in a stronger (gravitational according to the spirit of the above archive) field and affects the aging process, and explains locality and causality in random evolutionary mutations. If there is no physical locality and causality consistent with the special theory of relativity, there must be some spiritual locality and causality at superluminal speeds to explain the implicit hidden variables. Then there is a question of how to test spiritual locality and causality. Psychic effects and dream signals look promising, if they exist and can be tested with space age technology. This is neither about religion nor about Einstein’s orthodoxy in light of the spirit of EPR. This is about frontiers of science of the new millennium: biology, and consciousness.

  7. Lack of guilt, guilt, and shame: a multi-informant study on the relations between self-conscious emotions and psychopathology in clinically referred children and adolescents.

    PubMed

    Muris, Peter; Meesters, Cor; Heijmans, Jolina; van Hulten, Sandra; Kaanen, Linsy; Oerlemans, Birgit; Stikkelbroeck, Tessa; Tielemans, Tim

    2016-04-01

    The present study examined the relationships between dysregulations in self-conscious emotions and psychopathology in clinically referred children and adolescents. For this purpose, parent-, teacher-, and self-report Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment data of 1000 youth aged 4-18 years was analyzed as this instrument not only provides information on the intensity levels of lack of guilt, guilt, and shame, but also on the severity of various types of psychopathology. The results first of all indicated that dysregulations of self-conscious emotions were more common in this clinical sample than in the general population. Further, a consistent pattern was found with regard to the relationships between self-conscious emotions and childhood psychopathology. That is, lack of guilt was predominantly associated with oppositional defiant and conduct (i.e., externalizing) problems, while guilt and shame were primarily linked with affective and anxiety (i.e., internalizing) problems. By and large, these findings confirm what has been found in non-clinical youth, and suggest that self-conscious emotions play a small but significant role in the psychopathology of children and adolescents. PMID:26220659

  8. Posterior Cingulate Cortex-Related Co-Activation Patterns: A Resting State fMRI Study in Propofol-Induced Loss of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Amico, Enrico; Gomez, Francisco; Di Perri, Carol; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey; Lesenfants, Damien; Boveroux, Pierre; Bonhomme, Vincent; Brichant, Jean-François; Marinazzo, Daniele; Laureys, Steven

    2014-01-01

    Background Recent studies have been shown that functional connectivity of cerebral areas is not a static phenomenon, but exhibits spontaneous fluctuations over time. There is evidence that fluctuating connectivity is an intrinsic phenomenon of brain dynamics that persists during anesthesia. Lately, point process analysis applied on functional data has revealed that much of the information regarding brain connectivity is contained in a fraction of critical time points of a resting state dataset. In the present study we want to extend this methodology for the investigation of resting state fMRI spatial pattern changes during propofol-induced modulation of consciousness, with the aim of extracting new insights on brain networks consciousness-dependent fluctuations. Methods Resting-state fMRI volumes on 18 healthy subjects were acquired in four clinical states during propofol injection: wakefulness, sedation, unconsciousness, and recovery. The dataset was reduced to a spatio-temporal point process by selecting time points in the Posterior Cingulate Cortex (PCC) at which the signal is higher than a given threshold (i.e., BOLD intensity above 1 standard deviation). Spatial clustering on the PCC time frames extracted was then performed (number of clusters = 8), to obtain 8 different PCC co-activation patterns (CAPs) for each level of consciousness. Results The current analysis shows that the core of the PCC-CAPs throughout consciousness modulation seems to be preserved. Nonetheless, this methodology enables to differentiate region-specific propofol-induced reductions in PCC-CAPs, some of them already present in the functional connectivity literature (e.g., disconnections of the prefrontal cortex, thalamus, auditory cortex), some others new (e.g., reduced co-activation in motor cortex and visual area). Conclusion In conclusion, our results indicate that the employed methodology can help in improving and refining the characterization of local functional changes in the

  9. Phenomenal Consciousness and the Allocentric-Egocentric Interface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mandik, Pete

    2005-10-01

    I propose and defend the Allocentric-Egocentric Interface Theory of Consciousness. Mental processes form a hierarchy of mental representations with maximally egocentric (self-centered) representations at the bottom and maximally allocentric (other-centered) representations at the top. Phenomenally conscious states are states that are relatively intermediate in this hierarchy. More specifically, conscious states are hybrid states that involve the reciprocal interaction between relatively allocentric and relatively egocentric representations. Thus a conscious state is composed of a pair of representations interacting at the Allocentric-Egocentric Interface. What a person is conscious of is determined by what the contributing allocentric and egocentric representations are representations of. The phenomenal character of conscious states is identical to the representational content of the reciprocally interacting egocentric and allocentric representations.

  10. On the wrong side of the trolley track: neural correlates of relative social valuation

    PubMed Central

    Farnsworth, Rachel A.; Harris, Lasana T.; Fiske, Susan T.

    2010-01-01

    Using moral dilemmas, we (i) investigate whether stereotypes motivate people to value ingroup lives over outgroup lives and (ii) examine the neurobiological correlates of relative social valuation using fMRI. Saving ingroup members, who seem warm and competent (e.g. Americans), was most morally acceptable in the context of a dilemma where one person was killed to save five people. Extreme outgroup members, who seem neither warm nor competent (e.g. homeless), were the worst off; it was most morally acceptable to sacrifice them and least acceptable to save them. Sacrificing these low-warmth, low-competence targets to save ingroup targets, specifically, activated a neural network associated with resolving complex tradeoffs: medial PFC (BA 9, extending caudally to include ACC), left lateral OFC (BA 47) and left dorsolateral PFC (BA 10). These brain regions were recruited for dilemmas that participants ultimately rated as relatively more acceptable. We propose that participants, though ambivalent, overrode general aversion to these tradeoffs when the cost of sacrificing a low-warmth, low-competence target was pitted against the benefit of saving ingroup targets. Moral decisions are not made in a vacuum; intergroup biases and stereotypes weigh heavily on neural systems implicated in moral decision making. PMID:20150342

  11. Direct Ventral Hippocampal-Prefrontal Input Is Required for Anxiety-Related Neural Activity and Behavior.

    PubMed

    Padilla-Coreano, Nancy; Bolkan, Scott S; Pierce, Georgia M; Blackman, Dakota R; Hardin, William D; Garcia-Garcia, Alvaro L; Spellman, Timothy J; Gordon, Joshua A

    2016-02-17

    The ventral hippocampus (vHPC), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and basolateral amygdala (BLA) are each required for the expression of anxiety-like behavior. Yet the role of each individual element of the circuit is unclear. The projection from the vHPC to the mPFC has been implicated in anxiety-related neural synchrony and spatial representations of aversion. The role of this projection was examined using multi-site neural recordings combined with optogenetic terminal inhibition. Inhibition of vHPC input to the mPFC disrupted anxiety and mPFC representations of aversion, and reduced theta synchrony in a pathway-, frequency- and task-specific manner. Moreover, bilateral, but not unilateral, inhibition altered physiological correlates of anxiety in the BLA, mimicking a safety-like state. These results reveal a specific role for the vHPC-mPFC projection in anxiety-related behavior and the spatial representation of aversive information within the mPFC. PMID:26853301

  12. Genetic dyslexia risk variant is related to neural connectivity patterns underlying phonological awareness in children.

    PubMed

    Skeide, Michael A; Kirsten, Holger; Kraft, Indra; Schaadt, Gesa; Müller, Bent; Neef, Nicole; Brauer, Jens; Wilcke, Arndt; Emmrich, Frank; Boltze, Johannes; Friederici, Angela D

    2015-09-01

    Phonological awareness is the best-validated predictor of reading and spelling skill and therefore highly relevant for developmental dyslexia. Prior imaging genetics studies link several dyslexia risk genes to either brain-functional or brain-structural factors of phonological deficits. However, coherent evidence for genetic associations with both functional and structural neural phenotypes underlying variation in phonological awareness has not yet been provided. Here we demonstrate that rs11100040, a reported modifier of SLC2A3, is related to the functional connectivity of left fronto-temporal phonological processing areas at resting state in a sample of 9- to 12-year-old children. Furthermore, we provide evidence that rs11100040 is related to the fractional anisotropy of the arcuate fasciculus, which forms the structural connection between these areas. This structural connectivity phenotype is associated with phonological awareness, which is in turn associated with the individual retrospective risk scores in an early dyslexia screening as well as to spelling. These results suggest a link between a dyslexia risk genotype and a functional as well as a structural neural phenotype, which is associated with a phonological awareness phenotype. The present study goes beyond previous work by integrating genetic, brain-functional and brain-structural aspects of phonological awareness within a single approach. These combined findings might be another step towards a multimodal biomarker for developmental dyslexia. PMID:26080313

  13. Cognitive Control in Adolescence: Neural Underpinnings and Relation to Self-Report Behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Andrews-Hanna, Jessica R.; Mackiewicz Seghete, Kristen L.; Claus, Eric D.; Burgess, Gregory C.; Ruzic, Luka; Banich, Marie T.

    2011-01-01

    Background Adolescence is commonly characterized by impulsivity, poor decision-making, and lack of foresight. However, the developmental neural underpinnings of these characteristics are not well established. Methodology/Principal Findings To test the hypothesis that these adolescent behaviors are linked to under-developed proactive control mechanisms, the present study employed a hybrid block/event-related functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Stroop paradigm combined with self-report questionnaires in a large sample of adolescents and adults, ranging in age from 14 to 25. Compared to adults, adolescents under-activated a set of brain regions implicated in proactive top-down control across task blocks comprised of difficult and easy trials. Moreover, the magnitude of lateral prefrontal activity in adolescents predicted self-report measures of impulse control, foresight, and resistance to peer pressure. Consistent with reactive compensatory mechanisms to reduced proactive control, older adolescents exhibited elevated transient activity in regions implicated in response-related interference resolution. Conclusions/Significance Collectively, these results suggest that maturation of cognitive control may be partly mediated by earlier development of neural systems supporting reactive control and delayed development of systems supporting proactive control. Importantly, the development of these mechanisms is associated with cognitive control in real-life behaviors. PMID:21738725

  14. The missing link: Mothers’ neural response to infant cry related to infant attachment behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Laurent, Heidemarie K.; Ablow, Jennifer C.

    2012-01-01

    This study addresses a gap in the attachment literature by investigating maternal neural response to cry related to infant attachment classifications and behaviors. Twenty-two primiparous mothers and their 18-month old infants completed the Strange Situation Procedure (SS) to elicit attachment behaviors. During a separate functional MRI session, mothers were exposed to their own infant’s cry sound, as well as an unfamiliar infant’s cry and control sound. Maternal neural response to own infant cry related to both overall attachment security and specific infant behaviors. Mothers of less secure infants maintained greater activation to their cry in left parahippocampal and amygdala regions and the right posterior insula. consistent with a negative schematic response bias. Mothers of infants exhibiting more avoidant or contact maintaining behaviors during the SS showed diminished response across left prefrontal, parietal, and cerebellar areas involved in attentional processing and cognitive control. Mothers of infants exhibiting more disorganized behavior showed reduced response in bilateral temporal and subcallosal areas relevant to social cognition and emotion regulation. No differences by attachment classification were found. Implications for attachment transmission models are discussed. PMID:22982277

  15. Age-related differences in the neural bases of phonological and semantic processes

    PubMed Central

    Diaz, Michele T.; Johnson, Micah A.; Burke, Deborah M.; Madden, David J.

    2014-01-01

    Changes in language functions during normal aging are greater for phonological compared to semantic processes. To investigate the behavioral and neural basis for these age-related differences, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine younger and older adults who made semantic and phonological decisions about pictures. The behavioral performance of older adults was less accurate and less efficient than younger adults’ in the phonological task, but did not differ in the semantic task. In the fMRI analyses, the semantic task activated left-hemisphere language regions, while the phonological task activated bilateral cingulate and ventral precuneus. Age-related effects were widespread throughout the brain, and most often expressed as greater activation for older adults. Activation was greater for younger compared to older adults in ventral brain regions involved in visual and object processing. Although there was not a significant Age x Condition interaction in the whole-brain fMRI results, correlations examining the relationship between behavior and fMRI activation were stronger for younger compared to older adults. Our results suggest that the relationship between behavior and neural activation declines with age and this may underlie some of the observed declines in performance. PMID:24893737

  16. A Face a Mother Could Love: Depression-Related Maternal Neural Responses to Infant Emotion Faces

    PubMed Central

    Laurent, Heidemarie K.; Ablow, Jennifer C.

    2013-01-01

    Depressed mothers show negatively biased responses to their infants’ emotional bids, perhaps due to faulty processing of infant cues. This study is the first to examine depression-related differences in mothers’ neural response to their own infant’s emotion faces, considering both effects of perinatal depression history and current depressive symptoms. Primiparous mothers (n = 22), half of whom had a history of major depressive episodes (with one episode occurring during pregnancy and/or postpartum), were exposed to images of their own and unfamiliar infants’ joy and distress faces during functional neuroimaging. Group differences (depression vs. no-depression) and continuous effects of current depressive symptoms were tested in relation to neural response to own infant emotion faces. Compared to mothers with no psychiatric diagnoses, those with depression showed blunted responses to their own infant’s distress faces in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. Mothers with higher levels of current symptomatology showed reduced responses to their own infant’s joy faces in the orbital-frontal cortex and insula. Current symptomatology also predicted lower responses to own infant joy–distress in left-sided prefrontal and insula/striatal regions. These deficits in self-regulatory and motivational response circuits may help explain parenting difficulties in depressed mothers. PMID:23330663

  17. Reward-related neural dysfunction across depression and impulsivity: A dimensional approach.

    PubMed

    Ait Oumeziane, Belel; Foti, Dan

    2016-08-01

    Recent theoretical models underline reward sensitivity as a potential endophenotype for major depressive disorder. Neural and behavioral evidence reveals depression is associated with reduced reward sensitivity. However, reward dysfunction is not unique to depression, as it is also common across disorders of poor impulse control. We examined the interrelationships of depression (Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale [DASS-21]) and impulsivity (UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale) with reward sensitivity among a large, representative sample (N = 260). ERPs were recorded to isolate two neural indicators of consummatory reward processing: initial evaluation of rewards in the 250-350 ms time window postonset of feedback (reward positivity [RewP]), and salience to monetary outcomes (P3). Significant interactions were observed between depression and impulsivity facets across these two stages of reward processing: depression and positive urgency predicted RewP amplitude to reward outcomes (win vs. loss); depression and one other impulsivity trait, (lack of) premeditation, predicted P3 amplitude to monetary outcomes. Conversely, high symptoms of depression were related to three biobehavioral profiles: (1) blunted RewP in conjunction with high positive urgency, (2) combination of blunted RewP and low (lack of) premeditation, and (3) blunted P3 to monetary wins/losses, in conjunction with low (lack of) premeditation. Findings illustrate that reward-related dysfunctions may be optimally conceptualized when examining the interactions between dimensions of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. PMID:27193188

  18. Theory-of-mind-related neural activity for one's romantic partner predicts partner well-being.

    PubMed

    Dodell-Feder, David; Felix, Steven; Yung, Matthew G; Hooker, Christine I

    2016-04-01

    Healthy social relationships are linked to myriad positive physical and mental health outcomes, raising the question of how to enhance relationship formation and quality. Behavioral data suggest that theory of mind (ToM) may be one such process. ToM is supported by a network of brain regions including the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), medial prefrontal cortex and precuneus (PC). However, little research has investigated how the ToM network supports healthy social relationships. Here, we investigate whether recruitment of the ToM network when thinking about the mental states of one's romantic partner predicts the partner's well-being. We find that selectivity in left TPJ (LTPJ) and PC for beliefs vs physical attributes of one's partner is positively associated with partner well-being the day of and day after a meaningful encounter. Furthermore, LTPJ and PC selectivity moderated how the partner's perception of being understood during the encounter affected their later well-being. Finally, we find the association between ToM-related neural selectivity and well-being robust to other factors related to the relationship and the encounter. Together, these data suggest that selective engagement of the neural network supporting ToM may be a key ingredient for the development and maintenance of healthy romantic relationships. PMID:26609107

  19. Neural correlates of conceptual object priming in young and older adults: An event-related fMRI study

    PubMed Central

    Ballesteros, Soledad; Bischof, Gérard N.; Goh, Joshua O.; Park, Denise C.

    2012-01-01

    In this event-related fMRI study, we investigated age-related differences in brain activity associated with conceptual repetition priming in young and older adults. Participants performed a speeded “living/non-living” classification task with three repetitions of familiar objects. Both young and older adults showed a similar magnitude of behavioral priming to repeated objects and evidencing repetition-related activation reductions in fusiform gyrus, superior occipital, middle and inferior temporal cortex, as well as inferior frontal and insula regions. The neural priming effect in young adults was extensive and continued through both the second and third stimulus repetitions, whereas neural priming in older adults was markedly attenuated and reached floor at the second repetition. In young adults, greater neural priming in multiple brain regions correlated with greater behavioral facilitation whereas in older adults, only activation reduction in the left inferior frontal correlated with faster behavioral responses. These findings provide evidence for altered neural priming in older adults despite preserved behavioral priming, and suggest the possibility that age-invariant behavioral priming is observed as a result of more sustained neural processing of stimuli in older adults which may be a form of compensatory neural activity. PMID:23102512

  20. Neural correlates of conceptual object priming in young and older adults: an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

    PubMed

    Ballesteros, Soledad; Bischof, Gérard N; Goh, Joshua O; Park, Denise C

    2013-04-01

    In this event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we investigated age-related differences in brain activity associated with conceptual repetition priming in young and older adults. Participants performed a speeded "living/nonliving" classification task with 3 repetitions of familiar objects. Both young and older adults showed a similar magnitude of behavioral priming to repeated objects and evidenced repetition-related activation reductions in fusiform gyrus, superior occipital, middle, and inferior temporal cortex, and inferior frontal and insula regions. The neural priming effect in young adults was extensive and continued through both the second and third stimulus repetitions, and neural priming in older adults was markedly attenuated and reached floor at the second repetition. In young adults, greater neural priming in multiple brain regions correlated with greater behavioral facilitation and in older adults, only activation reduction in the left inferior frontal correlated with faster behavioral responses. These findings provide evidence for altered neural priming in older adults despite preserved behavioral priming, and suggest the possibility that age-invariant behavioral priming is observed as a result of more sustained neural processing of stimuli in older adults which might be a form of compensatory neural activity. PMID:23102512

  1. Measuring consciousness in dreams: the lucidity and consciousness in dreams scale.

    PubMed

    Voss, Ursula; Schermelleh-Engel, Karin; Windt, Jennifer; Frenzel, Clemens; Hobson, Allan

    2013-03-01

    In this article, we present results from an interdisciplinary research project aimed at assessing consciousness in dreams. For this purpose, we compared lucid dreams with normal non-lucid dreams from REM sleep. Both lucid and non-lucid dreams are an important contrast condition for theories of waking consciousness, giving valuable insights into the structure of conscious experience and its neural correlates during sleep. However, the precise differences between lucid and non-lucid dreams remain poorly understood. The construction of the Lucidity and Consciousness in Dreams scale (LuCiD) was based on theoretical considerations and empirical observations. Exploratory factor analysis of the data from the first survey identified eight factors that were validated in a second survey using confirmatory factor analysis: INSIGHT, CONTROL, THOUGHT, REALISM, MEMORY, DISSOCIATION, NEGATIVE EMOTION, and POSITIVE EMOTION. While all factors are involved in dream consciousness, realism and negative emotion do not differentiate between lucid and non-lucid dreams, suggesting that lucid insight is separable from both bizarreness in dreams and a change in the subjectively experienced realism of the dream. PMID:23220345

  2. Odd-skipped related-1 controls neural crest chondrogenesis during tongue development

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Han; Lan, Yu; Xu, Jingyue; Chang, Ching-Fang; Brugmann, Samantha A.; Jiang, Rulang

    2013-01-01

    The tongue is a critical element of the feeding system in tetrapod animals for their successful adaptation to terrestrial life. Whereas the oral part of the mammalian tongue contains soft tissues only, the avian tongue has an internal skeleton extending to the anterior tip. The mechanisms underlying the evolutionary divergence in tongue skeleton formation are completely unknown. We show here that the odd-skipped related-1 (Osr1) transcription factor is expressed throughout the neural crest-derived tongue mesenchyme in mouse, but not in chick, embryos during early tongue morphogenesis. Neural crest-specific inactivation of Osr1 resulted in formation of an ectopic cartilage in the mouse tongue, reminiscent in shape and developmental ontogeny of the anterior tongue cartilage in chick. SRY-box containing gene-9 (Sox9), the master regulator of chondrogenesis, is widely expressed in the nascent tongue mesenchyme at the onset of tongue morphogenesis but its expression is dramatically down-regulated concomitant with activation of Osr1 expression in the developing mouse tongue. In Osr1 mutant mouse embryos, expression of Sox9 persisted in the developing tongue mesenchyme where chondrogenesis is subsequently activated to form the ectopic cartilage. Furthermore, we show that Osr1 binds to the Sox9 gene promoter and that overexpression of Osr1 suppressed expression of endogenous Sox9 mRNAs and Sox9 promoter-driven reporter. These data indicate that Osr1 normally prevents chondrogenesis in the mammalian tongue through repression of Sox9 expression and suggest that changes in regulation of Osr1 expression in the neural crest-derived tongue mesenchyme underlie the evolutionary divergence of birds from other vertebrates in tongue morphogenesis. PMID:24167250

  3. Odd-skipped related-1 controls neural crest chondrogenesis during tongue development.

    PubMed

    Liu, Han; Lan, Yu; Xu, Jingyue; Chang, Ching-Fang; Brugmann, Samantha A; Jiang, Rulang

    2013-11-12

    The tongue is a critical element of the feeding system in tetrapod animals for their successful adaptation to terrestrial life. Whereas the oral part of the mammalian tongue contains soft tissues only, the avian tongue has an internal skeleton extending to the anterior tip. The mechanisms underlying the evolutionary divergence in tongue skeleton formation are completely unknown. We show here that the odd-skipped related-1 (Osr1) transcription factor is expressed throughout the neural crest-derived tongue mesenchyme in mouse, but not in chick, embryos during early tongue morphogenesis. Neural crest-specific inactivation of Osr1 resulted in formation of an ectopic cartilage in the mouse tongue, reminiscent in shape and developmental ontogeny of the anterior tongue cartilage in chick. SRY-box containing gene-9 (Sox9), the master regulator of chondrogenesis, is widely expressed in the nascent tongue mesenchyme at the onset of tongue morphogenesis but its expression is dramatically down-regulated concomitant with activation of Osr1 expression in the developing mouse tongue. In Osr1 mutant mouse embryos, expression of Sox9 persisted in the developing tongue mesenchyme where chondrogenesis is subsequently activated to form the ectopic cartilage. Furthermore, we show that Osr1 binds to the Sox9 gene promoter and that overexpression of Osr1 suppressed expression of endogenous Sox9 mRNAs and Sox9 promoter-driven reporter. These data indicate that Osr1 normally prevents chondrogenesis in the mammalian tongue through repression of Sox9 expression and suggest that changes in regulation of Osr1 expression in the neural crest-derived tongue mesenchyme underlie the evolutionary divergence of birds from other vertebrates in tongue morphogenesis. PMID:24167250

  4. Behavioral and neural correlates of visual preference decision

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shimojo, Shinsuke

    2009-02-01

    Three sets of findings are reported here, all related to behavioral and neural correlates of preference decision. First, when one is engaged in a preference decision task with free observation, one's gaze is biased towards the to-be-chosen stimulus (eg. face) long before (s)he is consciously aware of the decision ("gaze cascade effect"). Second, an fMRI study suggested that implicit activity in a subcortical structure (the Nucleus Accumbens) precedes cognitive and conscious decision of preference. Finally, both novelty and familiarity causally contribute to attractiveness, but differently across object categories (such as faces and natural scenes). Taken together, these results point to dynamical and implicit processes both in short- and long-term, towards conscious preference decision. Finally, some discussion will be given on aesthetic decision (i.e. "beauty").

  5. Conscious Vision in Action.

    PubMed

    Briscoe, Robert; Schwenkler, John

    2015-09-01

    It is natural to assume that the fine-grained and highly accurate spatial information present in visual experience is often used to guide our bodily actions. Yet this assumption has been challenged by proponents of the Two Visual Systems Hypothesis (TVSH), according to which visuomotor programming is the responsibility of a "zombie" processing stream whose sources of bottom-up spatial information are entirely non-conscious (Clark, 2007, 2009; Goodale & Milner, 1992, 2004a; Milner & Goodale, 1995/2006, 2008). In many formulations of TVSH, the role of conscious vision in action is limited to "recognizing objects, selecting targets for action, and determining what kinds of action, broadly speaking, to perform" (Clark, 2007, p. 570). Our aim in this study is to show that the available evidence not only fails to support this dichotomous view but actually reveals a significant role for conscious vision in motor programming, especially for actions that require deliberate attention. PMID:25845648

  6. Cajal and consciousness. Introduction.

    PubMed

    Marijuán, P C

    2001-04-01

    One hundred years after Santiago Ramón Cajal established the bases of modern neuroscience in his masterpiece Textura del sistema nervioso del hombre y de los vertebrados, the question is stated again: What is the status of consciousness today? The responses in this book, by contemporary leading figures of neuroscience, evolution, molecular biology, computer science, and quantum physics, collectively compose a fascinating conceptual landscape. Both the evolutionary emergence of consciousness and its development towards the highest level may be analyzed by a wealth of new theories and hypotheses, including Cajal's prescient ones. Some noticeable gaps remain, however. Celebrating the centennial of Textura is a timely occasion to reassess how close--and how far--our system of the sciences is to explaining consciousness. PMID:11349418

  7. Objects of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, Donald D; Prakash, Chetan

    2014-01-01

    Current models of visual perception typically assume that human vision estimates true properties of physical objects, properties that exist even if unperceived. However, recent studies of perceptual evolution, using evolutionary games and genetic algorithms, reveal that natural selection often drives true perceptions to extinction when they compete with perceptions tuned to fitness rather than truth: Perception guides adaptive behavior; it does not estimate a preexisting physical truth. Moreover, shifting from evolutionary biology to quantum physics, there is reason to disbelieve in preexisting physical truths: Certain interpretations of quantum theory deny that dynamical properties of physical objects have definite values when unobserved. In some of these interpretations the observer is fundamental, and wave functions are compendia of subjective probabilities, not preexisting elements of physical reality. These two considerations, from evolutionary biology and quantum physics, suggest that current models of object perception require fundamental reformulation. Here we begin such a reformulation, starting with a formal model of consciousness that we call a "conscious agent." We develop the dynamics of interacting conscious agents, and study how the perception of objects and space-time can emerge from such dynamics. We show that one particular object, the quantum free particle, has a wave function that is identical in form to the harmonic functions that characterize the asymptotic dynamics of conscious agents; particles are vibrations not of strings but of interacting conscious agents. This allows us to reinterpret physical properties such as position, momentum, and energy as properties of interacting conscious agents, rather than as preexisting physical truths. We sketch how this approach might extend to the perception of relativistic quantum objects, and to classical objects of macroscopic scale. PMID:24987382

  8. Objects of consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Hoffman, Donald D.; Prakash, Chetan

    2014-01-01

    Current models of visual perception typically assume that human vision estimates true properties of physical objects, properties that exist even if unperceived. However, recent studies of perceptual evolution, using evolutionary games and genetic algorithms, reveal that natural selection often drives true perceptions to extinction when they compete with perceptions tuned to fitness rather than truth: Perception guides adaptive behavior; it does not estimate a preexisting physical truth. Moreover, shifting from evolutionary biology to quantum physics, there is reason to disbelieve in preexisting physical truths: Certain interpretations of quantum theory deny that dynamical properties of physical objects have definite values when unobserved. In some of these interpretations the observer is fundamental, and wave functions are compendia of subjective probabilities, not preexisting elements of physical reality. These two considerations, from evolutionary biology and quantum physics, suggest that current models of object perception require fundamental reformulation. Here we begin such a reformulation, starting with a formal model of consciousness that we call a “conscious agent.” We develop the dynamics of interacting conscious agents, and study how the perception of objects and space-time can emerge from such dynamics. We show that one particular object, the quantum free particle, has a wave function that is identical in form to the harmonic functions that characterize the asymptotic dynamics of conscious agents; particles are vibrations not of strings but of interacting conscious agents. This allows us to reinterpret physical properties such as position, momentum, and energy as properties of interacting conscious agents, rather than as preexisting physical truths. We sketch how this approach might extend to the perception of relativistic quantum objects, and to classical objects of macroscopic scale. PMID:24987382

  9. Adolescents' risky decision-making activates neural networks related to social cognition and cognitive control processes.

    PubMed

    Rodrigo, María José; Padrón, Iván; de Vega, Manuel; Ferstl, Evelyn C

    2014-01-01

    This study examines by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging the neural mechanisms underlying adolescents' risk decision-making in social contexts. We hypothesize that the social context could engage brain regions associated with social cognition processes and developmental changes are also expected. Sixty participants (adolescents: 17-18, and young adults: 21-22 years old) read narratives describing typical situations of decision-making in the presence of peers. They were asked to make choices in risky situations (e.g., taking or refusing a drug) or ambiguous situations (e.g., eating a hamburger or a hotdog). Risky as compared to ambiguous scenarios activated bilateral temporoparietal junction (TPJ), bilateral middle temporal gyrus (MTG), right medial prefrontal cortex, and the precuneus bilaterally; i.e., brain regions related to social cognition processes, such as self-reflection and theory of mind (ToM). In addition, brain structures related to cognitive control were active [right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), bilateral orbitofrontal cortex], whereas no significant clusters were obtained in the reward system (ventral striatum). Choosing the dangerous option involved a further activation of control areas (ACC) and emotional and social cognition areas (temporal pole). Adolescents employed more neural resources than young adults in the right DLPFC and the right TPJ in risk situations. When choosing the dangerous option, young adults showed a further engagement in ToM related regions (bilateral MTG) and in motor control regions related to the planning of actions (pre-supplementary motor area). Finally, the right insula and the right superior temporal gyrus were more activated in women than in men, suggesting more emotional involvement and more intensive modeling of the others' perspective in the risky conditions. These findings call for more comprehensive developmental accounts of decision-making in

  10. Adolescents’ risky decision-making activates neural networks related to social cognition and cognitive control processes

    PubMed Central

    Rodrigo, María José; Padrón, Iván; de Vega, Manuel; Ferstl, Evelyn C.

    2014-01-01

    This study examines by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging the neural mechanisms underlying adolescents’ risk decision-making in social contexts. We hypothesize that the social context could engage brain regions associated with social cognition processes and developmental changes are also expected. Sixty participants (adolescents: 17–18, and young adults: 21–22 years old) read narratives describing typical situations of decision-making in the presence of peers. They were asked to make choices in risky situations (e.g., taking or refusing a drug) or ambiguous situations (e.g., eating a hamburger or a hotdog). Risky as compared to ambiguous scenarios activated bilateral temporoparietal junction (TPJ), bilateral middle temporal gyrus (MTG), right medial prefrontal cortex, and the precuneus bilaterally; i.e., brain regions related to social cognition processes, such as self-reflection and theory of mind (ToM). In addition, brain structures related to cognitive control were active [right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), bilateral orbitofrontal cortex], whereas no significant clusters were obtained in the reward system (ventral striatum). Choosing the dangerous option involved a further activation of control areas (ACC) and emotional and social cognition areas (temporal pole). Adolescents employed more neural resources than young adults in the right DLPFC and the right TPJ in risk situations. When choosing the dangerous option, young adults showed a further engagement in ToM related regions (bilateral MTG) and in motor control regions related to the planning of actions (pre-supplementary motor area). Finally, the right insula and the right superior temporal gyrus were more activated in women than in men, suggesting more emotional involvement and more intensive modeling of the others’ perspective in the risky conditions. These findings call for more comprehensive developmental accounts of decision

  11. Lead-Induced Impairments in the Neural Processes Related to Working Memory Function

    PubMed Central

    Jin, Seong-Uk; Park, Jang Woo; Kim, Yang-Tae; Ryeom, Hun-Kyu; Lee, Jongmin; Suh, Kyung Jin; Kim, Suk Hwan; Park, Sin-Jae; Jeong, Kyoung Sook; Ham, Jung-O; Kim, Yangho; Chang, Yongmin

    2014-01-01

    Background It is well known that lead exposure induces neurotoxic effects, which can result in a variety of neurocognitive dysfunction. Especially, occupational lead exposures in adults are associated with decreases in cognitive performance including working memory. Despite recent advances in human neuroimaging techniques, the neural correlates of lead-exposed cognitive impairment remain unclear. Therefore, this study was aimed to compare the neural activations in relation to working memory function between the lead-exposed subjects and healthy controls. Methodology/Principal Findings Thirty-one lead-exposed subjects and 34 healthy subjects performed an n-back memory task during MRI scan. We performed fMRI using the 1-back and 2-back memory tasks differing in cognitive demand. Functional MRI data were analyzed using within- and between-group analysis. We found that the lead-exposed subjects showed poorer working memory performance during high memory loading task than the healthy subjects. In addition, between-group analyses revealed that the lead-exposed subjects showed reduced activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, pre supplementary motor areas, and inferior parietal cortex. Conclusions/Significance Our findings suggest that functional abnormalities in the frontoparietal working memory network might contribute to impairments in maintenance and manipulation of working memory in the lead-exposed subjects. PMID:25141213

  12. Neural activity related to cognitive and emotional empathy in post-traumatic stress disorder.

    PubMed

    Mazza, Monica; Tempesta, Daniela; Pino, Maria Chiara; Nigri, Anna; Catalucci, Alessia; Guadagni, Veronica; Gallucci, Massimo; Iaria, Giuseppe; Ferrara, Michele

    2015-04-01

    The aim of this study is to evaluate the empathic ability and its functional brain correlates in post-traumatic stress disorder subjects (PTSD). Seven PTSD subjects and ten healthy controls, all present in the L'Aquila area during the earthquake of the April 2009, underwent fMRI during which they performed a modified version of the Multifaceted Empathy Test. PTSD patients showed impairments in implicit and explicit emotional empathy, but not in cognitive empathy. Brain responses during cognitive empathy showed an increased activation in patients compared to controls in the right medial frontal gyrus and the left inferior frontal gyrus. During implicit emotional empathy responses patients with PTSD, compared to controls, exhibited greater neural activity in the left pallidum and right insula; instead the control group showed an increased activation in right inferior frontal gyrus. Finally, in the explicit emotional empathy responses the PTSD group showed a reduced neural activity in the left insula and the left inferior frontal gyrus. The behavioral deficit limited to the emotional empathy dimension, accompanied by different patterns of activation in empathy related brain structures, represent a first piece of evidence of a dissociation between emotional and cognitive empathy in PTSD patients. The present findings support the idea that empathy is a multidimensional process, with different facets depending on distinct anatomical substrates. PMID:25555525

  13. Trait self-esteem and neural activities related to self-evaluation and social feedback

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Juan; Xu, Xiaofan; Chen, Yu; Shi, Zhenhao; Han, Shihui

    2016-01-01

    Self-esteem has been associated with neural responses to self-reflection and attitude toward social feedback but in different brain regions. The distinct associations might arise from different tasks or task-related attitudes in the previous studies. The current study aimed to clarify these by investigating the association between self-esteem and neural responses to evaluation of one’s own personality traits and of others’ opinion about one’s own personality traits. We scanned 25 college students using functional MRI during evaluation of oneself or evaluation of social feedback. Trait self-esteem was measured using the Rosenberg self-esteem scale after scanning. Whole-brain regression analyses revealed that trait self-esteem was associated with the bilateral orbitofrontal activity during evaluation of one’s own positive traits but with activities in the medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate, and occipital cortices during evaluation of positive social feedback. Our findings suggest that trait self-esteem modulates the degree of both affective processes in the orbitofrontal cortex during self-reflection and cognitive processes in the medial prefrontal cortex during evaluation of social feedback. PMID:26842975

  14. Trait self-esteem and neural activities related to self-evaluation and social feedback.

    PubMed

    Yang, Juan; Xu, Xiaofan; Chen, Yu; Shi, Zhenhao; Han, Shihui

    2016-01-01

    Self-esteem has been associated with neural responses to self-reflection and attitude toward social feedback but in different brain regions. The distinct associations might arise from different tasks or task-related attitudes in the previous studies. The current study aimed to clarify these by investigating the association between self-esteem and neural responses to evaluation of one's own personality traits and of others' opinion about one's own personality traits. We scanned 25 college students using functional MRI during evaluation of oneself or evaluation of social feedback. Trait self-esteem was measured using the Rosenberg self-esteem scale after scanning. Whole-brain regression analyses revealed that trait self-esteem was associated with the bilateral orbitofrontal activity during evaluation of one's own positive traits but with activities in the medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate, and occipital cortices during evaluation of positive social feedback. Our findings suggest that trait self-esteem modulates the degree of both affective processes in the orbitofrontal cortex during self-reflection and cognitive processes in the medial prefrontal cortex during evaluation of social feedback. PMID:26842975

  15. Inferential Bridging Relations Reveal Distinct Neural Mechanisms: Evidence from Event-Related Brain Potentials

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Burkhardt, Petra

    2006-01-01

    This study investigates the online comprehension of Determiner Phrases (DPs) as a function of the given-new distinction in two-sentence texts in German and further focuses on DPs whose interpretation depends on inferential information (so-called "bridging relations"). Previous reaction time studies report an advantage of given over new…

  16. Afference copy as a quantitative neurophysiological model for consciousness.

    PubMed

    Cornelis, Hugo; Coop, Allan D

    2014-06-01

    Consciousness is a topic of considerable human curiosity with a long history of philosophical analysis and debate. We consider there is nothing particularly complicated about consciousness when viewed as a necessary process of the vertebrate nervous system. Here, we propose a physiological "explanatory gap" is created during each present moment by the temporal requirements of neuronal activity. The gap extends from the time exteroceptive and proprioceptive stimuli activate the nervous system until they emerge into consciousness. During this "moment", it is impossible for an organism to have any conscious knowledge of the ongoing evolution of its environment. In our schematic model, a mechanism of "afference copy" is employed to bridge the explanatory gap with consciously experienced percepts. These percepts are fabricated from the conjunction of the cumulative memory of previous relevant experience and the given stimuli. They are structured to provide the best possible prediction of the expected content of subjective conscious experience likely to occur during the period of the gap. The model is based on the proposition that the neural circuitry necessary to support consciousness is a product of sub/preconscious reflexive learning and recall processes. Based on a review of various psychological and neurophysiological findings, we develop a framework which contextualizes the model and briefly discuss further implications. PMID:25012715

  17. General Markers of Conscious Visual Perception and Their Timing

    PubMed Central

    Rutiku, Renate; Aru, Jaan; Bachmann, Talis

    2016-01-01

    Previous studies have observed different onset times for the neural markers of conscious perception. This variability could be attributed to procedural differences between studies. Here we show that the onset times for the markers of conscious visual perception can strongly vary even within a single study. A heterogeneous stimulus set was presented at threshold contrast. Trials with and without conscious perception were contrasted on 100 balanced subsets of the data. Importantly, the 100 subsets with heterogeneous stimuli did not differ in stimulus content, but only with regard to specific trials used. This approach enabled us to study general markers of conscious visual perception independent of stimulus content, characterize their onset and its variability within one study. N200 and P300 were the two reliable markers of conscious visual perception common to all perceived stimuli and absent for all non-perceived stimuli. The estimated mean onset latency for both markers was shortly after 200 ms. However, the onset latency of these markers was associated with considerable variability depending on which subsets of the data were considered. We show that it is first and foremost the amplitude fluctuation in the condition without conscious perception that explains the observed variability in onset latencies of the markers of conscious visual perception. PMID:26869905

  18. Model predictions of features in microsaccade-related neural responses in a feedforward network with short-term synaptic depression

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Jian-Fang; Yuan, Wu-Jie; Zhou, Zhao; Zhou, Changsong

    2016-01-01

    Recently, the significant microsaccade-induced neural responses have been extensively observed in experiments. To explore the underlying mechanisms of the observed neural responses, a feedforward network model with short-term synaptic depression has been proposed [Yuan, W.-J., Dimigen, O., Sommer, W. and Zhou, C. Front. Comput. Neurosci. 7, 47 (2013)]. The depression model not only gave an explanation for microsaccades in counteracting visual fading, but also successfully reproduced several microsaccade-related features in experimental findings. These results strongly suggest that, the depression model is very useful to investigate microsaccade-related neural responses. In this paper, by using the model, we extensively study and predict the dependance of microsaccade-related neural responses on several key parameters, which could be tuned in experiments. Particularly, we provide a significant prediction that microsaccade-related neural response also complies with the property “sharper is better” observed in many contexts in neuroscience. Importantly, the property exhibits a power-law relationship between the width of input signal and the responsive effectiveness, which is robust against many parameters in the model. By using mean field theory, we analytically investigate the robust power-law property. Our predictions would give theoretical guidance for further experimental investigations of the functional role of microsaccades in visual information processing. PMID:26853547

  19. Model predictions of features in microsaccade-related neural responses in a feedforward network with short-term synaptic depression

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Jian-Fang; Yuan, Wu-Jie; Zhou, Zhao; Zhou, Changsong

    2016-02-01

    Recently, the significant microsaccade-induced neural responses have been extensively observed in experiments. To explore the underlying mechanisms of the observed neural responses, a feedforward network model with short-term synaptic depression has been proposed [Yuan, W.-J., Dimigen, O., Sommer, W. and Zhou, C. Front. Comput. Neurosci. 7, 47 (2013)]. The depression model not only gave an explanation for microsaccades in counteracting visual fading, but also successfully reproduced several microsaccade-related features in experimental findings. These results strongly suggest that, the depression model is very useful to investigate microsaccade-related neural responses. In this paper, by using the model, we extensively study and predict the dependance of microsaccade-related neural responses on several key parameters, which could be tuned in experiments. Particularly, we provide a significant prediction that microsaccade-related neural response also complies with the property “sharper is better” observed in many contexts in neuroscience. Importantly, the property exhibits a power-law relationship between the width of input signal and the responsive effectiveness, which is robust against many parameters in the model. By using mean field theory, we analytically investigate the robust power-law property. Our predictions would give theoretical guidance for further experimental investigations of the functional role of microsaccades in visual information processing.

  20. Recomposing a fragmented literature: how conditional and relational arguments engage different neural systems for deductive reasoning.

    PubMed

    Prado, Jérôme; Van Der Henst, Jean-Baptiste; Noveck, Ira A

    2010-07-01

    Deductive reasoning is traditionally viewed as a unitary process involving either rule-based or visuo-spatial mechanisms. However, there is a disagreement in the neuroimaging literature on whether the data support one alternative over the other. Here we test the hypothesis that discrepancies in the literature result from the reasoning materials themselves. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we measure brain activity of participants while they integrate the premises of conditional arguments (primarily Modus Tollens: If P then Q; not-Q) and Relational Syllogisms (i.e., linear arguments of the sort P is to the left of Q; Q is to the left of R). We find that reasoning with Modus Tollens activates the left inferior frontal gyrus to a greater extent than the Relational Syllogisms. In contrast, the Relational Syllogisms engage the right temporo-parieto-occipital junction more than conditional arguments. This suggests that conditional reasoning relies more on so-called syntactic processes than relational reasoning, while relational reasoning may rely on visuo-spatial processes and mental imagery more than conditional reasoning. This investigative approach, together with its results, clarifies some apparently inconsistent findings in this literature by showing that the nature of the logical argument, whether it is relational or conditional, determines which neural system is engaged. PMID:20302951

  1. The Neural Bases of Taxonomic and Thematic Conceptual Relations: An MEG Study

    PubMed Central

    Lewis, Gwyneth A.; Poeppel, David; Murphy, Gregory L.

    2015-01-01

    Converging evidence from behavioral and neuroimaging studies of human concepts indicate distinct neural systems for taxonomic and thematic knowledge. A recent study of naming in aphasia found involvement of the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) during taxonomic (feature-based) processing, and involvement of the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) during thematic (function-based) processing. We conducted an online magnetoencephalography (MEG) study to examine the spatio-temporal nature of taxonomic and thematic relations. We measured participants’ brain responses to words preceded by either a taxonomically or thematically related item (e.g., cottage→castle, king→castle). In a separate experiment we collected relatedness ratings of the word pairs from participants. We examined effects of relatedness and relation type on activation in ATL and TPJ regions of interest (ROIs) using permutation t-tests to identify differences in ROI activation between conditions as well as single-trial correlational analyses to examine the millisecond-by-millisecond influence of the stimulus variables on the ROIs. Taxonomic relations strongly predicted ATL activation, and both kinds of relations influenced the TPJ. Our results further strengthen the view of the ATL's importance to taxonomic knowledge. Moreover, they provide a nuanced view of thematic relations as involving taxonomic knowledge. PMID:25582406

  2. Answering questions about consciousness by modeling perception as covert behavior.

    PubMed

    Markkula, Gustav

    2015-01-01

    Two main open questions in current consciousness research concern (i) the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) and (ii) the relationship between neural activity and first-person, subjective experience. Here, possible answers are sketched for both of these, by means of a model-based analysis of what is required for one to admit having a conscious experience. To this end, a model is proposed that allows reasoning, albeit necessarily in a simplistic manner, about all of the so called "easy problems" of consciousness, from discrimination of stimuli to control of behavior and language. First, it is argued that current neuroscientific knowledge supports the view of perception and action selection as two examples of the same basic phenomenon, such that one can meaningfully refer to neuronal activations involved in perception as covert behavior. Building on existing neuroscientific and psychological models, a narrative behavior model is proposed, outlining how the brain selects covert (and sometimes overt) behaviors to construct a complex, multi-level narrative about what it is like to be the individual in question. It is hypothesized that we tend to admit a conscious experience of X if, at the time of judging consciousness, we find ourselves acceptably capable of performing narrative behavior describing X. It is argued that the proposed account reconciles seemingly conflicting empirical results, previously presented as evidence for competing theories of consciousness, and suggests that well-defined, experiment-independent NCCs are unlikely to exist. Finally, an analysis is made of what the modeled narrative behavior machinery is and is not capable of. It is discussed how an organism endowed with such a machinery could, from its first-person perspective, come to adopt notions such as "subjective experience," and of there being "hard problems," and "explanatory gaps" to be addressed in order to understand consciousness. PMID:26136704

  3. Answering questions about consciousness by modeling perception as covert behavior

    PubMed Central

    Markkula, Gustav

    2015-01-01

    Two main open questions in current consciousness research concern (i) the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) and (ii) the relationship between neural activity and first-person, subjective experience. Here, possible answers are sketched for both of these, by means of a model-based analysis of what is required for one to admit having a conscious experience. To this end, a model is proposed that allows reasoning, albeit necessarily in a simplistic manner, about all of the so called “easy problems” of consciousness, from discrimination of stimuli to control of behavior and language. First, it is argued that current neuroscientific knowledge supports the view of perception and action selection as two examples of the same basic phenomenon, such that one can meaningfully refer to neuronal activations involved in perception as covert behavior. Building on existing neuroscientific and psychological models, a narrative behavior model is proposed, outlining how the brain selects covert (and sometimes overt) behaviors to construct a complex, multi-level narrative about what it is like to be the individual in question. It is hypothesized that we tend to admit a conscious experience of X if, at the time of judging consciousness, we find ourselves acceptably capable of performing narrative behavior describing X. It is argued that the proposed account reconciles seemingly conflicting empirical results, previously presented as evidence for competing theories of consciousness, and suggests that well-defined, experiment-independent NCCs are unlikely to exist. Finally, an analysis is made of what the modeled narrative behavior machinery is and is not capable of. It is discussed how an organism endowed with such a machinery could, from its first-person perspective, come to adopt notions such as “subjective experience,” and of there being “hard problems,” and “explanatory gaps” to be addressed in order to understand consciousness. PMID:26136704

  4. The evolutionary and genetic origins of consciousness in the Cambrian Period over 500 million years ago

    PubMed Central

    Feinberg, Todd E.; Mallatt, Jon

    2013-01-01

    Vertebrates evolved in the Cambrian Period before 520 million years ago, but we do not know when or how consciousness arose in the history of the vertebrate brain. Here we propose multiple levels of isomorphic or somatotopic neural representations as an objective marker for sensory consciousness. All extant vertebrates have these, so we deduce that consciousness extends back to the group's origin. The first conscious sense may have been vision. Then vision, coupled with additional sensory systems derived from ectodermal placodes and neural crest, transformed primitive reflexive systems into image forming brains that map and perceive the external world and the body's interior. We posit that the minimum requirement for sensory consciousness and qualia is a brain including a forebrain (but not necessarily a developed cerebral cortex/pallium), midbrain, and hindbrain. This brain must also have (1) hierarchical systems of intercommunicating, isomorphically organized, processing nuclei that extensively integrate the different senses into representations that emerge in upper levels of the neural hierarchy; and (2) a widespread reticular formation that integrates the sensory inputs and contributes to attention, awareness, and neural synchronization. We propose a two-step evolutionary history, in which the optic tectum was the original center of multi-sensory conscious perception (as in fish and amphibians: step 1), followed by a gradual shift of this center to the dorsal pallium or its cerebral cortex (in mammals, reptiles, birds: step 2). We address objections to the hypothesis and call for more studies of fish and amphibians. In our view, the lamprey has all the neural requisites and is likely the simplest extant vertebrate with sensory consciousness and qualia. Genes that pattern the proposed elements of consciousness (isomorphism, neural crest, placodes) have been identified in all vertebrates. Thus, consciousness is in the genes, some of which are already known. PMID

  5. Activational and effort-related aspects of motivation: neural mechanisms and implications for psychopathology.

    PubMed

    Salamone, John D; Yohn, Samantha E; López-Cruz, Laura; San Miguel, Noemí; Correa, Mercè

    2016-05-01

    Motivation has been defined as the process that allows organisms to regulate their internal and external environment, and control the probability, proximity and availability of stimuli. As such, motivation is a complex process that is critical for survival, which involves multiple behavioural functions mediated by a number of interacting neural circuits. Classical theories of motivation suggest that there are both directional and activational aspects of motivation, and activational aspects (i.e. speed and vigour of both the instigation and persistence of behaviour) are critical for enabling organisms to overcome work-related obstacles or constraints that separate them from significant stimuli. The present review discusses the role of brain dopamine and related circuits in behavioural activation, exertion of effort in instrumental behaviour, and effort-related decision-making, based upon both animal and human studies. Impairments in behavioural activation and effort-related aspects of motivation are associated with psychiatric symptoms such as anergia, fatigue, lassitude and psychomotor retardation, which cross multiple pathologies, including depression, schizophrenia, and Parkinson's disease. Therefore, this review also attempts to provide an interdisciplinary approach that integrates findings from basic behavioural neuroscience, behavioural economics, clinical neuropsychology, psychiatry, and neurology, to provide a coherent framework for future research and theory in this critical field. Although dopamine systems are a critical part of the brain circuitry regulating behavioural activation, exertion of effort, and effort-related decision-making, mesolimbic dopamine is only one part of a distributed circuitry that includes multiple neurotransmitters and brain areas. Overall, there is a striking similarity between the brain areas involved in behavioural activation and effort-related processes in rodents and in humans. Animal models of effort-related decision

  6. Parental Socioeconomic Status and the Neural Basis of Arithmetic: Differential Relations to Verbal and Visuo-Spatial Representations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demir, Özlem Ece; Prado, Jérôme; Booth, James R.

    2015-01-01

    We examined the relation of parental socioeconomic status (SES) to the neural bases of subtraction in school-age children (9- to 12-year-olds). We independently localized brain regions subserving verbal versus visuo-spatial representations to determine whether the parental SES-related differences in children's reliance on these neural…

  7. A Framework for Relating Cognitive to Neural Systems. Cognitive Science Program, Technical Report No. 84-2.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Posner, Michael I.

    This paper reviews the aspects of cognitive science that relate best to using electrical and magnetic recording to understand the function of brain systems. It outlines a framework for relating cognitive activities of daily life (typing, reading) to underlying neural systems. The framework uses five levels of analysis: task, elementary operations,…

  8. Consciousness and the Brainstem.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Parvizi, Josef; Damasio, Antonio

    2001-01-01

    Summarizes a theoretical framework and set of hypotheses aimed at accounting for consciousness in neurobiological terms. Discusses the functional neuroanatomy of nuclei in the brainstem reticular formation. Notes that the views presented are compatible with the idea that the reticular formation modulates the electrophysiological activity of the…

  9. Neuronal integration in visual cortex elevates face category tuning to conscious face perception.

    PubMed

    Fahrenfort, Johannes J; Snijders, Tineke M; Heinen, Klaartje; van Gaal, Simon; Scholte, H Steven; Lamme, Victor A F

    2012-12-26

    The human brain has the extraordinary capability to transform cluttered sensory input into distinct object representations. For example, it is able to rapidly and seemingly without effort detect object categories in complex natural scenes. Surprisingly, category tuning is not sufficient to achieve conscious recognition of objects. What neural process beyond category extraction might elevate neural representations to the level where objects are consciously perceived? Here we show that visible and invisible faces produce similar category-selective responses in the ventral visual cortex. The pattern of neural activity evoked by visible faces could be used to decode the presence of invisible faces and vice versa. However, only visible faces caused extensive response enhancements and changes in neural oscillatory synchronization, as well as increased functional connectivity between higher and lower visual areas. We conclude that conscious face perception is more tightly linked to neural processes of sustained information integration and binding than to processes accommodating face category tuning. PMID:23236162

  10. Neural synchronization as a hypothetical explanation of the psychoanalytic unconscious.

    PubMed

    Ceylan, Mehmet Emin; Dönmez, Aslıhan; Ünsalver, Barış Önen; Evrensel, Alper

    2016-02-01

    Cognitive scientists have tried to explain the neural mechanisms of unconscious mental states such as coma, epileptic seizures, and anesthesia-induced unconsciousness. However these types of unconscious states are different from the psychoanalytic unconscious. In this review, we aim to present our hypothesis about the neural correlates underlying psychoanalytic unconscious. To fulfill this aim, we firstly review the previous explanations about the neural correlates of conscious and unconscious mental states, such as brain oscillations, synchronicity of neural networks, and cognitive binding. By doing so, we hope to lay a neuroscientific ground for our hypothesis about neural correlates of psychoanalytic unconscious; parallel but unsynchronized neural networks between different layers of consciousness and unconsciousness. Next, we propose a neuroscientific mechanism about how the repressed mental events reach the conscious awareness; the lock of neural synchronization between two mental layers of conscious and unconscious. At the last section, we will discuss the data about schizophrenia as a clinical example of our proposed hypothesis. PMID:26744848

  11. Motivated to win: Relationship between anticipatory and outcome reward-related neural activity.

    PubMed

    Pornpattananangkul, Narun; Nusslock, Robin

    2015-11-01

    Reward-processing involves two temporal stages characterized by two distinct neural processes: reward-anticipation and reward-outcome. Intriguingly, very little research has examined the relationship between neural processes involved in reward-anticipation and reward-outcome. To investigate this, one needs to consider the heterogeneity of reward-processing within each stage. To identify different stages of reward processing, we adapted a reward time-estimation task. While EEG data were recorded, participants were instructed to button-press 3.5s after the onset of an Anticipation-Cue and received monetary reward for good time-estimation on the Reward trials, but not on No-Reward trials. We first separated reward-anticipation into event related potentials (ERPs) occurring at three sub-stages: reward/no-reward cue-evaluation, motor-preparation and feedback-anticipation. During reward/no-reward cue-evaluation, the Reward-Anticipation Cue led to a smaller N2 and larger P3. During motor-preparation, we report, for the first time, that the Reward-Anticipation Cue enhanced the Readiness Potential (RP), starting approximately 1s before movement. At the subsequent feedback-anticipation stage, the Reward-Anticipation Cue elevated the Stimulus-Preceding Negativity (SPN). We also separated reward-outcome ERPs into different components occurring at different time-windows: the Feedback-Related Negativity (FRN), Feedback-P3 (FB-P3) and Late-Positive Potentials (LPP). Lastly, we examined the relationship between reward-anticipation and reward-outcome ERPs. We report that individual-differences in specific reward-anticipation ERPs uniquely predicted specific reward-outcome ERPs. In particular, the reward-anticipation Early-RP (1-.8s before movement) predicted early reward-outcome ERPs (FRN and FB-P3), whereas, the reward-anticipation SPN most strongly predicted a later reward-outcome ERP (LPP). Results have important implications for understanding the nature of the relationship

  12. Neural correlates of fixation duration in natural reading: Evidence from fixation-related fMRI.

    PubMed

    Henderson, John M; Choi, Wonil; Luke, Steven G; Desai, Rutvik H

    2015-10-01

    A key assumption of current theories of natural reading is that fixation duration reflects underlying attentional, language, and cognitive processes associated with text comprehension. The neurocognitive correlates of this relationship are currently unknown. To investigate this relationship, we compared neural activation associated with fixation duration in passage reading and a pseudo-reading control condition. The results showed that fixation duration was associated with activation in oculomotor and language areas during text reading. Fixation duration during pseudo-reading, on the other hand, showed greater involvement of frontal control regions, suggesting flexibility and task dependency of the eye movement network. Consistent with current models, these results provide support for the hypothesis that fixation duration in reading reflects attentional engagement and language processing. The results also demonstrate that fixation-related fMRI provides a method for investigating the neurocognitive bases of natural reading. PMID:26151101

  13. The neural basis of desire reasoning for self and others: an event-related potential study.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Qin; Li, Peng; Li, Fuhong; Wang, Qi; Cao, Bihua; Li, Hong

    2016-01-20

    Theory of mind refers to the ability to attribute mental states to self and others, and predict actions in terms of mental states. It is still unclear how certain kinds of processing occur in theory of mind operation. The present study compared neural activities elicited by desire reasoning for self and for others under consistent or inconsistent conditions using the event-related potential method. The results showed that the late positive component (LPC) associated with desire reasoning was larger during the 450-550 ms time period in the condition of reasoning for self than that for others when desires were inconsistent. A left hemisphere effect on the scalp distribution was observed for the LPC component. The present study showed that a left frontal LPC component might reflect the subjective categorization process in desire reasoning. PMID:26619233

  14. Cough-related neural processing in the brain: a roadmap for cough dysfunction?

    PubMed

    Ando, Ayaka; Farrell, Michael J; Mazzone, Stuart B

    2014-11-01

    Cough is a complex respiratory behavior essential for airway protection, consisting of sensory, motor, affective and cognitive attributes. Accordingly, the cough neural circuitry extends beyond a simple pontomedullary reflex arc to incorporate a network of neurons that are also widely distributed throughout the subcortical and cortical brain. Studies have described discrete regional responses in the brain that likely give rise to sensory discriminative processes, voluntary and urge-related cough control mechanisms and aspects of the emotive responses following airways irritation and coughing. Data from these studies highlight the central nervous system as a plausible target for therapeutic intervention and, consistent with this, a careful appraisal of the many and varied clinical disorders of coughing control would argue that more diversified therapies are needed to treat patients with cough dysfunction. In this paper we explore these concepts in detail to highlight unanswered questions and stimulate discussion for potential research of cough in the future. PMID:25301754

  15. A Neurally Plausible Parallel Distributed Processing Model of Event-Related Potential Word Reading Data

    PubMed Central

    Laszlo, Sarah; Plaut, David C.

    2011-01-01

    The Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) framework has significant potential for producing models of cognitive tasks that approximate how the brain performs the same tasks. To date, however, there has been relatively little contact between PDP modeling and data from cognitive neuroscience. In an attempt to advance the relationship between explicit, computational models and physiological data collected during the performance of cognitive tasks, we developed a PDP model of visual word recognition which simulates key results from the ERP reading literature, while simultaneously being able to successfully perform lexical decision—a benchmark task for reading models. Simulations reveal that the model’s success depends on the implementation of several neurally plausible features in its architecture which are sufficiently domain-general to be relevant to cognitive modeling more generally. PMID:21945392

  16. A neurally plausible parallel distributed processing model of event-related potential word reading data.

    PubMed

    Laszlo, Sarah; Plaut, David C

    2012-03-01

    The Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) framework has significant potential for producing models of cognitive tasks that approximate how the brain performs the same tasks. To date, however, there has been relatively little contact between PDP modeling and data from cognitive neuroscience. In an attempt to advance the relationship between explicit, computational models and physiological data collected during the performance of cognitive tasks, we developed a PDP model of visual word recognition which simulates key results from the ERP reading literature, while simultaneously being able to successfully perform lexical decision-a benchmark task for reading models. Simulations reveal that the model's success depends on the implementation of several neurally plausible features in its architecture which are sufficiently domain-general to be relevant to cognitive modeling more generally. PMID:21945392

  17. Brain Damage and the Moral Significance of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    kahane, Guy

    2009-01-01

    Neuroimaging studies of brain-damaged patients diagnosed as in the vegetative state suggest that the patients might be conscious. This might seem to raise no new ethical questions given that in related disputes both sides agree that evidence for consciousness gives strong reason to preserve life. We question this assumption. We clarify the widely held but obscure principle that consciousness is morally significant. It is hard to apply this principle to difficult cases given that philosophers of mind distinguish between a range of notions of consciousness and that is unclear which of these is assumed by the principle. We suggest that the morally relevant notion is that of phenomenal consciousness and then use our analysis to interpret cases of brain damage. We argue that enjoyment of consciousness might actually give stronger moral reasons not to preserve a patient's life and, indeed, that these might be stronger when patients retain significant cognitive function. PMID:19193694

  18. [Consciousness and the brain].

    PubMed

    Simonov, P V

    1993-01-01

    I.P. Pavlov wrote: "First of all it is important to comprehend psychologically and then translate into physiological language". On the examples of comparison of the evoked potentials with a theory of signal identification (A.M. Ivanitskiĭ) and need-informational theory of emotions (P.V. Simonov) with the "general low of human emotions" (D. Price, J. Barrell) is demonstrated the efficiency of the simultaneous study of the higher brain functions by neurophysiological and psychological methods. Recent experimental data are underlied by the natural-scientific bases of consciousness. From the author's point of view consciousness is knowledge, which by means of words, mathematical symbols and artistic images may be shared with other individuals, with other generations in a form of cultural monuments. Recent studies by O. Grindel' have shown that preservation of connections between the gnostic cortical areas with the verbal brain structures is a necessary condition of consciousness functioning. The subconsciousness is well automatized and because of that no longer conscious skills, well learned social norms controlling behaviour and experienced as "the voice of heart", "the call of duty" etc. Super-Ego by Freud belongs to the subconscious sphere of the psychic. The superconsciousness (creative intuition) is an initial stage of a creative venture, uncontrolled by consciousness and will: initial closing of new temporary connections (whether they conform to the reality or not is defined only later). Actual controversy between determinism and freedom of choice may be removed by the complementation principle. The man is not free (determined) from the point of view of an external observer, who considers the determination of the man by genetic factors and educational conditions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) PMID:8317147

  19. NrCAM-regulating neural systems and addiction-related behaviors.

    PubMed

    Ishiguro, Hiroki; Hall, Frank S; Horiuchi, Yasue; Sakurai, Takeshi; Hishimoto, Akitoyo; Grumet, Martin; Uhl, George R; Onaivi, Emmanuel S; Arinami, Tadao

    2014-05-01

    We have previously shown that a haplotype associated with decreased NrCAM expression in brain is protective against addiction vulnerability for polysubstance abuse in humans and that Nrcam knockout mice do not develop conditioned place preferences for morphine, cocaine or amphetamine. In order to gain insight into NrCAM involvement in addiction vulnerability, which may involve specific neural circuits underlying behavioral characteristics relevant to addiction, we evaluated several behavioral phenotypes in Nrcam knockout mice. Consistent with a potential general reduction in motivational function, Nrcam knockout mice demonstrated less curiosity for novel objects and for an unfamiliar conspecific, showed also less anxiety in the zero maze. Nrcam heterozygote knockout mice reduced alcohol preference and buried fewer marbles in home cage. These observations provide further support for a role of NrCAM in substance abuse including alcoholism vulnerability, possibly through its effects on behavioral traits that may affect addiction vulnerability, including novelty seeking, obsessive compulsion and responses to aversive or anxiety-provoking stimuli. Additionally, in order to prove glutamate homeostasis hypothesis of addiction, we analyzed glutamatergic molecules regulated by NRCAM expression. Glutaminase appears to be involved in NrCAM-related molecular pathway in two different tissues from human and mouse. An inhibitor of the enzyme, prolyl-leucyl-glycinamide, treatment produced, at least, some of the phenotypes of mice shown in alcohol preference and in anxiety-like behavior. Thus, NrCAM could affect addiction-related behaviors via at least partially modulation of some glutamatergic pathways and neural function in brain. PMID:22780223

  20. Interactivity and reward-related neural activation during a serious videogame.

    PubMed

    Cole, Steven W; Yoo, Daniel J; Knutson, Brian

    2012-01-01

    This study sought to determine whether playing a "serious" interactive digital game (IDG)--the Re-Mission videogame for cancer patients--activates mesolimbic neural circuits associated with incentive motivation, and if so, whether such effects stem from the participatory aspects of interactive gameplay, or from the complex sensory/perceptual engagement generated by its dynamic event-stream. Healthy undergraduates were randomized to groups in which they were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) as they either actively played Re-Mission or as they passively observed a gameplay audio-visual stream generated by a yoked active group subject. Onset of interactive game play robustly activated mesolimbic projection regions including the caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens, as well as a subregion of the parahippocampal gyrus. During interactive gameplay, subjects showed extended activation of the thalamus, anterior insula, putamen, and motor-related regions, accompanied by decreased activation in parietal and medial prefrontal cortex. Offset of interactive gameplay activated the anterior insula and anterior cingulate. Between-group comparisons of within-subject contrasts confirmed that mesolimbic activation was significantly more pronounced in the active playgroup than in the passive exposure control group. Individual difference analyses also found the magnitude of parahippocampal activation following gameplay onset to correlate with positive attitudes toward chemotherapy assessed both at the end of the scanning session and at an unannounced one-month follow-up. These findings suggest that IDG-induced activation of reward-related mesolimbic neural circuits stems primarily from participatory engagement in gameplay (interactivity), rather than from the effects of vivid and dynamic sensory stimulation. PMID:22442733

  1. Neural basis of psychosis-related behaviour in the infection model of schizophrenia.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Urs; Feldon, Joram

    2009-12-01

    Maternal infection during pregnancy is a notable risk factor for the offspring to develop severe neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. One prevalent hypothesis suggests that infection-induced disruption of early prenatal brain development predisposes the organism for long-lasting structural and functional brain abnormalities, leading to the emergence of psychopathological behaviour in adulthood. The feasibility of this causal link has received considerable support from several experimental models established in both rats and mice. In this review, we provide an integrative summary of the long-term neuropathological consequences of prenatal exposure to infection and/or inflammation as identified in various experimental models of prenatal immune challenge. In addition, we highlight how abnormalities in distinct brain areas and neurotransmitter systems following prenatal immune activation may provide a neural basis for the emergence of specific forms of psychosis-related behaviour. Specifically, we suggest that prenatal infection-induced imbalances in the mesolimibic and mesocortical dopamine pathways may constitute critical neural mechanisms for disturbances in sensorimotor gating, abnormalities in selective associative learning and hypersensitivity to psychostimulant drugs. On the other hand, the emergence of working memory deficiency following prenatal immune challenge may be crucially linked to the concomitant disruption of GABAergic and glutamatergic functions in prefrontal cortical and hippocampal structures. Notably, many of the identified neuronal abnormalities are directly implicated in the neuropathology of schizophrenia. The findings from prenatal infection models of schizophrenia thus provide considerable experimental evidence for the assumption that prenatal exposure to infection and/or inflammation is a relevant environmental link to specific neuronal abnormalities underlying psychosis-related behaviour in humans. PMID:19154759

  2. Age-Related Neural Oscillation Patterns During the Processing of Temporally Manipulated Speech.

    PubMed

    Rufener, Katharina S; Oechslin, Mathias S; Wöstmann, Malte; Dellwo, Volker; Meyer, Martin

    2016-05-01

    This EEG-study aims to investigate age-related differences in the neural oscillation patterns during the processing of temporally modulated speech. Viewing from a lifespan perspective, we recorded the electroencephalogram (EEG) data of three age samples: young adults, middle-aged adults and older adults. Stimuli consisted of temporally degraded sentences in Swedish-a language unfamiliar to all participants. We found age-related differences in phonetic pattern matching when participants were presented with envelope-degraded sentences, whereas no such age-effect was observed in the processing of fine-structure-degraded sentences. Irrespective of age, during speech processing the EEG data revealed a relationship between envelope information and the theta band (4-8 Hz) activity. Additionally, an association between fine-structure information and the gamma band (30-48 Hz) activity was found. No interaction, however, was found between acoustic manipulation of stimuli and age. Importantly, our main finding was paralleled by an overall enhanced power in older adults in high frequencies (gamma: 30-48 Hz). This occurred irrespective of condition. For the most part, this result is in line with the Asymmetric Sampling in Time framework (Poeppel in Speech Commun 41:245-255, 2003), which assumes an isomorphic correspondence between frequency modulations in neurophysiological patterns and acoustic oscillations in spoken language. We conclude that speech-specific neural networks show strong stability over adulthood, despite initial processes of cortical degeneration indicated by enhanced gamma power. The results of our study therefore confirm the concept that sensory and cognitive processes undergo multidirectional trajectories within the context of healthy aging. PMID:26613726

  3. Consciousness, Learning and Interlanguage Pragmatics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schmidt, Richard

    A discussion of the ways that consciousness may be involved in learning the principles of second-language discourse and pragmatics draws on current theories of the role of consciousness in human learning in general, with suggestions for extension to the learning of pragmatics. First, research on the degree of consciousness in pragmatic learning…

  4. Self-Consciousness and Reactance.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carver, Charles S.; Scheier, Michael F.

    1981-01-01

    Two studies examined the effects of dispositional self-consciousness on reactance. Men who were high in private self-consciousness displayed greater reactance responses to a coercive communication attempt. Women high in private self-consciousness exhibited greater reactance responses to a self-imposed threat to their freedom of choice. (Author)

  5. Temperature and relative humidity estimation and prediction in the tobacco drying process using Artificial Neural Networks.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Martínez, Víctor; Baladrón, Carlos; Gomez-Gil, Jaime; Ruiz-Ruiz, Gonzalo; Navas-Gracia, Luis M; Aguiar, Javier M; Carro, Belén

    2012-01-01

    This paper presents a system based on an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) for estimating and predicting environmental variables related to tobacco drying processes. This system has been validated with temperature and relative humidity data obtained from a real tobacco dryer with a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN). A fitting ANN was used to estimate temperature and relative humidity in different locations inside the tobacco dryer and to predict them with different time horizons. An error under 2% can be achieved when estimating temperature as a function of temperature and relative humidity in other locations. Moreover, an error around 1.5 times lower than that obtained with an interpolation method can be achieved when predicting the temperature inside the tobacco mass as a function of its present and past values with time horizons over 150 minutes. These results show that the tobacco drying process can be improved taking into account the predicted future value of the monitored variables and the estimated actual value of other variables using a fitting ANN as proposed. PMID:23202032

  6. Temperature and Relative Humidity Estimation and Prediction in the Tobacco Drying Process Using Artificial Neural Networks

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Martínez, Víctor; Baladrón, Carlos; Gomez-Gil, Jaime; Ruiz-Ruiz, Gonzalo; Navas-Gracia, Luis M.; Aguiar, Javier M.; Carro, Belén

    2012-01-01

    This paper presents a system based on an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) for estimating and predicting environmental variables related to tobacco drying processes. This system has been validated with temperature and relative humidity data obtained from a real tobacco dryer with a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN). A fitting ANN was used to estimate temperature and relative humidity in different locations inside the tobacco dryer and to predict them with different time horizons. An error under 2% can be achieved when estimating temperature as a function of temperature and relative humidity in other locations. Moreover, an error around 1.5 times lower than that obtained with an interpolation method can be achieved when predicting the temperature inside the tobacco mass as a function of its present and past values with time horizons over 150 minutes. These results show that the tobacco drying process can be improved taking into account the predicted future value of the monitored variables and the estimated actual value of other variables using a fitting ANN as proposed. PMID:23202032

  7. Age-related differences in the neural correlates of remembering time-based intentions.

    PubMed

    Cona, Giorgia; Arcara, Giorgio; Tarantino, Vincenza; Bisiacchi, Patrizia Silvia

    2012-09-01

    The present study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to explore the effect of age on the neural correlates of monitoring processes involved in time-based prospective memory. In both younger and older adults, the addition of a time-based prospective memory task to an ongoing task led to a sustained ERP activity broadly distributed over the scalp. Older adults, however, did not exhibit the slow wave activity observed in younger adults over prefrontal regions, which is considered to be associated with retrieval mode. This finding indicates that age-related decline in intention maintenance might be one source of the impaired prospective memory performance displayed by older adults. An 'anterior shift' in scalp distribution of the P3 was observed in older adults, and was related to lower levels of accuracy in prospective memory performance. This relationship suggests that possible factors responsible for age-related decline in prospective memory performance include the decreased efficiency of executive/frontal functions as well as the reduced amount of resources available for the prospective memory task. PMID:22841994

  8. A BOLD Perspective on Age-Related Neurometabolic-Flow Coupling and Neural Efficiency Changes in Human Visual Cortex.

    PubMed

    Hutchison, Joanna Lynn; Shokri-Kojori, Ehsan; Lu, Hanzhang; Rypma, Bart

    2013-01-01

    Age-related performance declines in visual tasks have been attributed to reductions in processing efficiency. The neural basis of these declines has been explored by comparing the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) index of neural activity in older and younger adults during visual task performance. However, neural activity is one of many factors that change with age and lead to BOLD signal differences. We investigated the origin of age-related BOLD changes by comparing blood flow and oxygen metabolic constituents of BOLD signal. Subjects periodically viewed flickering annuli and pressed a button when detecting luminance changes in a central fixation cross. Using magnetic resonance dual-echo arterial spin labeling and CO2 ingestion, we observed age-equivalent (i.e., similar in older and younger groups) fractional cerebral blood flow (ΔCBF) in the presence of age-related increases in fractional cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (ΔCMRO2). Reductions in ΔCBF responsiveness to increased ΔCMRO2 in elderly led to paradoxical age-related BOLD decreases. Age-related ΔCBF/ΔCMRO2 ratio decreases were associated with reaction times, suggesting that age-related slowing resulted from less efficient neural activity. We hypothesized that reduced vascular responsiveness to neural metabolic demand would lead to a reduction in ΔCBF/ΔCMRO2. A simulation of BOLD relative to ΔCMRO2 for lower and higher neurometabolic-flow coupling ratios (approximating those for old and young, respectively) indicated less BOLD signal change in old than young in relatively lower CMRO2 ranges, as well as greater BOLD signal change in young compared to old in relatively higher CMRO2 ranges. These results suggest that age-comparative studies relying on BOLD signal might be misinterpreted, as age-related BOLD changes do not merely reflect neural activity changes. Age-related declines in neurometabolic-flow coupling might lead to neural efficiency reductions that can adversely affect visual task

  9. Synthetic consciousness: the distributed adaptive control perspective.

    PubMed

    Verschure, Paul F M J

    2016-08-19

    Understanding the nature of consciousness is one of the grand outstanding scientific challenges. The fundamental methodological problem is how phenomenal first person experience can be accounted for in a third person verifiable form, while the conceptual challenge is to both define its function and physical realization. The distributed adaptive control theory of consciousness (DACtoc) proposes answers to these three challenges. The methodological challenge is answered relative to the hard problem and DACtoc proposes that it can be addressed using a convergent synthetic methodology using the analysis of synthetic biologically grounded agents, or quale parsing. DACtoc hypothesizes that consciousness in both its primary and secondary forms serves the ability to deal with the hidden states of the world and emerged during the Cambrian period, affording stable multi-agent environments to emerge. The process of consciousness is an autonomous virtualization memory, which serializes and unifies the parallel and subconscious simulations of the hidden states of the world that are largely due to other agents and the self with the objective to extract norms. These norms are in turn projected as value onto the parallel simulation and control systems that are driving action. This functional hypothesis is mapped onto the brainstem, midbrain and the thalamo-cortical and cortico-cortical systems and analysed with respect to our understanding of deficits of consciousness. Subsequently, some of the implications and predictions of DACtoc are outlined, in particular, the prediction that normative bootstrapping of conscious agents is predicated on an intentionality prior. In the view advanced here, human consciousness constitutes the ultimate evolutionary transition by allowing agents to become autonomous with respect to their evolutionary priors leading to a post-biological Anthropocene.This article is part of the themed issue 'The major synthetic evolutionary transitions'. PMID

  10. Is Consciousness Reality or Illusion ? A Non-Dualist Interpretation of Consciousness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwarz, Eric

    2004-08-01

    This paper proposes a way to approach the "hard problem" of consciousness. First, we present a typology of the main models developed in the litterature to understand consciousness. Most of them adopt a physicalist ontology and a functionalist epistemology. We then present the main features of a metamodel we have elaborated to interpret nonlinear systems evolving toward complexity and autonomy. This systemic metamodel is a general framework that can later be used to make models of specific systems. As an extension of the mechanist paradigm, it is based on three primordial categories objects, relations and wholes or systems. In the last part, we apply it to the cases of the logic of life and the nature of consciousness. Both can be interpreted by the metamodel, in particular, by the autopoiesis proposed by Maturana and Varela for life and self-reference for consciousness.

  11. Long-Range Temporal Correlations, Multifractality, and the Causal Relation between Neural Inputs and Movements

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Jing; Zheng, Yi; Gao, Jianbo

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the causal relation between neural inputs and movements is very important for the success of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). In this study, we analyze 104 neurons’ firings using statistical, information theoretic, and fractal analysis. The latter include Fano factor analysis, multifractal adaptive fractal analysis (MF-AFA), and wavelet multifractal analysis. We find neuronal firings are highly non-stationary, and Fano factor analysis always indicates long-range correlations in neuronal firings, irrespective of whether those firings are correlated with movement trajectory or not, and thus does not reveal any actual correlations between neural inputs and movements. On the other hand, MF-AFA and wavelet multifractal analysis clearly indicate that when neuronal firings are not well correlated with movement trajectory, they do not have or only have weak temporal correlations. When neuronal firings are well correlated with movements, they are characterized by very strong temporal correlations, up to a time scale comparable to the average time between two successive reaching tasks. This suggests that neurons well correlated with hand trajectory experienced a “re-setting” effect at the start of each reaching task, in the sense that within the movement correlated neurons the spike trains’ long-range dependences persisted about the length of time the monkey used to switch between task executions. A new task execution re-sets their activity, making them only weakly correlated with their prior activities on longer time scales. We further discuss the significance of the coalition of those important neurons in executing cortical control of prostheses. PMID:24130549

  12. Fluid Intelligence and Automatic Neural Processes in Facial Expression Perception: An Event-Related Potential Study.

    PubMed

    Liu, Tongran; Xiao, Tong; Li, Xiaoyan; Shi, Jiannong

    2015-01-01

    The relationship between human fluid intelligence and social-emotional abilities has been a topic of considerable interest. The current study investigated whether adolescents with different intellectual levels had different automatic neural processing of facial expressions. Two groups of adolescent males were enrolled: a high IQ group and an average IQ group. Age and parental socioeconomic status were matched between the two groups. Participants counted the numbers of the central cross changes while paired facial expressions were presented bilaterally in an oddball paradigm. There were two experimental conditions: a happy condition, in which neutral expressions were standard stimuli (p = 0.8) and happy expressions were deviant stimuli (p = 0.2), and a fearful condition, in which neutral expressions were standard stimuli (p = 0.8) and fearful expressions were deviant stimuli (p = 0.2). Participants were required to concentrate on the primary task of counting the central cross changes and to ignore the expressions to ensure that facial expression processing was automatic. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were obtained during the tasks. The visual mismatch negativity (vMMN) components were analyzed to index the automatic neural processing of facial expressions. For the early vMMN (50-130 ms), the high IQ group showed more negative vMMN amplitudes than the average IQ group in the happy condition. For the late vMMN (320-450 ms), the high IQ group had greater vMMN responses than the average IQ group over frontal and occipito-temporal areas in the fearful condition, and the average IQ group evoked larger vMMN amplitudes than the high IQ group over occipito-temporal areas in the happy condition. The present study elucidated the close relationships between fluid intelligence and pre-attentive change detection on social-emotional information. PMID:26375031

  13. Long-Range Temporal Correlations, Multifractality, and the Causal Relation between Neural Inputs and Movements.

    PubMed

    Hu, Jing; Zheng, Yi; Gao, Jianbo

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the causal relation between neural inputs and movements is very important for the success of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). In this study, we analyze 104 neurons' firings using statistical, information theoretic, and fractal analysis. The latter include Fano factor analysis, multifractal adaptive fractal analysis (MF-AFA), and wavelet multifractal analysis. We find neuronal firings are highly non-stationary, and Fano factor analysis always indicates long-range correlations in neuronal firings, irrespective of whether those firings are correlated with movement trajectory or not, and thus does not reveal any actual correlations between neural inputs and movements. On the other hand, MF-AFA and wavelet multifractal analysis clearly indicate that when neuronal firings are not well correlated with movement trajectory, they do not have or only have weak temporal correlations. When neuronal firings are well correlated with movements, they are characterized by very strong temporal correlations, up to a time scale comparable to the average time between two successive reaching tasks. This suggests that neurons well correlated with hand trajectory experienced a "re-setting" effect at the start of each reaching task, in the sense that within the movement correlated neurons the spike trains' long-range dependences persisted about the length of time the monkey used to switch between task executions. A new task execution re-sets their activity, making them only weakly correlated with their prior activities on longer time scales. We further discuss the significance of the coalition of those important neurons in executing cortical control of prostheses. PMID:24130549

  14. Fluid Intelligence and Automatic Neural Processes in Facial Expression Perception: An Event-Related Potential Study

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Tongran; Xiao, Tong; Li, Xiaoyan; Shi, Jiannong

    2015-01-01

    The relationship between human fluid intelligence and social-emotional abilities has been a topic of considerable interest. The current study investigated whether adolescents with different intellectual levels had different automatic neural processing of facial expressions. Two groups of adolescent males were enrolled: a high IQ group and an average IQ group. Age and parental socioeconomic status were matched between the two groups. Participants counted the numbers of the central cross changes while paired facial expressions were presented bilaterally in an oddball paradigm. There were two experimental conditions: a happy condition, in which neutral expressions were standard stimuli (p = 0.8) and happy expressions were deviant stimuli (p = 0.2), and a fearful condition, in which neutral expressions were standard stimuli (p = 0.8) and fearful expressions were deviant stimuli (p = 0.2). Participants were required to concentrate on the primary task of counting the central cross changes and to ignore the expressions to ensure that facial expression processing was automatic. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were obtained during the tasks. The visual mismatch negativity (vMMN) components were analyzed to index the automatic neural processing of facial expressions. For the early vMMN (50–130 ms), the high IQ group showed more negative vMMN amplitudes than the average IQ group in the happy condition. For the late vMMN (320–450 ms), the high IQ group had greater vMMN responses than the average IQ group over frontal and occipito-temporal areas in the fearful condition, and the average IQ group evoked larger vMMN amplitudes than the high IQ group over occipito-temporal areas in the happy condition. The present study elucidated the close relationships between fluid intelligence and pre-attentive change detection on social-emotional information. PMID:26375031

  15. Are There Levels of Consciousness?

    PubMed

    Bayne, Tim; Hohwy, Jakob; Owen, Adrian M

    2016-06-01

    The notion of a level of consciousness is a key construct in the science of consciousness. Not only is the term employed to describe the global states of consciousness that are associated with post-comatose disorders, epileptic absence seizures, anaesthesia, and sleep, it plays an increasingly influential role in theoretical and methodological contexts. However, it is far from clear what precisely a level of consciousness is supposed to be. This paper argues that the levels-based framework for conceptualizing global states of consciousness is untenable and develops in its place a multidimensional account of global states. PMID:27101880

  16. Episodic Recollection Difficulties in ASD Result from Atypical Relational Encoding: Behavioral and Neural Evidence

    PubMed Central

    Bowler, Dermot M.; Ecker, Christine; Calvo‐Merino, Beatriz; Murphy, Declan G.

    2015-01-01

    Memory functioning in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by impairments in the encoding of relational but not item information and difficulties in the recollection of contextually rich episodic memories but not in the retrieval of relatively context‐free memories through processes of familiarity. The neural underpinnings of this profile and the extent to which encoding difficulties contribute to retrieval difficulties in ASD remain unclear. Using a paradigm developed by Addis and McAndrews [2006; Neuroimage, 33, 1194–1206] we asked adults with and without a diagnosis of ASD to study word‐triplets during functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanning that varied in the number of category relations amongst component words. Performance at test confirmed attenuated recollection in the context of preserved familiarity based retrieval in ASD. The results also showed that recollection but not familiarity based retrieval increases as a function of category relations in word triads for both groups, indicating a close link between the encoding of relational information and recollection. This link was further supported by the imaging results, where blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal responses in overlapping regions of the inferior prefrontal cortex were sensitive to the relational encoding manipulation as well as the contrast between recollection versus familiarity based retrieval. Interestingly, however, there was no evidence of prefrontal signal differentiation for this latter contrast in the ASD group for whom signal changes in a left hippocampal region were also marginally attenuated. Together, these observations suggest that attenuated levels of episodic recollection in ASD are, at least in part, attributable to anomalies in relational encoding processes. Autism Res 2015, 8: 317–327. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:25630307

  17. A Neural Region of Abstract Working Memory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cowan, Nelson; Li, Dawei; Moffitt, Amanda; Becker, Theresa M.; Martin, Elizabeth A.; Saults, J. Scott; Christ, Shawn E.

    2011-01-01

    Over 350 years ago, Descartes proposed that the neural basis of consciousness must be a brain region in which sensory inputs are combined. Using fMRI, we identified at least one such area for working memory, the limited information held in mind, described by William James as the trailing edge of consciousness. Specifically, a region in the left…

  18. Time spent with friends in adolescence relates to less neural sensitivity to later peer rejection

    PubMed Central

    Telzer, Eva H.; Fuligni, Andrew J.; Lieberman, Matthew D.; Eisenberger, Naomi I.

    2012-01-01

    Involvement with friends carries many advantages for adolescents, including protection from the detrimental effects of being rejected by peers. However, little is known about the mechanisms through which friendships may serve their protective role at this age, or the potential benefit of these friendships as adolescents transition to adulthood. As such, this investigation tested whether friend involvement during adolescence related to less neural sensitivity to social threats during young adulthood. Twenty-one adolescents reported the amount of time they spent with friends outside of school using a daily diary. Two years later they underwent an fMRI scan, during which they were ostensibly excluded from an online ball-tossing game by two same-age peers. Findings from region of interest and whole brain analyses revealed that spending more time with friends during adolescence related to less activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula—regions previously linked with negative affect and pain processing—during an experience of peer rejection 2 years later. These findings are consistent with the notion that positive relationships during adolescence may relate to individuals being less sensitive to negative social experiences later on. PMID:21183457

  19. Age and experience shape developmental changes in the neural basis of language-related learning.

    PubMed

    McNealy, Kristin; Mazziotta, John C; Dapretto, Mirella

    2011-11-01

    Very little is known about the neural underpinnings of language learning across the lifespan and how these might be modified by maturational and experiential factors. Building on behavioral research highlighting the importance of early word segmentation (i.e. the detection of word boundaries in continuous speech) for subsequent language learning, here we characterize developmental changes in brain activity as this process occurs online, using data collected in a mixed cross-sectional and longitudinal design. One hundred and fifty-six participants, ranging from age 5 to adulthood, underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while listening to three novel streams of continuous speech, which contained either strong statistical regularities, strong statistical regularities and speech cues, or weak statistical regularities providing minimal cues to word boundaries. All age groups displayed significant signal increases over time in temporal cortices for the streams with high statistical regularities; however, we observed a significant right-to-left shift in the laterality of these learning-related increases with age. Interestingly, only the 5- to 10-year-old children displayed significant signal increases for the stream with low statistical regularities, suggesting an age-related decrease in sensitivity to more subtle statistical cues. Further, in a sample of 78 10-year-olds, we examined the impact of proficiency in a second language and level of pubertal development on learning-related signal increases, showing that the brain regions involved in language learning are influenced by both experiential and maturational factors. PMID:22010887

  20. Neural Computation of Surface Border Ownership and Relative Surface Depth from Ambiguous Contrast Inputs.

    PubMed

    Dresp-Langley, Birgitta; Grossberg, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    The segregation of image parts into foreground and background is an important aspect of the neural computation of 3D scene perception. To achieve such segregation, the brain needs information about border ownership; that is, the belongingness of a contour to a specific surface represented in the image. This article presents psychophysical data derived from 3D percepts of figure and ground that were generated by presenting 2D images composed of spatially disjoint shapes that pointed inward or outward relative to the continuous boundaries that they induced along their collinear edges. The shapes in some images had the same contrast (black or white) with respect to the background gray. Other images included opposite contrasts along each induced continuous boundary. Psychophysical results demonstrate conditions under which figure-ground judgment probabilities in response to these ambiguous displays are determined by the orientation of contrasts only, not by their relative contrasts, despite the fact that many border ownership cells in cortical area V2 respond to a preferred relative contrast. Studies are also reviewed in which both polarity-specific and polarity-invariant properties obtain. The FACADE and 3D LAMINART models are used to explain these data. PMID:27516746

  1. Neural Computation of Surface Border Ownership and Relative Surface Depth from Ambiguous Contrast Inputs

    PubMed Central

    Dresp-Langley, Birgitta; Grossberg, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    The segregation of image parts into foreground and background is an important aspect of the neural computation of 3D scene perception. To achieve such segregation, the brain needs information about border ownership; that is, the belongingness of a contour to a specific surface represented in the image. This article presents psychophysical data derived from 3D percepts of figure and ground that were generated by presenting 2D images composed of spatially disjoint shapes that pointed inward or outward relative to the continuous boundaries that they induced along their collinear edges. The shapes in some images had the same contrast (black or white) with respect to the background gray. Other images included opposite contrasts along each induced continuous boundary. Psychophysical results demonstrate conditions under which figure-ground judgment probabilities in response to these ambiguous displays are determined by the orientation of contrasts only, not by their relative contrasts, despite the fact that many border ownership cells in cortical area V2 respond to a preferred relative contrast. Studies are also reviewed in which both polarity-specific and polarity-invariant properties obtain. The FACADE and 3D LAMINART models are used to explain these data. PMID:27516746

  2. Natural Evolution and Human Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Holmgren, Jan

    2014-01-01

    A visual conscious experience is my empirical basis. All that we know comes to us through conscious experiences. Thanks to natural evolution, we have nearly direct perception, and can largely trust the information we attain. There is full integration, with no gaps, of organisms in the continuous world. Human conscious experiences, on the other hand, are discrete. Consciousness has certain limits for its resolution. This is illustrated by the so-called light-cone, with consequences for foundations in physics. Traditional universals are replaced by feels and distributions. Conscious experiences can be ordered within a framework of conceptual spaces. Triple Aspect Monism (TAM) can represent the dynamics of conscious systems. However, to fully represent the creative power of human consciousness, an all-inclusive view is suggested: Multi Aspect Monism (MAM). PMID:24891802

  3. Neural Correlates of Abstract Rule Learning: An Event-Related Potential Study

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sun, Fang; Hoshi-Shiba, Reiko; Abla, Dilshat; Okanoya, Kazuo

    2012-01-01

    Abstract rule learning is a fundamental aspect of human cognition, and is essential for language acquisition. However, despite its importance, the neural mechanisms underlying abstract rule learning are still largely unclear. In this study, we investigated the neural correlates of abstract rule learning by recording auditory event-related…

  4. Consciousness and cognitive control

    PubMed Central

    Kunde, Wilfried; Reuss, Heiko; Kiesel, Andrea

    2012-01-01

    The implementation or change of information processing routines, known as cognitive control, is traditionally believed to be closely linked to consciousness. It seems that we exert control over our behavior if we know the reasons for, and consequences of, doing so. Recent research suggests, however, that several behavioral phenomena that have been construed as instances of cognitive control can be prompted by events of which actors are not aware. Here we give a brief review of this research, discuss possible reasons for inconsistencies in the empirical evidence, and suggest some lines of future research. Specifically, we suggest to differentiate cognitive control evoked either because of explicit or because of implicit control cues. While the former type of control seems to work outside of awareness, the latter type of control seems to be restricted to consciously registered events that call for control. PMID:22419962

  5. The neural mechanisms underlying the aging-related enhancement of positive affects: electrophysiological evidences

    PubMed Central

    Meng, Xianxin; Yang, Jiemin; Cai, AYan; Ding, XinSheng; Liu, Wenwen; Li, Hong; Yuan, JiaJin

    2015-01-01

    Background: Previous studies reported that old adults, relative to young adults, showed improvement of emotional stability and increased experiences of positive affects. Methods: In order to better understand the neural underpinnings behind the aging-related enhancement of positive affects, it is necessary to investigate whether old and young adults differ in the threshold of eliciting positive or negative emotional reactions. However, no studies have examined emotional reaction differences between old and young adults by manipulating the intensity of emotional stimuli to date. To clarify this issue, the present study examined the impact of aging on the brain’s susceptibility to affective pictures of varying emotional intensities. We recorded event-related potentials (ERP) for highly negative (HN), mildly negative (MN) and neutral pictures in the negative experimental block; and for highly positive (HP), mildly positive (MP) and neutral pictures in the positive experimental block, when young and old adults were required to count the number of pictures, irrespective of the emotionality of the pictures. Results: Event-related potentials results showed that LPP (late positive potentials) amplitudes were larger for HN and MN stimuli compared to neutral stimuli in young adults, but not in old adults. By contrast, old adults displayed larger LPP amplitudes for HP and MP relative to neutral stimuli, while these effects were absent for young adults. In addition, old adults reported more frequent perception of positive stimuli and less frequent perception of negative stimuli than young adults. The post-experiment stimulus assessment showed more positive ratings of Neutral and MP stimuli, and reduced arousal ratings of HN stimuli in old compared to young adults. Conclusion: These results suggest that old adults are more resistant to the impact of negative stimuli, while they are equipped with enhanced attentional bias for positive stimuli. The implications of these results

  6. Quantum effects in the understanding of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Hameroff, Stuart R; Craddock, Travis J A; Tuszynski, Jack A

    2014-06-01

    This paper presents a historical perspective on the development and application of quantum physics methodology beyond physics, especially in biology and in the area of consciousness studies. Quantum physics provides a conceptual framework for the structural aspects of biological systems and processes via quantum chemistry. In recent years individual biological phenomena such as photosynthesis and bird navigation have been experimentally and theoretically analyzed using quantum methods building conceptual foundations for quantum biology. Since consciousness is attributed to human (and possibly animal) mind, quantum underpinnings of cognitive processes are a logical extension. Several proposals, especially the Orch OR hypothesis, have been put forth in an effort to introduce a scientific basis to the theory of consciousness. At the center of these approaches are microtubules as the substrate on which conscious processes in terms of quantum coherence and entanglement can be built. Additionally, Quantum Metabolism, quantum processes in ion channels and quantum effects in sensory stimulation are discussed in this connection. We discuss the challenges and merits related to quantum consciousness approaches as well as their potential extensions. PMID:25012711

  7. Information sharing in the brain indexes consciousness in noncommunicative patients.

    PubMed

    King, Jean-Rémi; Sitt, Jacobo D; Faugeras, Frédéric; Rohaut, Benjamin; El Karoui, Imen; Cohen, Laurent; Naccache, Lionel; Dehaene, Stanislas

    2013-10-01

    Neuronal theories of conscious access tentatively relate conscious perception to the integration and global broadcasting of information across distant cortical and thalamic areas. Experiments contrasting visible and invisible stimuli support this view and suggest that global neuronal communication may be detectable using scalp electroencephalography (EEG). However, whether global information sharing across brain areas also provides a specific signature of conscious state in awake but noncommunicating patients remains an active topic of research. We designed a novel measure termed "weighted symbolic mutual information" (wSMI) and applied it to 181 high-density EEG recordings of awake patients recovering from coma and diagnosed in various states of consciousness. The results demonstrate that this measure of information sharing systematically increases with consciousness state, particularly across distant sites. This effect sharply distinguishes patients in vegetative state (VS), minimally conscious state (MCS), and conscious state (CS) and is observed regardless of etiology and delay since insult. The present findings support distributed theories of conscious processing and open up the possibility of an automatic detection of conscious states, which may be particularly important for the diagnosis of awake but noncommunicating patients. PMID:24076243

  8. A Plastic Temporal Brain Code for Conscious State Generation

    PubMed Central

    Dresp-Langley, Birgitta; Durup, Jean

    2009-01-01

    Consciousness is known to be limited in processing capacity and often described in terms of a unique processing stream across a single dimension: time. In this paper, we discuss a purely temporal pattern code, functionally decoupled from spatial signals, for conscious state generation in the brain. Arguments in favour of such a code include Dehaene et al.'s long-distance reverberation postulate, Ramachandran's remapping hypothesis, evidence for a temporal coherence index and coincidence detectors, and Grossberg's Adaptive Resonance Theory. A time-bin resonance model is developed, where temporal signatures of conscious states are generated on the basis of signal reverberation across large distances in highly plastic neural circuits. The temporal signatures are delivered by neural activity patterns which, beyond a certain statistical threshold, activate, maintain, and terminate a conscious brain state like a bar code would activate, maintain, or inactivate the electronic locks of a safe. Such temporal resonance would reflect a higher level of neural processing, independent from sensorial or perceptual brain mechanisms. PMID:19644552

  9. A plastic temporal brain code for conscious state generation.

    PubMed

    Dresp-Langley, Birgitta; Durup, Jean

    2009-01-01

    Consciousness is known to be limited in processing capacity and often described in terms of a unique processing stream across a single dimension: time. In this paper, we discuss a purely temporal pattern code, functionally decoupled from spatial signals, for conscious state generation in the brain. Arguments in favour of such a code include Dehaene et al.'s long-distance reverberation postulate, Ramachandran's remapping hypothesis, evidence for a temporal coherence index and coincidence detectors, and Grossberg's Adaptive Resonance Theory. A time-bin resonance model is developed, where temporal signatures of conscious states are generated on the basis of signal reverberation across large distances in highly plastic neural circuits. The temporal signatures are delivered by neural activity patterns which, beyond a certain statistical threshold, activate, maintain, and terminate a conscious brain state like a bar code would activate, maintain, or inactivate the electronic locks of a safe. Such temporal resonance would reflect a higher level of neural processing, independent from sensorial or perceptual brain mechanisms. PMID:19644552

  10. Self-Consciousness, Friendship Quality, and Adolescent Internalizing Problems

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bowker, Julie C.; Rubin, Kenneth H.

    2009-01-01

    The correlates between public and private self-consciousness and internalizing difficulties were examined during early adolescence. Friendship quality was assessed as a possible moderator of the relation between self-consciousness and maladjustment. One hundred and thirty-seven young adolescents (N = 87 girls; M age = 13.98 years) reported on…

  11. The Role of Consciousness in Second Language Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schmidt, Richard W.

    1990-01-01

    Summarizes recent psychological research and theory on the topic of consciousness, and looks at three questions in second-language learning related to the role of consciousness in input processing. The discussion involves the requirement in learning a second language of subliminal learning, implicit learning, and incidental learning. (142…

  12. Gaze Direction Modulates the Relation between Neural Responses to Faces and Visual Awareness.

    PubMed

    Madipakkam, Apoorva Rajiv; Rothkirch, Marcus; Guggenmos, Matthias; Heinz, Andreas; Sterzer, Philipp

    2015-09-30

    Gaze direction and especially direct gaze is a powerful nonverbal cue that plays an important role in social interactions. Here we studied the neural mechanisms underlying the privileged access of direct gaze to visual awareness. We performed functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy human volunteers who were exposed to faces with direct or averted gaze under continuous flash suppression, thereby manipulating their awareness of the faces. A gaze processing network comprising fusiform face area (FFA), superior temporal sulcus, amygdala, and intraparietal sulcus showed overall reduced neural responses when participants reported to be unaware of the faces. Interestingly, direct gaze elicited greater responses than averted gaze when participants were aware of the faces, but smaller responses when they were unaware. Additional between-subject correlation and single-trial analyses indicated that this pattern of results was due to a modulation of the relationship between neural responses and awareness by gaze direction: with increasing neural activation in the FFA, direct-gaze faces entered awareness more readily than averted-gaze faces. These findings suggest that for direct gaze, lower levels of neural activity are sufficient to give rise to awareness than for averted gaze, thus providing a neural basis for privileged access of direct gaze to awareness. Significance statement: Another person's eye gaze directed at oneself is a powerful social signal acting as a catalyst for further communication. Here, we studied the neural mechanisms underlying the prioritized access of direct gaze to visual awareness in healthy human volunteers and show that with increasing neural activation, direct-gaze faces enter awareness more readily than averted-gaze faces. This suggests that for a socially highly relevant cue like direct gaze, lower levels of neural activity are sufficient to give rise to awareness compared with averted gaze, possibly because the human brain is attuned

  13. Food-Related Neural Circuitry in Prader-Willi Syndrome: Response to High- versus Low-Calorie Foods

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dimitropoulos, Anastasia; Schultz, Robert T.

    2008-01-01

    Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by hyperphagia and food preoccupations. Although dysfunction of the hypothalamus likely has a critical role in hyperphagia, it is only one of several regions involved in the regulation of eating. The purpose of this research was to examine food-related neural circuitry…

  14. Relation between Changes in Neural Responsivity and Reductions in Desire to Eat High-Calorie Foods Following Gastric Bypass Surgery

    PubMed Central

    Ochner, Christopher N.; Stice, Eric; Hutchins, Elizabeth; Afifi, Ladan; Geliebter, Allan; Hirsch, Joy; Teixeira, Julio

    2012-01-01

    Reductions in reward-related (e.g., striatal) neural activation have been noted following obesity surgery. It has been speculated that these postoperative neural changes may be related to documented postoperative changes in food preferences; however, this relation has not been previously established. In this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging and rating scales were used to assess neural responsivity, desire to eat (i.e., wanting) and liking for high- and low- calorie food cues in 14 females 1 mo pre and 1 mo post Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. Pre to post RYGB changes in all variables were assessed, and postoperative changes in neural responsivity were regressed on postoperative changes in desire to eat and liking of foods. Results revealed significant postoperative reductions in mesolimbic (e.g., striatal) neural responsivity, desire to eat (wanting) and liking for high- relative to low- calorie food cues. Postoperative reductions in mesolimbic responsivity were associated with postoperative reductions in wanting, but not liking, for high- vs. low- calorie foods. Interestingly, reductions in food wanting were also related to reductions in inhibitory (e.g., dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) activation following RYGB. Results are consistent with the hypothesized delineation between wanting and liking, supporting the notion that that wanting, but not liking, is processed through the dopaminergic reward pathway. Concurrent reductions in both reward-related and inhibitory activation predicted reductions in desire to eat might suggest that less dietary inhibition was elicited to resist potential overconsumption as the anticipated reward value of high-calorie foods decreased following RYGB. PMID:22406414

  15. Object of desire self-consciousness theory.

    PubMed

    Bogaert, Anthony F; Brotto, Lori A

    2014-01-01

    In this article, the authors discuss the construct of object of desire self-consciousness, the perception that one is romantically and sexually desirable in another's eyes. The authors discuss the nature of the construct, variations in its expression, and how it may function as part of a self-schemata or script related to romance and sexuality. The authors suggest that object of desire self-consciousness may be an adaptive, evolved psychological mechanism allowing sexual and romantic tactics suitable to one's mate value. The authors also suggest that it can act as a signal that one has high mate value in the sexual marketplace. The authors then review literature (e.g., on fantasies, on sexual activity preferences, on sexual dysfunctions, on language) suggesting that object of desire self-consciousness plays a particularly important role in heterosexual women's sexual/romantic functioning and desires. PMID:23905711

  16. Dreams and the temporality of consciousness.

    PubMed

    MacDuffie, Katherine; Mashour, George A

    2010-01-01

    Understanding dreams has long been considered fundamental to the development of a theory of consciousness. Evidence from neurobiology and neuroimaging research has paved the way for new theories of dreaming that are empirically supported. In this article we argue that dreaming is a unique state of consciousness that incorporates 3 temporal dimensions: experience of the present, processing of the past, and preparation for the future. The temporal complexity of dreams is made possible in part by the unique neurobiological environment of sleep, in which stimuli are internally generated and many of the restrictions associated with waking thought are absent. Because dream consciousness is not determined by sensory stimuli, a flexible integration of past experiences and the forging of novel connections are possible. We argue that disparate dream theories may not be mutually exclusive but rather relate to different temporal domains of the dream state. PMID:20518435

  17. Learning from experience: Event-related potential correlates of reward processing, neural adaptation, and behavioral choice

    PubMed Central

    Walsh, Matthew M.; Anderson, John R.

    2012-01-01

    To behave adaptively, we must learn from the consequences of our actions. Studies using event-related potentials (ERPs) have been informative with respect to the question of how such learning occurs. These studies have revealed a frontocentral negativity termed the feedback-related negativity (FRN) that appears after negative feedback. According to one prominent theory, the FRN tracks the difference between the values of actual and expected outcomes, or reward prediction errors. As such, the FRN provides a tool for studying reward valuation and decision making. We begin this review by examining the neural significance of the FRN. We then examine its functional significance. To understand the cognitive processes that occur when the FRN is generated, we explore variables that influence its appearance and amplitude. Specifically, we evaluate four hypotheses: (1) the FRN encodes a quantitative reward prediction error; (2) the FRN is evoked by outcomes and by stimuli that predict outcomes; (3) the FRN and behavior change with experience; and (4) the system that produces the FRN is maximally engaged by volitional actions. PMID:22683741

  18. Parallel-cascaded noniterative neural network for identfying closely related optical patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Chia-Lun J.

    2000-03-01

    When the training class patterns {Um} are closely related and they are inseparable (according to some targeted binary output vectors {Vm}) by a one- layered perceptron (OLP), then {Um} must be linearly dependent, and the output-augmented {Um} must be positively, linearly dependent. The learning of this OLP is then impossible no matter what learning rules we use, because the solution of the connection matrix just does not exist. However, we can always use a parallel-cascaded, two-layered perceptron (PCTLP) to realize this inseparable mapping. The design of this PCTLP is derived from the positive-linear independency condition we previously studied. It is a very intriguing mathematical derivation and the design of the PCTLP is much more efficient then that of the conventional series- cascaded, three-layered, neural networks. Also its robustness in recognizing any untrained, closely related patterns can be controlled and maximized. The physical origin, the theory, and the design of this novel, `universal' perceptron pattern recognition system will be discussed in detail in this paper.

  19. Disentangling the neural mechanisms involved in Hinduism- and Buddhism-related meditations.

    PubMed

    Tomasino, Barbara; Chiesa, Alberto; Fabbro, Franco

    2014-10-01

    The most diffuse forms of meditation derive from Hinduism and Buddhism spiritual traditions. Different cognitive processes are set in place to reach these meditation states. According to an historical-philological hypothesis (Wynne, 2009) the two forms of meditation could be disentangled. While mindfulness is the focus of Buddhist meditation reached by focusing sustained attention on the body, on breathing and on the content of the thoughts, reaching an ineffable state of nothigness accompanied by a loss of sense of self and duality (Samadhi) is the main focus of Hinduism-inspired meditation. It is possible that these different practices activate separate brain networks. We tested this hypothesis by conducting an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. The network related to Buddhism-inspired meditation (16 experiments, 263 subjects, and 96 activation foci) included activations in some frontal lobe structures associated with executive attention, possibly confirming the fundamental role of mindfulness shared by many Buddhist meditations. By contrast, the network related to Hinduism-inspired meditation (8 experiments, 54 activation foci and 66 subjects) triggered a left lateralized network of areas including the postcentral gyrus, the superior parietal lobe, the hippocampus and the right middle cingulate cortex. The dissociation between anterior and posterior networks support the notion that different meditation styles and traditions are characterized by different patterns of neural activation. PMID:24975229

  20. Agouti-related peptide neural circuits mediate adaptive behaviors in the starved state.

    PubMed

    Padilla, Stephanie L; Qiu, Jian; Soden, Marta E; Sanz, Elisenda; Nestor, Casey C; Barker, Forrest D; Quintana, Albert; Zweifel, Larry S; Rønnekleiv, Oline K; Kelly, Martin J; Palmiter, Richard D

    2016-05-01

    In the face of starvation, animals will engage in high-risk behaviors that would normally be considered maladaptive. Starving rodents, for example, will forage in areas that are more susceptible to predators and will also modulate aggressive behavior within a territory of limited or depleted nutrients. The neural basis of these adaptive behaviors likely involves circuits that link innate feeding, aggression and fear. Hypothalamic agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-expressing neurons are critically important for driving feeding and project axons to brain regions implicated in aggression and fear. Using circuit-mapping techniques in mice, we define a disynaptic network originating from a subset of AgRP neurons that project to the medial nucleus of the amygdala and then to the principal bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, which suppresses territorial aggression and reduces contextual fear. We propose that AgRP neurons serve as a master switch capable of coordinating behavioral decisions relative to internal state and environmental cues. PMID:27019015

  1. Implications of movement-related cortical potential for understanding neural adaptations in muscle strength tasks

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    This systematic review aims to provide information about the implications of the movement-related cortical potential (MRCP) in acute and chronic responses to the counter resistance training. The structuring of the methods of this study followed the proposals of the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses). It was performed an electronically search in Pubmed/Medline and ISI Web of Knowledge data bases, from 1987 to 2013, besides the manual search in the selected references. The following terms were used: Bereitschaftspotential, MRCP, strength and force. The logical operator “AND” was used to combine descriptors and terms used to search publications. At the end, 11 studies attended all the eligibility criteria and the results demonstrated that the behavior of MRCP is altered because of different factors such as: force level, rate of force development, fatigue induced by exercise, and the specific phase of muscular action, leading to an increase in the amplitude in eccentric actions compared to concentric actions, in acute effects. The long-term adaptations demonstrated that the counter resistance training provokes an attenuation in the amplitude in areas related to the movement, which may be caused by neural adaptation occurred in the motor cortex. PMID:24602228

  2. Implications of movement-related cortical potential for understanding neural adaptations in muscle strength tasks.

    PubMed

    Lattari, Eduardo; Arias-Carrión, Oscar; Monteiro-Junior, Renato Sobral; Mello Portugal, Eduardo Matta; Paes, Flávia; Menéndez-González, Manuel; Silva, Adriana Cardoso; Nardi, Antonio Egidio; Machado, Sergio

    2014-01-01

    This systematic review aims to provide information about the implications of the movement-related cortical potential (MRCP) in acute and chronic responses to the counter resistance training. The structuring of the methods of this study followed the proposals of the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses). It was performed an electronically search in Pubmed/Medline and ISI Web of Knowledge data bases, from 1987 to 2013, besides the manual search in the selected references. The following terms were used: Bereitschaftspotential, MRCP, strength and force. The logical operator "AND" was used to combine descriptors and terms used to search publications. At the end, 11 studies attended all the eligibility criteria and the results demonstrated that the behavior of MRCP is altered because of different factors such as: force level, rate of force development, fatigue induced by exercise, and the specific phase of muscular action, leading to an increase in the amplitude in eccentric actions compared to concentric actions, in acute effects. The long-term adaptations demonstrated that the counter resistance training provokes an attenuation in the amplitude in areas related to the movement, which may be caused by neural adaptation occurred in the motor cortex. PMID:24602228

  3. Neural Correlates to Food-Related Behavior in Normal-Weight and Overweight/Obese Participants

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Alan; Kennedy, James; Dimitropoulos, Anastasia

    2012-01-01

    Two thirds of US adults are either obese or overweight and this rate is rising. Although the etiology of obesity is not yet fully understood, neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that the central nervous system has a principal role in regulating eating behavior. In this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging and survey data were evaluated for correlations between food-related problem behaviors and the neural regions underlying responses to visual food cues before and after eating in normal-weight individuals and overweight/obese individuals. In normal-weight individuals, activity in the left amygdala in response to high-calorie food vs. nonfood object cues was positively correlated with impaired satiety scores during fasting, suggesting that those with impaired satiety scores may have an abnormal anticipatory reward response. In overweight/obese individuals, activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in response to low-calorie food cues was negatively correlated with impaired satiety during fasting, suggesting that individuals scoring lower in satiety impairment were more likely to activate the DLPFC inhibitory system. After eating, activity in both the putamen and the amygdala was positively correlated with impaired satiety scores among obese/overweight participants. While these individuals may volitionally suggest they are full, their functional response to food cues suggests food continues to be salient. These findings suggest brain regions involved in the evaluation of visual food cues may be mediated by satiety-related problems, dependent on calorie content, state of satiation, and body mass index. PMID:23028988

  4. Brain Networks Maintain a Scale-Free Organization across Consciousness, Anesthesia, and Recovery: Evidence for Adaptive Reconfiguration

    PubMed Central

    Lee, UnCheol; Oh, GabJin; Kim, Seunghwan; Noh, GyuJung; Choi, ByungMoon

    2010-01-01

    Background Loss of consciousness is an essential feature of general anesthesia. Although alterations of neural networks during anesthesia have been identified in the spatial domain, there has been relatively little study of temporal organization. Methods Ten normal male volunteers were anesthetized with an induction dose of propofol on two separate occasions. The duration of network connections in the brain was analyzed by multichannel electroencephalography and the minimum spanning tree method. Entropy of the connections was calculated based on Shannon entropy. The global temporal configuration of networks was investigated by constructing the cumulative distribution function of connection times in different frequency bands and different states of consciousness. Results General anesthesia was associated with a significant reduction in the number of network connections, as well as significant alterations of their duration. These changes were most prominent in the delta bandwidth and were also associated with a significant reduction in entropy of the connection matrix. Despite these and other changes, a global “scale-free” organization was consistently preserved across multiple subjects, multiple anesthetic exposures, multiple states of consciousness and multiple frequencies of the electroencephalogram. Conclusions Our data suggest a fundamental principle of temporal organization of network connectivity that is maintained during both consciousness and anesthesia, despite local changes. These findings are consistent with a process of adaptive reconfiguration during general anesthesia. PMID:20881595

  5. Shadowing the wandering mind: how understanding the mind-wandering state can inform our appreciation of conscious experience.

    PubMed

    Konishi, Mahiko; Smallwood, Jonathan

    2016-07-01

    The mind-wandering state illustrates two fundamental aspects of consciousness: its generative nature, which is reflected by the stimulus-independent content of thought that occurs when our minds wander; and metacognition, the unique capacity of the mind to reflect and understand itself. Self-generated thought, which allows us to consider people and events that are not present in the immediate environment, and metacognition, allowing us to introspect and report our inner experiences, are both essential to the scientific study of mind-wandering. Nevertheless, they also inevitably lead to specific issues that mirror more general problems in the field of consciousness research. The generative nature of consciousness makes it difficult to have direct control on the phenomenon, and the act of introspecting on inner experience has the potential to influence the state itself. We illustrate how the field of mind-wandering research can overcome these problems. Its generative nature can be understood by triangulating the objective measures (such as neural function) with subjective measures of experience and it can be manipulated indirectly by varying the demands of the external environment. Furthermore, we describe candidate covert markers for the mind-wandering state, which allow the phenomenon to be observed without direct interference, minimizing the concern that instructions to introspect necessarily change conscious experience. WIREs Cogn Sci 2016, 7:233-246. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1392 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. PMID:27187212

  6. The biological function of consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Earl, Brian

    2014-01-01

    This research is an investigation of whether consciousness—one's ongoing experience—influences one's behavior and, if so, how. Analysis of the components, structure, properties, and temporal sequences of consciousness has established that, (1) contrary to one's intuitive understanding, consciousness does not have an active, executive role in determining behavior; (2) consciousness does have a biological function; and (3) consciousness is solely information in various forms. Consciousness is associated with a flexible response mechanism (FRM) for decision-making, planning, and generally responding in nonautomatic ways. The FRM generates responses by manipulating information and, to function effectively, its data input must be restricted to task-relevant information. The properties of consciousness correspond to the various input requirements of the FRM; and when important information is missing from consciousness, functions of the FRM are adversely affected; both of which indicate that consciousness is the input data to the FRM. Qualitative and quantitative information (shape, size, location, etc.) are incorporated into the input data by a qualia array of colors, sounds, and so on, which makes the input conscious. This view of the biological function of consciousness provides an explanation why we have experiences; why we have emotional and other feelings, and why their loss is associated with poor decision-making; why blindsight patients do not spontaneously initiate responses to events in their blind field; why counter-habitual actions are only possible when the intended action is in mind; and the reason for inattentional blindness. PMID:25140159

  7. Investigating age-related changes in anterior and posterior neural activity throughout the information processing stream.

    PubMed

    Alperin, Brittany R; Tusch, Erich S; Mott, Katherine K; Holcomb, Phillip J; Daffner, Kirk R

    2015-10-01

    Event-related potential (ERP) and other functional imaging studies often demonstrate age-related increases in anterior neural activity and decreases in posterior activity while subjects carry out task demands. It remains unclear whether this "anterior shift" is limited to late cognitive operations like those indexed by the P3 component, or is evident during other stages of information processing. The temporal resolution of ERPs provided an opportunity to address this issue. Temporospatial principal component analysis (PCA) was used to identify underlying components that may be obscured by overlapping ERP waveforms. ERPs were measured during a visual oddball task in 26 young, 26 middle-aged, and 29 old subjects who were well-matched for IQ, executive function, education, and task performance. PCA identified six anterior factors peaking between ∼140 ms and 810 ms, and four posterior factors peaking between ∼300 ms and 810 ms. There was an age-related increase in the amplitude of anterior factors between ∼200 and 500 ms, and an age-associated decrease in amplitude of posterior factors after ∼500 ms. The increase in anterior processing began as early as middle-age, was sustained throughout old age, and appeared to be linear in nature. These results suggest that age-associated increases in anterior activity occur after early sensory processing has taken place, and are most prominent during a period in which attention is being marshaled to evaluate a stimulus. In contrast, age-related decreases in posterior activity manifest during operations involved in stimulus categorization, post-decision monitoring, and preparation for an upcoming event. PMID:26295684

  8. Understanding visual consciousness in autism spectrum disorders

    PubMed Central

    Yatziv, Tal; Jacobson, Hilla

    2015-01-01

    The paper focuses on the question of what the (visual) perceptual differences are between individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically developing (TD) individuals. We argue against the view that autistic subjects have a deficiency in the most basic form of perceptual consciousness—namely, phenomenal consciousness. Instead, we maintain, the perceptual atypicality of individuals with autism is of a more conceptual and cognitive sort—their perceptual experiences share crucial aspects with TD individuals. Our starting point is Ben Shalom’s (2005, 2009) three-level processing framework for explaining atypicality in several domains of processing among autistics, which we compare with two other tripartite models of perception—Jackendoff’s (1987) and Prinz’s (2000, 2005a, 2007) Intermediate Level Hypothesis and Lamme’s (2004, 2006, 2010) neural account of consciousness. According to these models, whereas the second level of processing is concerned with viewer-centered visual representations of basic visual properties and incorporates some early forms of integration, the third level is more cognitive and conceptual. We argue that the data suggest that the atypicality in autism is restricted mainly to the third level. More specifically, second-level integration, which is the mark of phenomenal consciousness, is typical, yet third-level integration of perceptual objects and concepts is atypical. Thus, the basic experiences of individuals with autism are likely to be similar to typical subjects’ experiences; the main difference lies in the sort of cognitive access the subjects have to their experiences. We conclude by discussing implications of the suggested analysis of experience in autism for conceptions of phenomenal consciousness. PMID:25954180

  9. Ongoing Spontaneous Activity Controls Access to Consciousness: A Neuronal Model for Inattentional Blindness

    PubMed Central

    2005-01-01

    Even in the absence of sensory inputs, cortical and thalamic neurons can show structured patterns of ongoing spontaneous activity, whose origins and functional significance are not well understood. We use computer simulations to explore the conditions under which spontaneous activity emerges from a simplified model of multiple interconnected thalamocortical columns linked by long-range, top-down excitatory axons, and to examine its interactions with stimulus-induced activation. Simulations help characterize two main states of activity. First, spontaneous gamma-band oscillations emerge at a precise threshold controlled by ascending neuromodulator systems. Second, within a spontaneously active network, we observe the sudden “ignition” of one out of many possible coherent states of high-level activity amidst cortical neurons with long-distance projections. During such an ignited state, spontaneous activity can block external sensory processing. We relate those properties to experimental observations on the neural bases of endogenous states of consciousness, and particularly the blocking of access to consciousness that occurs in the psychophysical phenomenon of “inattentional blindness,” in which normal subjects intensely engaged in mental activity fail to notice salient but irrelevant sensory stimuli. Although highly simplified, the generic properties of a minimal network may help clarify some of the basic cerebral phenomena underlying the autonomy of consciousness. PMID:15819609

  10. The “Id” Knows More than the “Ego” Admits: Neuropsychoanalytic and Primal Consciousness Perspectives on the Interface Between Affective and Cognitive Neuroscience

    PubMed Central

    Solms, Mark; Panksepp, Jaak

    2012-01-01

    It is commonly believed that consciousness is a higher brain function. Here we consider the likelihood, based on abundant neuroevolutionary data that lower brain affective phenomenal experiences provide the “energy” for the developmental construction of higher forms of cognitive consciousness. This view is concordant with many of the theoretical formulations of Sigmund Freud. In this reconceptualization, all of consciousness may be dependent on the original evolution of affective phenomenal experiences that coded survival values. These subcortical energies provided a foundation that could be used for the epigenetic construction of perceptual and other higher forms of consciousness. From this perspective, perceptual experiences were initially affective at the primary-process brainstem level, but capable of being elaborated by secondary learning and memory processes into tertiary-cognitive forms of consciousness. Within this view, although all individual neural activities are unconscious, perhaps along with secondary-process learning and memory mechanisms, the primal sub-neocortical networks of emotions and other primal affects may have served as the sentient scaffolding for the construction of resolved perceptual and higher mental activities within the neocortex. The data supporting this neuro-psycho-evolutionary vision of the emergence of mind is discussed in relation to classical psychoanalytical models. PMID:24962770

  11. Meditation reduces pain-related neural activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, insula, secondary somatosensory cortex, and thalamus

    PubMed Central

    Nakata, Hiroki; Sakamoto, Kiwako; Kakigi, Ryusuke

    2014-01-01

    Recent studies have shown that meditation inhibits or relieves pain perception. To clarify the underlying mechanisms for this phenomenon, neuroimaging methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, and neurophysiological methods, such as magnetoencephalography and electroencephalography, have been used. However, it has been difficult to interpret the results, because there is some paradoxical evidence. For example, some studies reported increased neural responses to pain stimulation during meditation in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and insula, whereas others showed a decrease in these regions. There have been inconsistent findings to date. Moreover, in general, since the activities of the ACC and insula are correlated with pain perception, the increase in neural activities during meditation would be related to the enhancement of pain perception rather than its reduction. These contradictions might directly contribute to the ‘mystery of meditation.’ In this review, we presented previous findings for brain regions during meditation and the anatomical changes that occurred in the brain with long-term meditation training. We then discussed the findings of previous studies that examined pain-related neural activity during meditation. We also described the brain mechanisms responsible for pain relief during meditation, and possible reasons for paradoxical evidence among previous studies. By thoroughly overviewing previous findings, we hypothesized that meditation reduces pain-related neural activity in the ACC, insula, secondary somatosensory cortex, and thalamus. We suggest that the characteristics of the modulation of this activity may depend on the kind of meditation and/or number of years of experience of meditation, which were associated with paradoxical findings among previous studies that investigated pain-related neural activities during meditation. PMID:25566158

  12. Neural correlates of admiration and compassion.

    PubMed

    Immordino-Yang, Mary Helen; McColl, Andrea; Damasio, Hanna; Damasio, Antonio

    2009-05-12

    In an fMRI experiment, participants were exposed to narratives based on true stories designed to evoke admiration and compassion in 4 distinct categories: admiration for virtue (AV), admiration for skill (AS), compassion for social/psychological pain (CSP), and compassion for physical pain (CPP). The goal was to test hypotheses about recruitment of homeostatic, somatosensory, and consciousness-related neural systems during the processing of pain-related (compassion) and non-pain-related (admiration) social emotions along 2 dimensions: emotions about other peoples' social/psychological conditions (AV, CSP) and emotions about others' physical conditions (AS, CPP). Consistent with theoretical accounts, the experience of all 4 emotions engaged brain regions involved in interoceptive representation and homeostatic regulation, including anterior insula, anterior cingulate, hypothalamus, and mesencephalon. However, the study also revealed a previously undescribed pattern within the posteromedial cortices (the ensemble of precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex, and retrosplenial region), an intriguing territory currently known for its involvement in the default mode of brain operation and in self-related/consciousness processes: emotions pertaining to social/psychological and physical situations engaged different networks aligned, respectively, with interoceptive and exteroceptive neural systems. Finally, within the anterior insula, activity correlated with AV and CSP peaked later and was more sustained than that associated with CPP. Our findings contribute insights on the functions of the posteromedial cortices and on the recruitment of the anterior insula in social emotions concerned with physical versus psychological pain. PMID:19414310

  13. Distribution of language-related Cntnap2 protein in neural circuits critical for vocal learning

    PubMed Central

    Condro, Michael C.; White, Stephanie A.

    2013-01-01

    Variants of the contactin associated protein-like 2 (Cntnap2) gene are risk factors for language-related disorders including autism spectrum disorder, specific language impairment, and stuttering. Songbirds are useful models for study of human speech disorders due to their shared capacity for vocal learning, which relies on similar cortico-basal ganglia circuitry and genetic factors. Here, we investigate Cntnap2 protein expression in the brain of the zebra finch, a songbird species in which males, but not females, learn their courtship songs. We hypothesize that Cntnap2 has overlapping functions in vocal learning species, and expect to find protein expression in song-related areas of the zebra finch brain. We further expect that the distribution of this membrane-bound protein may not completely mirror its mRNA distribution due to the distinct subcellular localization of the two molecular species. We find that Cntnap2 protein is enriched in several song control regions relative to surrounding tissues, particularly within the adult male, but not female, robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA), a cortical song control region analogous to human layer 5 primary motor cortex. The onset of this sexually dimorphic expression coincides with the onset of sensorimotor learning in developing males. Enrichment in male RA appears due to expression in projection neurons within the nucleus, as well as to additional expression in nerve terminals of cortical projections to RA from the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the nidopallium. Cntnap2 protein expression in zebra finch brain supports the hypothesis that this molecule affects neural connectivity critical for vocal learning across taxonomic classes. PMID:23818387

  14. Music training relates to the development of neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention.

    PubMed

    Strait, Dana L; Slater, Jessica; O'Connell, Samantha; Kraus, Nina

    2015-04-01

    Selective attention decreases trial-to-trial variability in cortical auditory-evoked activity. This effect increases over the course of maturation, potentially reflecting the gradual development of selective attention and inhibitory control. Work in adults indicates that music training may alter the development of this neural response characteristic, especially over brain regions associated with executive control: in adult musicians, attention decreases variability in auditory-evoked responses recorded over prefrontal cortex to a greater extent than in nonmusicians. We aimed to determine whether this musician-associated effect emerges during childhood, when selective attention and inhibitory control are under development. We compared cortical auditory-evoked variability to attended and ignored speech streams in musicians and nonmusicians across three age groups: preschoolers, school-aged children and young adults. Results reveal that childhood music training is associated with reduced auditory-evoked response variability recorded over prefrontal cortex during selective auditory attention in school-aged child and adult musicians. Preschoolers, on the other hand, demonstrate no impact of selective attention on cortical response variability and no musician distinctions. This finding is consistent with the gradual emergence of attention during this period and may suggest no pre-existing differences in this attention-related cortical metric between children who undergo music training and those who do not. PMID:25660985

  15. Protective Effect of Puerarin Against Oxidative Stress Injury of Neural Cells and Related Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Cheng, Yuan; Leng, Wei; Zhang, Jingshu

    2016-01-01

    Background Parkinson’s disease (PD) is manifested as degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra compacta. The mitochondrial dysfunction induced by oxidative stress is believed to a major cause of PD. Puerarin has been widely applied due to its estrogen nature and anti-oxidative function. This study thus investigated the protective role of puerarin against oxidative stress injury on PC12 neural cells, in addition to related mechanisms. Material/Methods PC12 cells were pre-treated with gradient concentrations of puerarin, followed by the induction of 0.5 mM H2O2. MTT assay was used to detect cell viability. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was employed to detect intracellular level of superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), and glutathione (GSH). Cell apoptosis was determined by Annexin-V/7-AAD double labelling. Reactive oxidative species (ROS) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activities were then measured. Cellular levels of caspase-3 and caspase-9 were also determined. Results The pre-treatment using puerarin significantly reversed H2O2-induced oxidative stress injury, as it can increase proliferation, SOD and GSH activities, decrease MDA activity, suppress apoptosis of PC12 cells, and decrease ROS and LDH production (p<0.05 in all cases). Further assays showed depressed up-regulation of caspase-3 and caspase-9 after puerarin pretreatment. Conclusions Puerarin pretreatment can decrease activity of caspase-3 and caspase-9 activity in PC12 cells, thus protecting cells from oxidative injury. PMID:27074962

  16. Exercise as an Intervention for the Age-Related Decline in Neural Metabolic Support

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, Brenda J.; Greenwood, Shayri J.; McCloskey, Daniel

    2010-01-01

    To identify interventions for brain aging, we must first identify the processes in which we hope to intervene. Brain aging is a period of decreasing functional capacity and increasing vulnerability, which reflect a reduction in morphological organization and perhaps degeneration. Since life is ultimately dependent upon the ability to maintain cellular organization through metabolism, this review explores evidence for a decline in neural metabolic support during aging, which includes a reduction in whole brain cerebral blood flow, and cellular metabolic capacity. Capillary density may also decrease with age, although the results are less clear. Exercise may be a highly effective intervention for brain aging, because it improves the cardiovascular system as a whole, and increases regional capillary density and neuronal metabolic capacity. Although the evidence is strongest for motor regions, more work may yield additional evidence for exercise-related improvement in metabolic support in non-motor regions. The protective effects of exercise may be specific to brain region and the type of insult. For example, exercise protects striatal cells from ischemia, but it produces mixed results after hippocampal seizures. Exercise can improve metabolic support and bioenergetic capacity in adult animals, but it remains to be determined whether it has similar effects in aging animals. What is clear is that exercise can influence the multiple levels of support necessary for maintaining optimal neuronal function, which is unique among proposed interventions for aging. PMID:20802804

  17. Habitual Alcohol Seeking: Neural Bases and Possible Relations to Alcohol Use Disorders.

    PubMed

    Corbit, Laura H; Janak, Patricia H

    2016-07-01

    Loss of flexible control over alcohol use may contribute to the development of alcohol use disorders. An increased contribution of response habits to alcohol-related behaviors may help explain this loss of control. Focusing on data from outcome devaluation and Pavlovian-instrumental transfer procedures, we review evidence for loss of goal-directed control over alcohol seeking and consumption drawing from both preclinical findings and clinical data where they exist. Over the course of extended alcohol self-administration and exposure, the performance of alcohol-seeking responses becomes less sensitive to reduction in the value of alcohol and more vulnerable to the influences of alcohol-predictive stimuli. These behavioral changes are accompanied by a shift in the corticostriatal circuits that control responding from circuits centered on the dorsomedial to those centered on the dorsolateral striatum. These changes in behavioral and neural control could help explain failures to abstain from alcohol despite intention to do so. Understanding and ultimately ameliorating these changes will aid development of more effective treatment interventions. PMID:27223341

  18. Global Workspace Dynamics: Cortical “Binding and Propagation” Enables Conscious Contents

    PubMed Central

    Baars, Bernard J.; Franklin, Stan; Ramsoy, Thomas Zoega

    2013-01-01

    A global workspace (GW) is a functional hub of binding and propagation in a population of loosely coupled signaling elements. In computational applications, GW architectures recruit many distributed, specialized agents to cooperate in resolving focal ambiguities. In the brain, conscious experiences may reflect a GW function. For animals, the natural world is full of unpredictable dangers and opportunities, suggesting a general adaptive pressure for brains to resolve focal ambiguities quickly and accurately. GW theory aims to understand the differences between conscious and unconscious brain events. In humans and related species the cortico-thalamic (C-T) core is believed to underlie conscious aspects of perception, thinking, learning, feelings of knowing (FOK), felt emotions, visual imagery, working memory, and executive control. Alternative theoretical perspectives are also discussed. The C-T core has many anatomical hubs, but conscious percepts are unitary and internally consistent at any given moment. Over time, conscious contents constitute a very large, open set. This suggests that a brain-based GW capacity cannot be localized in a single anatomical hub. Rather, it should be sought in a functional hub – a dynamic capacity for binding and propagation of neural signals over multiple task-related networks, a kind of neuronal cloud computing. In this view, conscious contents can arise in any region of the C-T core when multiple input streams settle on a winner-take-all equilibrium. The resulting conscious gestalt may ignite an any-to-many broadcast, lasting ∼100–200 ms, and trigger widespread adaptation in previously established networks. To account for the great range of conscious contents over time, the theory suggests an open repertoire of binding1 coalitions that can broadcast via theta/gamma or alpha/gamma phase coupling, like radio channels competing for a narrow frequency band. Conscious moments are thought to hold only 1–4 unrelated items; this

  19. Purging of Memories from Conscious Awareness Tracked in the Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Levy, Benjamin J.; Anderson, Michael C.

    2012-01-01

    Understanding the neural basis of conscious experience and its regulation are fundamental goals of science. While recent research has made substantial progress in identifying the neural correlates of conscious experiences, it remains unclear how individuals exert control over the contents of awareness. In particular, can a memory that has entered the aware state be purged from consciousness if it is not currently desired? Here we tracked the correlates of consciousness in humans using fMRI and demonstrated the involvement of a down-regulation mechanism that purges contents from conscious awareness. When individuals tried to prevent the retrieval of a memory in response to reminders, hippocampal activity was reduced, as previously established. Crucially, using trial-by-trial reports of phenomenal awareness, we found that this reduction of hippocampal activation was specifically associated with moments when a memory involuntarily intruded into conscious awareness and needed to be purged. This down-regulation of activity during memory intrusions appears to disrupt momentary awareness of unwanted contents and, importantly, predicts impaired recall of the memory on later tests. These results tie the voluntary control of phenomenal awareness to observable changes in neural activity linked to awareness, and so provide a neurobiological model for guiding inquiry into the physical foundations of control over consciousness. PMID:23175832

  20. Conscious Experience and Episodic Memory: Hippocampus at the Crossroads

    PubMed Central

    Behrendt, Ralf-Peter

    2013-01-01

    If an instance of conscious experience of the seemingly objective world around us could be regarded as a newly formed event memory, much as an instance of mental imagery has the content of a retrieved event memory, and if, therefore, the stream of conscious experience could be seen as evidence for ongoing formation of event memories that are linked into episodic memory sequences, then unitary conscious experience could be defined as a symbolic representation of the pattern of hippocampal neuronal firing that encodes an event memory – a theoretical stance that may shed light into the mind-body and binding problems in consciousness research. Exceedingly detailed symbols that describe patterns of activity rapidly self-organizing, at each cycle of the θ rhythm, in the hippocampus are instances of unitary conscious experience that jointly constitute the stream of consciousness. Integrating object information (derived from the ventral visual stream and orbitofrontal cortex) with contextual emotional information (from the anterior insula) and spatial environmental information (from the dorsal visual stream), the hippocampus rapidly forms event codes that have the informational content of objects embedded in an emotional and spatiotemporally extending context. Event codes, formed in the CA3-dentate network for the purpose of their memorization, are not only contextualized but also allocentric representations, similarly to conscious experiences of events and objects situated in a seemingly objective and observer-independent framework of phenomenal space and time. Conscious perception, creating the spatially and temporally extending world that we perceive around us, is likely to be evolutionarily related to more fleeting and seemingly internal forms of conscious experience, such as autobiographical memory recall, mental imagery, including goal anticipation, and to other forms of externalized conscious experience, namely dreaming and hallucinations; and evidence pointing

  1. A Neural Network Approach to fMRI Binocular Visual Rivalry Task Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Bertolino, Nicola; Ferraro, Stefania; Nigri, Anna; Bruzzone, Maria Grazia; Ghielmetti, Francesco; Leonardi, Matilde; Agostino Parati, Eugenio; Grazia Bruzzone, Maria; Franceschetti, Silvana; Caldiroli, Dario; Sattin, Davide; Giovannetti, Ambra; Pagani, Marco; Covelli, Venusia; Ciaraffa, Francesca; Vela Gomez, Jesus; Reggiori, Barbara; Ferraro, Stefania; Nigri, Anna; D'Incerti, Ludovico; Minati, Ludovico; Andronache, Adrian; Rosazza, Cristina; Fazio, Patrik; Rossi, Davide; Varotto, Giulia; Panzica, Ferruccio; Benti, Riccardo; Marotta, Giorgio; Molteni, Franco

    2014-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to investigate whether artificial neural networks (ANN) are able to decode participants’ conscious experience perception from brain activity alone, using complex and ecological stimuli. To reach the aim we conducted pattern recognition data analysis on fMRI data acquired during the execution of a binocular visual rivalry paradigm (BR). Twelve healthy participants were submitted to fMRI during the execution of a binocular non-rivalry (BNR) and a BR paradigm in which two classes of stimuli (faces and houses) were presented. During the binocular rivalry paradigm, behavioral responses related to the switching between consciously perceived stimuli were also collected. First, we used the BNR paradigm as a functional localizer to identify the brain areas involved the processing of the stimuli. Second, we trained the ANN on the BNR fMRI data restricted to these regions of interest. Third, we applied the trained ANN to the BR data as a ‘brain reading’ tool to discriminate the pattern of neural activity between the two stimuli. Fourth, we verified the consistency of the ANN outputs with the collected behavioral indicators of which stimulus was consciously perceived by the participants. Our main results showed that the trained ANN was able to generalize across the two different tasks (i.e. BNR and BR) and to identify with high accuracy the cognitive state of the participants (i.e. which stimulus was consciously perceived) during the BR condition. The behavioral response, employed as control parameter, was compared with the network output and a statistically significant percentage of correspondences (p-value <0.05) were obtained for all subjects. In conclusion the present study provides a method based on multivariate pattern analysis to investigate the neural basis of visual consciousness during the BR phenomenon when behavioral indicators lack or are inconsistent, like in disorders of consciousness or sedated patients. PMID:25121595

  2. Environment Conscious Ceramics (Ecoceramics)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Singh, Mrityunjay; Levine, Stanley R. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Environment conscious ceramics (Ecoceramics) are a new class of materials, which can be produced with renewable natural resources (wood) or wood wastes (wood sawdust). Silicon carbide-based ecoceramics have been fabricated by reactive infiltration of carbonaceous preforms by molten silicon or silicon-refractory metal alloys. These carbonaceous preforms have been fabricated by pyrolysis of solid wood bodies at 1000 C. The fabrication approach, microstructure, and mechanical properties of SiC-based ecoceramics are presented. Ecoceramics have tailorable properties and behave like ceramic materials manufactured by conventional approaches.

  3. Neural networks related to dysfunctional face processing in autism spectrum disorder

    PubMed Central

    Nickl-Jockschat, Thomas; Rottschy, Claudia; Thommes, Johanna; Schneider, Frank; Laird, Angela R.; Fox, Peter T.; Eickhoff, Simon B.

    2016-01-01

    One of the most consistent neuropsychological findings in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is a reduced interest in and impaired processing of human faces. We conducted an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis on 14 functional imaging studies on neural correlates of face processing enrolling a total of 164 ASD patients. Subsequently, normative whole-brain functional connectivity maps for the identified regions of significant convergence were computed for the task-independent (resting-state) and task-dependent (co-activations) state in healthy subjects. Quantitative functional decoding was performed by reference to the BrainMap database. Finally, we examined the overlap of the delineated network with the results of a previous meta-analysis on structural abnormalities in ASD as well as with brain regions involved in human action observation/imitation. We found a single cluster in the left fusiform gyrus showing significantly reduced activation during face processing in ASD across all studies. Both task-dependent and task-independent analyses indicated significant functional connectivity of this region with the temporo-occipital and lateral occipital cortex, the inferior frontal and parietal cortices, the thalamus and the amygdala. Quantitative reverse inference then indicated an association of these regions mainly with face processing, affective processing, and language-related tasks. Moreover, we found that the cortex in the region of right area V5 displaying structural changes in ASD patients showed consistent connectivity with the region showing aberrant responses in the context of face processing. Finally, this network was also implicated in the human action observation/imitation network. In summary, our findings thus suggest a functionally and structurally disturbed network of occipital regions related primarily to face (but potentially also language) processing, which interact with inferior frontal as well as limbic regions and may be the core of

  4. Protein kinase C substrate phosphorylation in relation to neural growth and synaptic plasticity: a common molecular mechanism underlying multiple neural functions

    SciTech Connect

    Nelson, R.B.

    1987-01-01

    In these studies, we addressed the issues of: (1) whether neural protein kinase C (PKC) substrates might be altered in phosphorylation following induction of long-term potentiation (LTP); (2) whether PKC substrate phosphorylation might be specifically related to a model of neural plasticity other than LTP; and (3) whether the PKC substrates implicated in adult synaptic plasticity might be present in axonal growth cones given reports that high concentrations of PKC are found in these structures. Using quantitative analysis of multiple two-dimensional gels, we found that the two major substrates of exogenous purified PKC in adult hippocampal homogenate are both directly correlated to persistence of LTP. In rhesus monkey cerebral cortex, the proteins corresponding to protein F1 and 80k displayed topographical gradients in /sup 32/P-incorporation along the occipitotemporal visual processing pathway. The phosphorylation of both proteins was 11- and 14-fold higher, respectively, in temporal regions of this pathway implicated in the storage of visual representations, than in occipital regions, which do not appear to directly participate in visual memory functions.

  5. Conscious Wireless Electroretinogram and Visual Evoked Potentials in Rats

    PubMed Central

    He, Zheng; Dang, Trung M.; Vingrys, Algis J.; Fish, Rebecca L.; Gurrell, Rachel; Brain, Phil; Bui, Bang V.

    2013-01-01

    The electroretinogram (ERG, retina) and visual evoked potential (VEP, brain) are widely used in vivo tools assaying the integrity of the visual pathway. Current recordings in preclinical models are conducted under anesthesia, which alters neural physiology and contaminates responses. We describe a conscious wireless ERG and VEP recording platform in rats. Using a novel surgical technique to chronically implant electrodes subconjunctivally on the eye and epidurally over the visual cortex, we are able to record stable and repeatable conscious ERG and VEP signals over at least 1 month. We show that the use of anaesthetics, necessary for conventional ERG and VEP measurements, alters electrophysiology recordings. Conscious visual electrophysiology improves the viability of longitudinal studies by eliminating complications associated with repeated anaesthesia. It will also enable uncontaminated assessment of drug effects, allowing the eye to be used as an effective biomarker of the central nervous system. PMID:24069276

  6. What is consciousness?

    PubMed

    Solms, M

    1997-01-01

    In the past few years scientists and scholars in a variety of disciplines have been making concerted efforts to answer an ancient question, namely, How exactly do the physical processes in the brain cause consciousness? What is distinctive about the way in which modern scientists and scholars are approaching this question is that they are treating it as a scientific problem rather than a metaphysical one. This transition reflects the air of expectation in contemporary cognitive science to the effect that an empirical solution is imminent to a philosophical problem that previously was considered insoluble. Nevertheless, a recent authoritative review of the publications of such leading contemporary workers in the field as Francis Crick, Daniel Dennett, Gerald Edelman, Roger Penrose, and Israel Rosenfield has concluded that they have all failed to provide a satisfactory answer to the question (Searle 1995a). The present paper makes a psychoanalytic contribution to this interdisciplinary effort and provides an alternative answer to the question, based on Freud's conceptualization of the problem of consciousness. The paper takes a concrete example from Searle's review, reanalyses it within Freud's metapsychological frame of reference, and shows how this frame provides a radical solution to the problem. This implication of Freud's work has not hitherto been recognized and so has not received the attention it deserves. PMID:9353705

  7. Consciousness: individuated information in action.

    PubMed

    Jonkisz, Jakub

    2015-01-01

    Within theoretical and empirical enquiries, many different meanings associated with consciousness have appeared, leaving the term itself quite vague. This makes formulating an abstract and unifying version of the concept of consciousness - the main aim of this article -into an urgent theoretical imperative. It is argued that consciousness, characterized as dually accessible (cognized from the inside and the outside), hierarchically referential (semantically ordered), bodily determined (embedded in the working structures of an organism or conscious system), and useful in action (pragmatically functional), is a graded rather than an all-or-none phenomenon. A gradational approach, however, despite its explanatory advantages, can lead to some counterintuitive consequences and theoretical problems. In most such conceptions consciousness is extended globally (attached to primitive organisms or artificial systems), but also locally (connected to certain lower-level neuronal and bodily processes). For example, according to information integration theory (as introduced recently by Tononi and Koch, 2014), even such simple artificial systems as photodiodes possess miniscule amounts of consciousness. The major challenge for this article, then, is to establish reasonable, empirically justified constraints on how extended the range of a graded consciousness could be. It is argued that conscious systems are limited globally by the ability to individuate information (where individuated information is understood as evolutionarily embedded, socially altered, and private), whereas local limitations should be determined on the basis of a hypothesis about the action-oriented nature of the processes that select states of consciousness. Using these constraints, an abstract concept of consciousness is arrived at, hopefully contributing to a more unified state of play within consciousness studies itself. PMID:26283987

  8. Consciousness: individuated information in action

    PubMed Central

    Jonkisz, Jakub

    2015-01-01

    Within theoretical and empirical enquiries, many different meanings associated with consciousness have appeared, leaving the term itself quite vague. This makes formulating an abstract and unifying version of the concept of consciousness – the main aim of this article –into an urgent theoretical imperative. It is argued that consciousness, characterized as dually accessible (cognized from the inside and the outside), hierarchically referential (semantically ordered), bodily determined (embedded in the working structures of an organism or conscious system), and useful in action (pragmatically functional), is a graded rather than an all-or-none phenomenon. A gradational approach, however, despite its explanatory advantages, can lead to some counterintuitive consequences and theoretical problems. In most such conceptions consciousness is extended globally (attached to primitive organisms or artificial systems), but also locally (connected to certain lower-level neuronal and bodily processes). For example, according to information integration theory (as introduced recently by Tononi and Koch, 2014), even such simple artificial systems as photodiodes possess miniscule amounts of consciousness. The major challenge for this article, then, is to establish reasonable, empirically justified constraints on how extended the range of a graded consciousness could be. It is argued that conscious systems are limited globally by the ability to individuate information (where individuated information is understood as evolutionarily embedded, socially altered, and private), whereas local limitations should be determined on the basis of a hypothesis about the action-oriented nature of the processes that select states of consciousness. Using these constraints, an abstract concept of consciousness is arrived at, hopefully contributing to a more unified state of play within consciousness studies itself. PMID:26283987

  9. An event-related examination of neural activity during social interactions

    PubMed Central

    Khatcherian, Stephanie M.; Ball, Aaron B.; Rosen, Peter J.

    2013-01-01

    Social exclusion is known to cause alterations in neural activity and perceptions of social distress. However, previous research is largely limited to examining social interactions as a unitary phenomenon without investigating adjustments in neural and attentional processes that occur during social interactions. To address this limitation, we examined neural activity on a trial-by-trial basis during different social interactions. Our results show conflict monitoring neural alarm activation, indexed by the N2, in response to specific exclusionary events; even during interactions that are inclusionary overall and in the absence of self-reported feelings of social pain. Furthermore, we show enhanced attentional activation to exclusionary events, indexed by the P3b, during exclusionary, compared with inclusionary, interactions, and this P3b activation was associated with self-reported social distress following prolonged social exclusion. Finally, both the N2 and P3b showed larger amplitudes in the earlier stages of exclusion compared with later stages, suggesting heightened early sensitivity for both components. Together, these findings provide novel insights into the dynamic neural and perceptual processes of exclusion that exist during social interactions and the relationship between discrete events within interactions and the more general contexts of the social interactions. PMID:22577169

  10. Neural substrates related to auditory working memory comparisons in dyslexia: an fMRI study.

    PubMed

    Conway, Tim; Heilman, Kenneth M; Gopinath, Kaundinya; Peck, Kyung; Bauer, Russell; Briggs, Richard W; Torgesen, Joseph K; Crosson, Bruce

    2008-07-01

    Adult readers with developmental phonological dyslexia exhibit significant difficulty comparing pseudowords and pure tones in auditory working memory (AWM). This suggests deficient AWM skills for adults diagnosed with dyslexia. Despite behavioral differences, it is unknown whether neural substrates of AWM differ between adults diagnosed with dyslexia and normal readers. Prior neuroimaging of adults diagnosed with dyslexia and normal readers, and post-mortem findings of neural structural anomalies in adults diagnosed with dyslexia support the hypothesis of atypical neural activity in temporoparietal and inferior frontal regions during AWM tasks in adults diagnosed with dyslexia. We used fMRI during two binaural AWM tasks (pseudowords or pure tones comparisons) in adults diagnosed with dyslexia (n = 11) and normal readers (n = 11). For both AWM tasks, adults diagnosed with dyslexia exhibited greater activity in left posterior superior temporal (BA 22) and inferior parietal regions (BA 40) than normal readers. Comparing neural activity between groups and between stimuli contrasts (pseudowords vs. tones), adults diagnosed with dyslexia showed greater primary auditory cortex activity (BA 42; tones > pseudowords) than normal readers. Thus, greater activity in primary auditory, posterior superior temporal, and inferior parietal cortices during linguistic and non-linguistic AWM tasks for adults diagnosed with dyslexia compared to normal readers indicate differences in neural substrates of AWM comparison tasks. PMID:18577292

  11. Online tracking of the contents of conscious perception using real-time fMRI

    PubMed Central

    Reichert, Christoph; Fendrich, Robert; Bernarding, Johannes; Tempelmann, Claus; Hinrichs, Hermann; Rieger, Jochem W.

    2014-01-01

    Perception is an active process that interprets and structures the stimulus input based on assumptions about its possible causes. We use real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rtfMRI) to investigate a particularly powerful demonstration of dynamic object integration in which the same physical stimulus intermittently elicits categorically different conscious object percepts. In this study, we simulated an outline object that is moving behind a narrow slit. With such displays, the physically identical stimulus can elicit categorically different percepts that either correspond closely to the physical stimulus (vertically moving line segments) or represent a hypothesis about the underlying cause of the physical stimulus (a horizontally moving object that is partly occluded). In the latter case, the brain must construct an object from the input sequence. Combining rtfMRI with machine learning techniques we show that it is possible to determine online the momentary state of a subject's conscious percept from time resolved BOLD-activity. In addition, we found that feedback about the currently decoded percept increased the decoding rates compared to prior fMRI recordings of the same stimulus without feedback presentation. The analysis of the trained classifier revealed a brain network that discriminates contents of conscious perception with antagonistic interactions between early sensory areas that represent physical stimulus properties and higher-tier brain areas. During integrated object percepts, brain activity decreases in early sensory areas and increases in higher-tier areas. We conclude that it is possible to use BOLD responses to reliably track the contents of conscious visual perception with a relatively high temporal resolution. We suggest that our approach can also be used to investigate the neural basis of auditory object formation and discuss the results in the context of predictive coding theory. PMID:24904260

  12. Identifying Tmem59 related gene regulatory network of mouse neural stem cell from a compendium of expression profiles

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Neural stem cells offer potential treatment for neurodegenerative disorders, such like Alzheimer's disease (AD). While much progress has been made in understanding neural stem cell function, a precise description of the molecular mechanisms regulating neural stem cells is not yet established. This lack of knowledge is a major barrier holding back the discovery of therapeutic uses of neural stem cells. In this paper, the regulatory mechanism of mouse neural stem cell (NSC) differentiation by tmem59 is explored on the genome-level. Results We identified regulators of tmem59 during the differentiation of mouse NSCs from a compendium of expression profiles. Based on the microarray experiment, we developed the parallelized SWNI algorithm to reconstruct gene regulatory networks of mouse neural stem cells. From the inferred tmem59 related gene network including 36 genes, pou6f1 was identified to regulate tmem59 significantly and might play an important role in the differentiation of NSCs in mouse brain. There are four pathways shown in the gene network, indicating that tmem59 locates in the downstream of the signalling pathway. The real-time RT-PCR results shown that the over-expression of pou6f1 could significantly up-regulate tmem59 expression in C17.2 NSC line. 16 out of 36 predicted genes in our constructed network have been reported to be AD-related, including Ace, aqp1, arrdc3, cd14, cd59a, cds1, cldn1, cox8b, defb11, folr1, gdi2, mmp3, mgp, myrip, Ripk4, rnd3, and sncg. The localization of tmem59 related genes and functional-related gene groups based on the Gene Ontology (GO) annotation was also identified. Conclusions Our findings suggest that the expression of tmem59 is an important factor contributing to AD. The parallelized SWNI algorithm increased the efficiency of network reconstruction significantly. This study enables us to highlight novel genes that may be involved in NSC differentiation and provides a shortcut to identifying genes for AD. PMID

  13. Dynamics of Dual Prism Adaptation: Relating Novel Experimental Results to a Minimalistic Neural Model

    PubMed Central

    Arévalo, Orlando; Bornschlegl, Mona A.; Eberhardt, Sven; Ernst, Udo; Pawelzik, Klaus; Fahle, Manfred

    2013-01-01

    In everyday life, humans interact with a dynamic environment often requiring rapid adaptation of visual perception and motor control. In particular, new visuo–motor mappings must be learned while old skills have to be kept, such that after adaptation, subjects may be able to quickly change between two different modes of generating movements (‘dual–adaptation’). A fundamental question is how the adaptation schedule determines the acquisition speed of new skills. Given a fixed number of movements in two different environments, will dual–adaptation be faster if switches (‘phase changes’) between the environments occur more frequently? We investigated the dynamics of dual–adaptation under different training schedules in a virtual pointing experiment. Surprisingly, we found that acquisition speed of dual visuo–motor mappings in a pointing task is largely independent of the number of phase changes. Next, we studied the neuronal mechanisms underlying this result and other key phenomena of dual–adaptation by relating model simulations to experimental data. We propose a simple and yet biologically plausible neural model consisting of a spatial mapping from an input layer to a pointing angle which is subjected to a global gain modulation. Adaptation is performed by reinforcement learning on the model parameters. Despite its simplicity, the model provides a unifying account for a broad range of experimental data: It quantitatively reproduced the learning rates in dual–adaptation experiments for both direct effect, i.e. adaptation to prisms, and aftereffect, i.e. behavior after removal of prisms, and their independence on the number of phase changes. Several other phenomena, e.g. initial pointing errors that are far smaller than the induced optical shift, were also captured. Moreover, the underlying mechanisms, a local adaptation of a spatial mapping and a global adaptation of a gain factor, explained asymmetric spatial transfer and generalization of

  14. Dynamics of dual prism adaptation: relating novel experimental results to a minimalistic neural model.

    PubMed

    Arévalo, Orlando; Bornschlegl, Mona A; Eberhardt, Sven; Ernst, Udo; Pawelzik, Klaus; Fahle, Manfred

    2013-01-01

    In everyday life, humans interact with a dynamic environment often requiring rapid adaptation of visual perception and motor control. In particular, new visuo-motor mappings must be learned while old skills have to be kept, such that after adaptation, subjects may be able to quickly change between two different modes of generating movements ('dual-adaptation'). A fundamental question is how the adaptation schedule determines the acquisition speed of new skills. Given a fixed number of movements in two different environments, will dual-adaptation be faster if switches ('phase changes') between the environments occur more frequently? We investigated the dynamics of dual-adaptation under different training schedules in a virtual pointing experiment. Surprisingly, we found that acquisition speed of dual visuo-motor mappings in a pointing task is largely independent of the number of phase changes. Next, we studied the neuronal mechanisms underlying this result and other key phenomena of dual-adaptation by relating model simulations to experimental data. We propose a simple and yet biologically plausible neural model consisting of a spatial mapping from an input layer to a pointing angle which is subjected to a global gain modulation. Adaptation is performed by reinforcement learning on the model parameters. Despite its simplicity, the model provides a unifying account for a broad range of experimental data: It quantitatively reproduced the learning rates in dual-adaptation experiments for both direct effect, i.e. adaptation to prisms, and aftereffect, i.e. behavior after removal of prisms, and their independence on the number of phase changes. Several other phenomena, e.g. initial pointing errors that are far smaller than the induced optical shift, were also captured. Moreover, the underlying mechanisms, a local adaptation of a spatial mapping and a global adaptation of a gain factor, explained asymmetric spatial transfer and generalization of prism adaptation, as

  15. Common and Segregated Neural Substrates for Automatic Conceptual and Affective Priming as Revealed by Event-Related Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Liu, Hongyan; Hu, Zhiguo; Peng, Danling; Yang, Yanhui; Li, Kuncheng

    2010-01-01

    The brain activity associated with automatic semantic priming has been extensively studied. Thus far there has been no prior study that directly contrasts the neural mechanisms of semantic and affective priming. The present study employed event-related fMRI to examine the common and distinct neural bases underlying conceptual and affective priming…

  16. Assessment of Event-Related EEG Power After Single-Pulse TMS in Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome and Minimally Conscious State Patients.

    PubMed

    Formaggio, Emanuela; Cavinato, Marianna; Storti, Silvia Francesca; Tonin, Paolo; Piccione, Francesco; Manganotti, Paolo

    2016-03-01

    In patients without a behavioral response, non-invasive techniques and new methods of data analysis can complement existing diagnostic tools by providing a method for detecting covert signs of residual cognitive function and awareness. The aim of this study was to investigate the brain oscillatory activities synchronized by single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) delivered over the primary motor area in the time-frequency domain in patients with the unresponsive wakefulness syndrome or in a minimally conscious state as compared to healthy controls. A time-frequency analysis based on the wavelet transform was used to characterize rapid modifications of oscillatory EEG rhythms induced by TMS in patients as compared to healthy controls. The pattern of EEG changes in the patients differed from that of healthy controls. In the controls there was an early synchronization of slow waves immediately followed by a desynchronization of alpha and beta frequency bands over the frontal and centro-parietal electrodes, whereas an opposite early synchronization, particularly over motor areas for alpha and beta and over the frontal and parietal electrodes for beta power, was seen in the patients. In addition, no relevant modification in slow rhythms (delta and theta) after TMS was noted in patients. The clinical impact of these findings could be relevant in neurorehabilitation settings for increasing the awareness of these patients and defining new treatment procedures. PMID:26590568

  17. Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor Related Proteins as Regulators of Neural Stem and Progenitor Cell Function

    PubMed Central

    Landowski, Lila M.; Young, Kaylene M.

    2016-01-01

    The central nervous system (CNS) is a highly organised structure. Many signalling systems work in concert to ensure that neural stem cells are appropriately directed to generate progenitor cells, which in turn mature into functional cell types including projection neurons, interneurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Herein we explore the role of the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor family, in particular family members LRP1 and LRP2, in regulating the behaviour of neural stem and progenitor cells during development and adulthood. The ability of LRP1 and LRP2 to bind a diverse and extensive range of ligands, regulate ligand endocytosis, recruit nonreceptor tyrosine kinases for direct signal transduction and signal in conjunction with other receptors, enables them to modulate many crucial neural cell functions. PMID:26949399

  18. Connecting Conscious and Unconscious Processing

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cleeremans, Axel

    2014-01-01

    Consciousness remains a mystery--"a phenomenon that people do not know how to think about--yet" (Dennett, D. C., 1991, p. 21). Here, I consider how the connectionist perspective on information processing may help us progress toward the goal of understanding the computational principles through which conscious and unconscious processing…

  19. Psychology Tomorrow: Explorations of Consciousness.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bancroft, Norris R.

    Psychology is again revitalizing efforts to explore the nature and extent of human consciousness. Although consciousness has always been the central subject matter of psychology, various metholodological and ideological "schools" have often quarreled as to exactly what constitutes the appropriate measure of the subject. What is most significant…

  20. Education for Critical Moral Consciousness

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mustakova-Possardt, Elena

    2004-01-01

    This paper proposes a lifespan developmental model of critical moral consciousness and examines its implications for education in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Mature moral consciousness, central to negotiating the challenges of the 21st century, is characterized by a deepening lifelong integration of moral motivation, agency and critical…

  1. Contemplative Neuroscience as an Approach to Volitional Consciousness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thompson, Evan

    This chapter presents a methodological approach to volitional consciousness for cognitive neuroscience based on studying the voluntary self-generation and self-regulation of mental states in meditation. Called contemplative neuroscience, this approach views attention, awareness, and emotion regulation as flexible and trainable skills, and works with experimental participants who have undergone training in contemplative practices designed to hone these skills. Drawing from research on the dynamical neural correlates of contemplative mental states and theories of large-scale neural coordination dynamics, I argue for the importance of global system causation in brain activity and present an "interventionist" approach to intentional causation.

  2. Neural dynamics of prediction and surprise in infants

    PubMed Central

    Kouider, Sid; Long, Bria; Le Stanc, Lorna; Charron, Sylvain; Fievet, Anne-Caroline; Barbosa, Leonardo S.; Gelskov, Sofie V.

    2015-01-01

    Prior expectations shape neural responses in sensory regions of the brain, consistent with a Bayesian predictive coding account of perception. Yet, it remains unclear whether such a mechanism is already functional during early stages of development. To address this issue, we study how the infant brain responds to prediction violations using a cross-modal cueing paradigm. We record electroencephalographic responses to expected and unexpected visual events preceded by auditory cues in 12-month-old infants. We find an increased response for unexpected events. However, this effect of prediction error is only observed during late processing stages associated with conscious access mechanisms. In contrast, early perceptual components reveal an amplification of neural responses for predicted relative to surprising events, suggesting that selective attention enhances perceptual processing for expected events. Taken together, these results demonstrate that cross-modal statistical regularities are used to generate predictions that differentially influence early and late neural responses in infants. PMID:26460901

  3. [The "bright spot of consciousness"].

    PubMed

    Simonov, P V

    1990-01-01

    I.P. Pavlov considered consciousness as an area of optimum excitability moving over the human cerebral cortex depending on the character of performed mental activity. Contemporary methods of computer analysis of electrical activity and brain thermal production have allowed to turn this metaphor into experimentally observed reality. It is shown that preservation of connections of cortical gnostic zones with verbal structures of the left hemisphere is the obligatory condition for consciousness functioning. These data reinforce the determination of consciousness as operation with knowledge, which by means of words, mathematic symbols and art images can be transmitted to other people. Communicative origin of consciousness creates possibility of mental dialogue with oneself, i.e. leads to the appearance of self-consciousness of the personality. PMID:1965243

  4. Declarative Consciousness for Reconstruction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seymour, Leslie G.

    2013-12-01

    Existing information technology tools are harnessed and integrated to provide digital specification of human consciousness of individual persons. An incremental compilation technology is proposed as a transformation of LifeLog derived persona specifications into a Canonical representation of the neocortex architecture of the human brain. The primary purpose is to gain an understanding of the semantical allocation of the neocortex capacity. Novel neocortex content allocation simulators with browsers are proposed to experiment with various approaches of relieving the brain from overload conditions. An IT model of the neocortex is maintained, which is then updated each time new stimuli are received from the LifeLog data stream; new information is gained from brain signal measurements; and new functional dependencies are discovered between live persona consumed/produced signals

  5. What explains consciousness? Or…What consciousness explains?

    PubMed

    Dulany, Donelson E

    2014-01-01

    In this invited commentary I focus on the topic addressed in three papers: De Sousa's (2013[1617]) Toward an Integrative Theory of Consciousness, a monograph with Parts 1 & 2, as well as commentaries by Pereira (2013a[59]) and Hirstein (2013[42]). All three are impressively scholarly and can stand-and shout-on their own. But theory of consciousness? My aim is to slice that topic into the two fundamentally different kinds of theories of consciousness, say what appears to be an ideology, out of behaviourism into cognitivism, now also influencing the quest for an "explanation of consciousness" in cognitive neuroscience. I will then say what can be expected given what we know of the complexity of brain structure, the richness of a conscious "vocabulary", and current technological limits of brain imaging. This will then turn to the strategy for examining "what consciousness explains"-metatheory, theories, mappings, and a methodology of competitive support, a methodology especially important where there are competing commitments. There are also increasingly common identifications of methodological bias in, along with failures to replicate, studies reporting unconscious controls in decision, social priming-as there have been in perception, learning, problem solving, etc. The literature critique has provided evidence taken as reducing, and in some cases eliminating, a role for conscious controls-a position consistent with that ideology out of behaviourism into cognitivism. It is an ideological position that fails to recognize the fundamental distinction between theoretical and metaphysical assertions. PMID:24891796

  6. Age and Experience Shape Developmental Changes in the Neural Basis of Language-Related Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McNealy, Kristin; Mazziotta, John C.; Dapretto, Mirella

    2011-01-01

    Very little is known about the neural underpinnings of language learning across the lifespan and how these might be modified by maturational and experiential factors. Building on behavioral research highlighting the importance of early word segmentation (i.e. the detection of word boundaries in continuous speech) for subsequent language learning,…

  7. Quantum-holographic and classical Hopfield-like associative nnets: implications for modeling two cognitive modes of consciousness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rakovic, D.; Dugic, M.

    2005-05-01

    Quantum bases of consciousness are considered with psychosomatic implications of three front lines of psychosomatic medicine (hesychastic spirituality, holistic Eastern medicine, and symptomatic Western medicine), as well as cognitive implications of two modes of individual consciousness (quantum-coherent transitional and altered states, and classically reduced normal states) alongside with conditions of transformations of one mode into another (considering consciousness quantum-coherence/classical-decoherence acupuncture system/nervous system interaction, direct and reverse, with and without threshold limits, respectively) - by using theoretical methods of associative neural networks and quantum neural holography combined with quantum decoherence theory.

  8. “What” Precedes “Which”: Developmental Neural Tuning in Face- and Place-Related Cortex

    PubMed Central

    Luna, Beatriz; Avidan, Galia; Behrmann, Marlene

    2011-01-01

    Although category-specific activation for faces in the ventral visual pathway appears adult-like in adolescence, recognition abilities for individual faces are still immature. We investigated how the ability to represent “individual” faces and houses develops at the neural level. Category-selective regions of interest (ROIs) for faces in the fusiform gyrus (FG) and for places in the parahippocampal place area (PPA) were identified individually in children, adolescents, and adults. Then, using an functional magnetic resonance imaging adaptation paradigm, we measured category selectivity and individual-level adaptation for faces and houses in each ROI. Only adults exhibited both category selectivity and individual-level adaptation bilaterally for faces in the FG and for houses in the PPA. Adolescents showed category selectivity bilaterally for faces in the FG and houses in the PPA. Despite this profile of category selectivity, adolescents only exhibited individual-level adaptation for houses bilaterally in the PPA and for faces in the “left” FG. Children only showed category-selective responses for houses in the PPA, and they failed to exhibit category-selective responses for faces in the FG and individual-level adaptation effects anywhere in the brain. These results indicate that category-level neural tuning develops prior to individual-level neural tuning and that face-related cortex is disproportionately slower in this developmental transition than is place-related cortex. PMID:21257673

  9. Proteome map of the neural complex of the tunicate Ciona intestinalis, the closest living relative to vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Saxena, Sandeep; Dupont, Sam; Meghah, Vuppalapaty; Lakshmi, Mula G Meena; Singh, Sachin K; Swamy, Cherukuvada V Brahmendra; Idris, Mohammed M

    2013-03-01

    Ciona intestinalis (the common sea squirt) is the closest living chordate relative to vertebrates with cosmopolitan presence worldwide. It has a relatively simple nervous system and development, making it a widely studied alternative model system in neuroscience and developmental biology. The use of Ciona as a model organism has increased significantly after the draft genome was published. In this study, we describe the first proteome map of the neural complex of C. intestinalis. A total of 544 proteins were identified based on 1DE and 2DE FTMS/ITMSMS analyses. Proteins were annotated against the Ciona database and analyzed to predict their molecular functions, roles in biological processes, and position in constructed network pathways. The identified Ciona neural complex proteome was found to map onto vertebrate nervous system pathways, including cytoskeleton remodeling neurofilaments, cell adhesion through the histamine receptor signaling pathway, γ-aminobutyric acid-A receptor life cycle neurophysiological process, glycolysis, and amino acid metabolism. The proteome map of the Ciona neural complex is the first step toward a better understanding of several important processes, including the evolution and regeneration capacity of the Ciona nervous system. PMID:23300126

  10. Tracking real-time neural activation of conceptual knowledge using single-trial event-related potentials.

    PubMed

    Amsel, Ben D

    2011-04-01

    Empirically derived semantic feature norms categorized into different types of knowledge (e.g., visual, functional, auditory) can be summed to create number-of-feature counts per knowledge type. Initial evidence suggests several such knowledge types may be recruited during language comprehension. The present study provides a more detailed understanding of the timecourse and intensity of influence of several such knowledge types on real-time neural activity. A linear mixed-effects model was applied to single trial event-related potentials for 207 visually presented concrete words measured on total number of features (semantic richness), imageability, and number of visual motion, color, visual form, smell, taste, sound, and function features. Significant influences of multiple feature types occurred before 200ms, suggesting parallel neural computation of word form and conceptual knowledge during language comprehension. Function and visual motion features most prominently influenced neural activity, underscoring the importance of action-related knowledge in computing word meaning. The dynamic time courses and topographies of these effects are most consistent with a flexible conceptual system wherein temporally dynamic recruitment of representations in modal and supramodal cortex are a crucial element of the constellation of processes constituting word meaning computation in the brain. PMID:21219919

  11. Modulation of the default-mode network and the attentional network by self-referential processes in patients with disorder of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Mäki-Marttunen, Verónica; Castro, Mariana; Olmos, Lisandro; Leiguarda, Ramón; Villarreal, Mirta

    2016-02-01

    Disorders of consciousness (DOC) are related to an altered capacity of the brain to successfully integrate and segregate information. Alterations in brain functional networks structure have been found in fMRI studies, which could account for the incapability of the brain to efficiently manage internally and externally generated information. Here we assess the modulation of neural activity in areas of the networks related to active introspective or extrospective processing in 9 patients with DOC and 17 controls using fMRI. In addition, we assess the functional connectivity between those areas in resting state. Patients were experimentally studied in an early phase after the event of brain injury (3±1 months after the event) and subsequently in a second session 4±1 months after the first session. The results showed that the concerted modulation of the default mode network (DMN) and attentional network (AN) in response to the active involvement in the task improved with the level of consciousness, reflecting an integral recovery of the brain in its ability to be engaged in cognitive processes. In addition, functional connectivity decreased between the DMN and AN with recovery. Our results help to further understand the neural underpins of the disorders of consciousness. PMID:26796715

  12. Conscious and Non-conscious Representations of Emotional Faces in Asperger's Syndrome.

    PubMed

    Chien, Vincent S C; Tsai, Arthur C; Yang, Han Hsuan; Tseng, Yi-Li; Savostyanov, Alexander N; Liou, Michelle

    2016-01-01

    Several neuroimaging studies have suggested that the low spatial frequency content in an emotional face mainly activates the amygdala, pulvinar, and superior colliculus especially with fearful faces(1-3). These regions constitute the limbic structure in non-conscious perception of emotions and modulate cortical activity either directly or indirectly(2). In contrast, the conscious representation of emotions is more pronounced in the anterior cingulate, prefrontal cortex, and somatosensory cortex for directing voluntary attention to details in faces(3,4). Asperger's syndrome (AS)(5,6) represents an atypical mental disturbance that affects sensory, affective and communicative abilities, without interfering with normal linguistic skills and intellectual ability. Several studies have found that functional deficits in the neural circuitry important for facial emotion recognition can partly explain social communication failure in patients with AS(7-9). In order to clarify the interplay between conscious and non-conscious representations of emotional faces in AS, an EEG experimental protocol is designed with two tasks involving emotionality evaluation of either photograph or line-drawing faces. A pilot study is introduced for selecting face stimuli that minimize the differences in reaction times and scores assigned to facial emotions between the pretested patients with AS and IQ/gender-matched healthy controls. Information from the pretested patients was used to develop the scoring system used for the emotionality evaluation. Research into facial emotions and visual stimuli with different spatial frequency contents has reached discrepant findings depending on the demographic characteristics of participants and task demands(2). The experimental protocol is intended to clarify deficits in patients with AS in processing emotional faces when compared with healthy controls by controlling for factors unrelated to recognition of facial emotions, such as task difficulty, IQ and

  13. A Heuristic Model of Consciousness with Applications to the Development of Science and Society

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Curreri, Peter A.

    2010-01-01

    A working model of consciousness is fundamental to understanding of the interactions of the observer in science. This paper examines contemporary understanding of consciousness. A heuristic model of consciousness is suggested that is consistent with psycophysics measurements of bandwidth of consciousness relative to unconscious perception. While the self reference nature of consciousness confers a survival benefit by assuring the all points of view regarding a problem are experienced in sufficiently large population, conscious bandwidth is constrained by design to avoid chaotic behavior. The multiple hypotheses provided by conscious reflection enable the rapid progression of science and technology. The questions of free will and the problem of attention are discussed in relation to the model. Finally the combination of rapid technology growth with the assurance of many unpredictable points of view is considered in respect to contemporary constraints to the development of society.

  14. The relation between finger gnosis and mathematical ability: why redeployment of neural circuits best explains the finding

    PubMed Central

    Penner-Wilger, Marcie; Anderson, Michael L.

    2013-01-01

    This paper elaborates a novel hypothesis regarding the observed predictive relation between finger gnosis and mathematical ability. In brief, we suggest that these two cognitive phenomena have overlapping neural substrates, as the result of the re-use (“redeployment”) of part of the finger gnosis circuit for the purpose of representing numbers. We offer some background on the relation and current explanations for it; an outline of our alternate hypothesis; some evidence supporting redeployment over current views; and a plan for further research. PMID:24367341

  15. There Are Conscious and Unconscious Agendas in the Brain and Both Are Important—Our Will Can Be Conscious as Well as Unconscious

    PubMed Central

    Deecke, Lüder

    2012-01-01

    I have been asked to write a few words on consciousness in this editorial issue. My thoughts on consciousness will focus on the relation between consciousness and will. Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon as some people believe—it is not a psychological construct either. Consciousness is a brain function. With deeper thought it is even more than that—a brain state. Writing this, I am in a conscious state, I hope at least. In every day philosophy, a close connection of consciousness with will is ventured, and is expressed in the term “conscious free will”. However, this does not mean that our will is totally determined and not free, be it conscious or unconscious. Total determinists postulate total freedom from nature in order to speak of free will. Absolute freedom from nature is an a priori impossibility; there is no way to escape from nature. However, we have relative freedom, graded freedom, freedom in degrees, enabling us to make responsible decisions and be captains of our own destiny. We are not totally determined. We can upregulate our degrees of freedom by self-management or we can downregulate them by self-mismanagement. In the present communication consciousness and the unconscious are discussed in their various aspects and interactions. PMID:24961200

  16. Functionally integrated neural processing of linguistic and talker information: An event-related fMRI and ERP study.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Caicai; Pugh, Kenneth R; Mencl, W Einar; Molfese, Peter J; Frost, Stephen J; Magnuson, James S; Peng, Gang; Wang, William S-Y

    2016-01-01

    Speech signals contain information of both linguistic content and a talker's voice. Conventionally, linguistic and talker processing are thought to be mediated by distinct neural systems in the left and right hemispheres respectively, but there is growing evidence that linguistic and talker processing interact in many ways. Previous studies suggest that talker-related vocal tract changes are processed integrally with phonetic changes in the bilateral posterior superior temporal gyrus/superior temporal sulcus (STG/STS), because the vocal tract parameter influences the perception of phonetic information. It is yet unclear whether the bilateral STG is also activated by the integral processing of another parameter - pitch, which influences the perception of lexical tone information and is related to talker differences in tone languages. In this study, we conducted separate functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related potential (ERP) experiments to examine the spatial and temporal loci of interactions of lexical tone and talker-related pitch processing in Cantonese. We found that the STG was activated bilaterally during the processing of talker changes when listeners attended to lexical tone changes in the stimuli and during the processing of lexical tone changes when listeners attended to talker changes, suggesting that lexical tone and talker processing are functionally integrated in the bilateral STG. It extends the previous study, providing evidence for a general neural mechanism of integral phonetic and talker processing in the bilateral STG. The ERP results show interactions of lexical tone and talker processing 500-800ms after auditory word onset (a simultaneous posterior P3b and a frontal negativity). Moreover, there is some asymmetry in the interaction, such that unattended talker changes affect linguistic processing more than vice versa, which may be related to the ambiguity that talker changes cause in speech perception and/or attention bias

  17. Fgf8-Related Secondary Organizers Exert Different Polarizing Planar Instructions along the Mouse Anterior Neural Tube

    PubMed Central

    Crespo-Enriquez, Ivan; Partanen, Juha; Martinez, Salvador; Echevarria, Diego

    2012-01-01

    Early brain patterning depends on proper arrangement of positional information. This information is given by gradients of secreted signaling molecules (morphogens) detected by individual cells within the responding tissue, leading to specific fate decisions. Here we report that the morphogen FGF8 exerts initially a differential signal activity along the E9.5 mouse neural tube. We demonstrate that this polarizing activity codes by RAS-regulated ERK1/2 signaling and depends on the topographical location of the secondary organizers: the isthmic organizer (IsO) and the anterior neural ridge (anr) but not on zona limitans intrathalamica (zli). Our results suggest that Sprouty2, a negative modulator of RAS/ERK pathway, is important for regulating Fgf8 morphogenetic signal activity by controlling Fgf8-induced signaling pathways and positional information during early brain development. PMID:22792203

  18. Zinc-deficient sprouting blight potatoes and their possible relation with neural tube defects.

    PubMed

    Ulman, Cevval; Taneli, Fatma; Oksel, Figen; Hakerlerler, Huseyin

    2005-01-01

    Maternal nutritional zinc deficiency is blamed in the pathogenesis of neural tube defects. In animal and plant domains zinc is required for growth and development. The objective of the present study was to show that sprouting blighted potato tuber is zinc deficient. In five potato varieties, zinc was measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in wet-ashed paired slices of edible potato tuber and in its peel, in blighted potato tuber and in its sprout. Zinc contents were measured as the mean (+/- SEM) and the following values were found, 0.388 +/- 0.036, 0.623 +/- 0.059, 0.550 +/- 0.030 and 1.089 +/- 0.181 mg per 100 g wet weight, respectively. In conclusion, we believe that long-term consumption of zinc-depleted, blight potato tuber by pregnant woman could be potentially teratogenic with the consequent birth of a baby with neural tube defects. PMID:15376231

  19. Neuroimaging in aphasia treatment research: Issues of experimental design for relating cognitive to neural changes

    PubMed Central

    Rapp, Brenda; Caplan, David; Edwards, Susan; Visch-Brink, Evy; Thompson, Cynthia K.

    2012-01-01

    The design of functional neuroimaging studies investigating the neural changes that support treatment-based recovery of targeted language functions in acquired aphasia faces a number of challenges. In this paper, we discuss these challenges and focus on experimental tasks and experimental designs that can be used to address the challenges, facilitate the interpretation of results and promote integration of findings across studies. PMID:22974976

  20. The Effects of Explicit Feedback and Form--Meaning Processing on the Development of Pragmatic Proficiency in Consciousness-Raising Tasks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Takimoto, Masahiro

    2006-01-01

    The present study evaluates the relative effectiveness of two types of input-based instruction, consciousness-raising instruction (the consciousness-raising task only) and consciousness-raising instruction with feedback (the consciousness-raising task + reactive explicit feedback) for teaching English polite requestive forms, involving 45 Japanese…

  1. Relating functional connectivity in V1 neural circuits and 3D natural scenes using Boltzmann machines.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yimeng; Li, Xiong; Samonds, Jason M; Lee, Tai Sing

    2016-03-01

    Bayesian theory has provided a compelling conceptualization for perceptual inference in the brain. Central to Bayesian inference is the notion of statistical priors. To understand the neural mechanisms of Bayesian inference, we need to understand the neural representation of statistical regularities in the natural environment. In this paper, we investigated empirically how statistical regularities in natural 3D scenes are represented in the functional connectivity of disparity-tuned neurons in the primary visual cortex of primates. We applied a Boltzmann machine model to learn from 3D natural scenes, and found that the units in the model exhibited cooperative and competitive interactions, forming a "disparity association field", analogous to the contour association field. The cooperative and competitive interactions in the disparity association field are consistent with constraints of computational models for stereo matching. In addition, we simulated neurophysiological experiments on the model, and found the results to be consistent with neurophysiological data in terms of the functional connectivity measurements between disparity-tuned neurons in the macaque primary visual cortex. These findings demonstrate that there is a relationship between the functional connectivity observed in the visual cortex and the statistics of natural scenes. They also suggest that the Boltzmann machine can be a viable model for conceptualizing computations in the visual cortex and, as such, can be used to predict neural circuits in the visual cortex from natural scene statistics. PMID:26712581

  2. Neural network approaches to tracer identification as related to PIV research

    SciTech Connect

    Seeley, C.H. Jr.

    1992-12-01

    Neural networks have become very powerful tools in many fields of interest. This thesis examines the application of neural networks to another rapidly growing field flow visualization. Flow visualization research is used to experimentally determine how fluids behave and to verify computational results obtained analytically. A form of flow visualization, particle image velocimetry (PIV). determines the flow movement by tracking neutrally buoyant particles suspended in the fluid. PIV research has begun to improve rapidly with the advent of digital imagers, which can quickly digitize an image into arrays of grey levels. These grey level arrays are analyzed to determine the location of the tracer particles. Once the particles positions have been determined across multiple image frames, it is possible to track their movements, and hence, the flow of the fluid. This thesis explores the potential of several different neural networks to identify the positions of the tracer particles. Among these networks are Backpropagation, Kohonen (counter-propagation), and Cellular. Each of these algorithms were employed in their basic form, and training and testing were performed on a synthetic grey level array. Modifications were then made to them in attempts to improve the results.

  3. Nicotinergic Modulation of Attention-Related Neural Activity Differentiates Polymorphisms of DRD2 and CHRNA4 Receptor Genes

    PubMed Central

    Breckel, Thomas P. K.; Giessing, Carsten; Gieseler, Anja; Reuter, Martin; Thiel, Christiane M.

    2015-01-01

    Cognitive and neuronal effects of nicotine show high interindividual variability. Recent findings indicate that genetic variations that affect the cholinergic and dopaminergic neurotransmitter system impact performance in cognitive tasks and effects of nicotine. The current pharmacogenetic functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study aimed to investigate epistasis effects of CHRNA4/DRD2 variations on behavioural and neural correlates of visuospatial attention after nicotine challenge using a data driven partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) approach. Fifty young healthy non-smokers were genotyped for CHRNA4 (rs1044396) and DRD2 (rs6277). They received either 7 mg transdermal nicotine or a matched placebo in a double blind within subject design prior to performing a cued target detection task with valid and invalid trials. On behavioural level, the strongest benefits of nicotine in invalid trials were observed in participants carrying both, the DRD2 T- and CHRNA4 C+ variant. Neurally, we were able to demonstrate that different DRD2/CHRNA4 groups can be decoded from the pattern of brain activity in invalid trials under nicotine. Neural substrates of interindividual variability were found in a network of attention-related brain regions comprising the pulvinar, the striatum, the middle and superior frontal gyri, the insula, the left precuneus, and the right middle temporal gyrus. Our findings suggest that polymorphisms in the CHRNA4 and DRD2 genes are a relevant source of individual variability in pharmacological studies with nicotine. PMID:26079805

  4. Neurodifferentiating potential of 8-prenylnaringenin and related compounds in neural precursor cells and correlation with estrogen-like activity.

    PubMed

    Urmann, Corinna; Oberbauer, Eleni; Couillard-Després, Sébastien; Aigner, Ludwig; Riepl, Herbert

    2015-03-01

    Neurodegenerative diseases are an increasing burden for our ageing societies; there is an as yet unmet need for the development of effective therapies. Neurogenesis, i.e., the generation of new neurons in the adult brain from neural stem cells, has received increasing attention since it offers the potential for endogenous brain repair and functional regeneration. Adult neurogenesis is partially under the control of sex hormones such as estradiol, and boosting neurogenesis with estradiol in animals correlates with cognitive improvement. 8-Prenylnaringenin imitates as highly potent phytoestrogen the effects of estradiol. Here, we studied the potential of 8-prenylnaringenin, 6-prenylnaringenin, and related compounds on differentiation induction in vitro using neural precursor cells transiently transfected with a doublecortin promoter luciferase construct, which was recently shown to indicate neuronal fate and differentiation. The flavanones 8-prenylnaringenin and 6-prenylnaringenin showed slight activity in this assay but significant activity by immunostaining. Although the estrogen-like activities of 8-prenylnaringenin and 6-prenylnaringenin are very different, the activity in differentiation induction is similar. Interestingly, also some prenylflavonoids with extended prenyl groups, e.g., a geranyl group, showed increased differentiation activity, while estrogen-like activity is decreased. This allows the conclusion that estrogen-like activity of prenylflavanones does not correlate directly with the activity of differentiation induction in neural precursor cells. PMID:25714726

  5. Physical, neural, and mental timing.

    PubMed

    van de Grind, Wim

    2002-06-01

    The conclusions drawn by Benjamin Libet from his work with colleagues on the timing of somatosensorial conscious experiences has met with a lot of praise and criticism. In this issue we find three examples of the latter. Here I attempt to place the divide between the two opponent camps in a broader perspective by analyzing the question of the relation between physical timing, neural timing, and experiential (mental) timing. The nervous system does a sophisticated job of recombining and recoding messages from the sensorial surfaces and if these processes are slighted in a theory, it might become necessary to postulate weird operations, including subjective back-referral. Neuroscientifically inspired theories are of necessity still based on guesses, extrapolations, and philosophically dubious manners of speech. They often assume some neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) as a part of the nervous system that transforms neural activity in reportable experiences. The majority of neuroscientists appear to assume that the NCC can compare and bind activity patterns only if they arrive simultaneously at the NCC. This leads to a search for synchrony or to theories in terms of the compensation of differences in neural delays (latencies). This is the main dimension of the Libet discussion. Examples from vision research, such as "temporal-binding-by-synchrony" and the "flash-lag" effect, are then used to illustrate these reasoning patterns in more detail. Alternatively one could assume symbolic representations of time and space (symbolic "tags") that are not coded in their own dimension (not time in time and space in space). Unless such tags are multiplexed with the quality message (tickle, color, or motion), one gets a binding problem for tags. One of the hidden aspects of the discussion between Libet and opponents appears to be the following. Is the NCC smarter than the rest of the nervous system, so that it can solve the problems of local sign (e.g., "where is the event

  6. Photons, clocks, and consciousness

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brainard, George C.; Hanifin, John P.

    2005-01-01

    Light profoundly impacts human consciousness through the stimulation of the visual system and powerfully regulates the human circadian system, which, in turn, has a broad regulatory impact on virtually all tissues in the body. For more than 25 years, the techniques of action spectroscopy have yielded insights into the wavelength sensitivity of circadian input in humans and other mammalian species. The seminal discovery of melanopsin, the photopigment in intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, has provided a significant turning point for understanding human circadian phototransduction. Action spectra in humans show that the peak wavelength sensitivity for this newly discovered sensory system is within the blue portion of the spectrum. This is fundamentally different from the three-cone photopic visual system, as well as the individual rod and cone photoreceptor peaks. Studies on rodents, nonhuman primates, and humans indicate that despite having a different wavelength fingerprint, these classic visual photoreceptors still provide an element of input to the circadian system. These findings open the door to innovations in light therapy for circadian and affective disorders, as well as possible architectural light applications.

  7. Ethical consciousness in bioengineering.

    PubMed

    Satris, S

    1997-01-01

    The role of ordinary language in expressing personal views and attitudes is a familiar one. Ordinary language can express attitudes, social demands or expectations, and moral judgments. In all these cases ordinary language has what I call practical import. Even the use of ordinary language to provide characterizations of people and interpretations of social situations can express attitudes and can imply moral judgments. Practical import is to be contrasted with theoretical import, which is mainly focused on facts and beliefs about facts. In some ways a scientific and professional education threatens to eliminate the connections between language and personal attitudes and between language and moral judgments, especially insofar as science aspires to be "detached" and morally neutral. Scientific ways of thinking and speaking tend to overlook the practical import of language and to concentrate on theoretical import alone. Professional codes of ethics and principles of ethical conduct can be helpful in counteracting this. But the general statements of codes, if they are not to degenerate into empty tautologies and pious truisms, must be understood in terms of particular cases. Finally, a brief look at some recent contributions of linguistics shows again the importance of attention to particulars. Ethical consciousness, having begun to arise even before professional education, is fostered among professionals through the use of professional codes of ethics, especially when these are understood in terms of paradigms and specific cases rather than merely general principles. The code requires professionals to use their powers of ethical judgment, not to surrender them. PMID:9315430

  8. Consciousness and body image: lessons from phantom limbs, Capgras syndrome and pain asymbolia.

    PubMed Central

    Ramachandran, V S

    1998-01-01

    Words such as 'consciousness' and 'self' actually encompass a number of distinct phenomena that are loosely lumped together. The study of neurological syndromes allows us to explore the neural mechanisms that might underlie different aspects of self, such as body image and emotional responses to sensory stimuli, and perhaps even laughter and humour. Mapping the 'functional logic' of the many different attributes of human nature on to specific neural circuits in the brain offers the best hope of understanding how the activity of neurons gives rise to conscious experience. We consider three neurological syndromes (phantom limbs, Capgras delusion and pain asymbolia) to illustrate this idea. PMID:9854257

  9. Consciousness and body image: lessons from phantom limbs, Capgras syndrome and pain asymbolia.

    PubMed

    Ramachandran, V S

    1998-11-29

    Words such as 'consciousness' and 'self' actually encompass a number of distinct phenomena that are loosely lumped together. The study of neurological syndromes allows us to explore the neural mechanisms that might underlie different aspects of self, such as body image and emotional responses to sensory stimuli, and perhaps even laughter and humour. Mapping the 'functional logic' of the many different attributes of human nature on to specific neural circuits in the brain offers the best hope of understanding how the activity of neurons gives rise to conscious experience. We consider three neurological syndromes (phantom limbs, Capgras delusion and pain asymbolia) to illustrate this idea. PMID:9854257

  10. Conscious sedation for surgical procedures

    MedlinePlus

    Sherwood ER, Williams CG, Prough DS. Anesthesiology principles, pain management, and conscious sedation. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery . 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; ...

  11. Paradigms for environmentally conscious manufacturing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edinbarough, Immanuel A.; Wells, Wayne E.

    2004-12-01

    There are several stories involving the industries that pledge themselves for the environmentally conscious manufacturing practices. Paradigms for environmentally conscious manufacturing are associated with one of the aspects of environmental quality, protection, resource management, commitment or sustainability. The engineering rules of thumb that can easily be adopted by aspiring companies need identification. The underlying thread that unifies the efforts of environmentally conscious manufacturing companies, in offering the environmentally safe products to the world, is grouped and presented in the paper as paradigms for successful practices. The various ways in which a start up company, that wants to excel in environmentally conscious manufacturing, can position itself based on the paradigms is also discussed in the paper.

  12. Conscious sedation for surgical procedures

    MedlinePlus

    Anesthesia - conscious ... have, what medicines you are taking, and what anesthesia or sedation you have had before. You may ... M. Intravenous anesthetics. In: Miller RD, ed. Miller's Anesthesia . 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap ...

  13. Pure state consciousness and its local reduction to neuronal space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duggins, A. J.

    2013-01-01

    The single neuronal state can be represented as a vector in a complex space, spanned by an orthonormal basis of integer spike counts. In this model a scalar element of experience is associated with the instantaneous firing rate of a single sensory neuron over repeated stimulus presentations. Here the model is extended to composite neural systems that are tensor products of single neuronal vector spaces. Depiction of the mental state as a vector on this tensor product space is intended to capture the unity of consciousness. The density operator is introduced as its local reduction to the single neuron level, from which the firing rate can again be derived as the objective correlate of a subjective element. However, the relational structure of perceptual experience only emerges when the non-local mental state is considered. A metric of phenomenal proximity between neuronal elements of experience is proposed, based on the cross-correlation function of neurophysiology, but constrained by the association of theoretical extremes of correlation/anticorrelation in inseparable 2-neuron states with identical and opponent elements respectively.

  14. Infectious diseases and impaired consciousness.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Michael R; Roos, Karen L

    2011-11-01

    Any of a number of neuroinfectious diseases can cause a disorder of consciousness. The priority in the care of the patient is to identify an infectious disease that is treatable. This article examines disorders of consciousness that may be caused by a septic encephalopathy, bacterial meningoencephalitis, viral encephalitis, tick-borne bacterial disease, fungal meningitis, tuberculous meningitis, a focal infectious mass lesion, such as a brain abscess, or an autoimmune-mediated disorder as a complication of infection. PMID:22032667

  15. Social Consciousness, Education and Transformative Activity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pavlidis, Periklis

    2015-01-01

    This paper examines two aspects of social consciousness: consciousness in the sense of knowledge of the objective reality and consciousness in the sense of awareness of oneself as a subject in his/her social ties with other persons-subjects. In the light of such an approach to consciousness in this essay we discuss the importance of education and…

  16. Consciousness, Psychology, and Education: A Speculative Essay.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    1980

    This monograph explores implications of the psychology of consciousness for education. The psychology of consciousness encompasses the relationships among behavior, experience, and states of consciousness. It is interpreted to include different states of consciousness, paranormal phenomena, mystical experiences, dreams, psychic healing, and other…

  17. Organization of the sleep-related neural systems in the brain of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata).

    PubMed

    Dell, Leigh-Anne; Karlsson, Karl Ae; Patzke, Nina; Spocter, Muhammad A; Siegel, Jerome M; Manger, Paul R

    2016-07-01

    The current study analyzed the nuclear organization of the neural systems related to the control and regulation of sleep and wake in the basal forebrain, diencephalon, midbrain, and pons of the minke whale, a mysticete cetacean. While odontocete cetaceans sleep in an unusual manner, with unihemispheric slow wave sleep (USWS) and suppressed REM sleep, it is unclear whether the mysticete whales show a similar sleep pattern. Previously, we detailed a range of features in the odontocete brain that appear to be related to odontocete-type sleep, and here present our analysis of these features in the minke whale brain. All neural elements involved in sleep regulation and control found in bihemispheric sleeping mammals and the harbor porpoise were present in the minke whale, with no specific nuclei being absent, and no novel nuclei being present. This qualitative similarity relates to the cholinergic, noradrenergic, serotonergic and orexinergic systems, and the GABAergic elements of these nuclei. Quantitative analysis revealed that the numbers of pontine cholinergic (274,242) and noradrenergic (203,686) neurons, and hypothalamic orexinergic neurons (277,604), are markedly higher than other large-brained bihemispheric sleeping mammals. Small telencephalic commissures (anterior, corpus callosum, and hippocampal), an enlarged posterior commissure, supernumerary pontine cholinergic and noradrenergic cells, and an enlarged peripheral division of the dorsal raphe nuclear complex of the minke whale, all indicate that the suite of neural characteristics thought to be involved in the control of USWS and the suppression of REM in the odontocete cetaceans are present in the minke whale. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:2018-2035, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26588800

  18. One of the most well-established age-related changes in neural activity disappears after controlling for visual acuity.

    PubMed

    Porto, Fábio H G; Tusch, Erich S; Fox, Anne M; Alperin, Brittany R; Holcomb, Phillip J; Daffner, Kirk R

    2016-04-15

    Numerous studies using a variety of imaging techniques have reported age-related differences in neural activity while subjects carry out cognitive tasks. Surprisingly little attention has been paid to the potential impact of age-associated changes in sensory acuity on these findings. Studies in the visual modality frequently report that their subjects had "normal or corrected- to-normal vision." However, in most cases, there is no indication that visual acuity was actually measured, and it is likely that the investigators relied largely on self-reported visual status of subjects, which is often inaccurate. We investigated whether differences in visual acuity influence one of the most commonly observed findings in the event-related potentials literature on cognitive aging, a reduction in posterior P3b amplitude, which is an index of cognitive decision-making/updating. Well-matched young (n=26) and old adults (n=29) participated in a visual oddball task. Measured visual acuity with corrective lenses was worse in old than young adults. Results demonstrated that the robust age-related decline in P3b amplitude to visual targets disappeared after controlling for visual acuity, but was unaffected by accounting for auditory acuity. Path analysis confirmed that the relationship between age and diminished P3b to visual targets was mediated by visual acuity, suggesting that conveyance of suboptimal sensory data due to peripheral, rather than central, deficits may undermine subsequent neural processing. We conclude that until the relationship between age-associated differences in visual acuity and neural activity during experimental tasks is clearly established, investigators should exercise caution attributing results to differences in cognitive processing. PMID:26825439

  19. Neuroontology, neurobiological naturalism, and consciousness: A challenge to scientific reduction and a solution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feinberg, Todd E.

    2012-03-01

    One of the great challenges to a science of consciousness is the inability to reduce critical features of consciousness to neural processes. In this paper I identify four neuroontologically irreducible features (NOIF) - referral of neural states, mental unity, qualia, and mental causation - defined as aspects of consciousness in which subjective experience is not wholly reducible to objectively observed or objectively understood neurons (ontological subjectivity). I next analyze the emergent and unique system properties of the neural hierarchy and argue that while the NOIF are indeed ontologically subjective, each of the NOIF individually can be explained by the unique architecture and functional properties of the neural hierarchy that lead to both emergent properties and their irreducibility in a manner that does not violate any known physical laws nor require any new physics or the application of physics to emergence or reduction beyond that normally applied to biology in general. I conclude that consciousness is a neurobiologically unique and local phenomenon that is specific to particular neural systems, a view that is consistent with both ontological subjectivity and biological naturalism. I call this position weakly emergent nonreductive physicalism or neurobiological naturalism.

  20. Neuroontology, neurobiological naturalism, and consciousness: a challenge to scientific reduction and a solution.

    PubMed

    Feinberg, Todd E

    2012-03-01

    One of the great challenges to a science of consciousness is the inability to reduce critical features of consciousness to neural processes. In this paper I identify four neuroontologically irreducible features (NOIF) - referral of neural states, mental unity, qualia, and mental causation - defined as aspects of consciousness in which subjective experience is not wholly reducible to objectively observed or objectively understood neurons (ontological subjectivity). I next analyze the emergent and unique system properties of the neural hierarchy and argue that while the NOIF are indeed ontologically subjective, each of the NOIF individually can be explained by the unique architecture and functional properties of the neural hierarchy that lead to both emergent properties and their irreducibility in a manner that does not violate any known physical laws nor require any new physics or the application of physics to emergence or reduction beyond that normally applied to biology in general. I conclude that consciousness is a neurobiologically unique and local phenomenon that is specific to particular neural systems, a view that is consistent with both ontological subjectivity and biological naturalism. I call this position weakly emergent nonreductive physicalism or neurobiological naturalism. PMID:22056393

  1. Role of right pregenual anterior cingulate cortex in self-conscious emotional reactivity

    PubMed Central

    Sollberger, Marc; Seeley, William W.; Rankin, Katherine P.; Ascher, Elizabeth A.; Rosen, Howard J.; Miller, Bruce L.; Levenson, Robert W.

    2013-01-01

    Self-conscious emotions such as embarrassment arise when one’s actions fail to meet salient social expectations and are accompanied by marked physiological and behavioral activation. We investigated the neural correlates of self-conscious emotional reactivity in 27 patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), a neurodegenerative disease that disrupts self-conscious emotion and targets brain regions critical for emotional functioning early in the disease course, and in 33 healthy older controls. Subjects participated in an embarrassing karaoke task in which they watched a video clip of themselves singing. They also watched a sad film clip; these data were used to control for non-self-conscious emotional reactivity in response to audiovisual stimuli. Using Freesurfer to quantify regional brain volumes from structural magnetic resonance imaging, right pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC) gray matter volume was the only brain region that was a significant predictor of self-conscious emotion. Smaller pACC volume was associated with attenuated physiological and behavioral self-conscious emotional reactivity, and this relationship was not specific to diagnosis. We argue that these results reflect the significant role that right pACC plays in the visceromotor responding that accompanies self-conscious emotion and that neurodegeneration in this region may underlie the self-conscious emotional decline seen in bvFTD. PMID:22345371

  2. Integrating Events Across Levels of Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Henke, Katharina; Reber, Thomas P.; Duss, Simone B.

    2013-01-01

    Our knowledge grows as we integrate events experienced at different points in time. We may or may not become aware of events, their integration, and their impact on our knowledge and decisions. But can we mentally integrate two events, if they are experienced at different time points and at different levels of consciousness? In this study, an event consisted of the presentation of two unrelated words. In the stream of events, half of events shared one component (“tree desk” … “desk fish”) to facilitate event integration. We manipulated the amount of time and trials that separated two corresponding events. The contents of one event were presented subliminally (invisible) and the contents of the corresponding overlapping event supraliminally (visible). Hence, event integration required the binding of contents between consciousness levels and between time points. At the final test of integration, participants judged whether two supraliminal test words (“tree fish”) fit together semantically or not. Unbeknown to participants, half of test words were episodically related through an overlap (“desk”; experimental condition) and half were not (control condition). Participants judged episodically related test words to be closer semantically than unrelated test words. This subjective decrease in the semantic distance between test words was both independent of whether the invisible event was encoded first or second in order and independent of the number of trials and the time that separated two corresponding events. Hence, conscious and unconscious memories were mentally integrated into a linked mnemonic representation. PMID:23785318

  3. Neural tube defects – disorders of neurulation and related embryonic processes

    PubMed Central

    Copp, Andrew J.; Greene, Nicholas D. E.

    2014-01-01

    Neural tube defects (NTDs) are severe congenital malformations affecting 1 in every 1000 pregnancies. ‘Open’ NTDs result from failure of primary neurulation as seen in anencephaly, myelomeningocele (open spina bifida) and craniorachischisis. Degeneration of the persistently open neural tube in utero leads to loss of neurological function below the lesion level. ‘Closed’ NTDs are skin-covered disorders of spinal cord structure, ranging from asymptomatic spina bifida occulta to severe spinal cord tethering, and usually traceable to disruption of secondary neurulation. ‘Herniation’ NTDs are those in which meninges, with or without brain or spinal cord tissue, become exteriorised through a pathological opening in the skull or vertebral column (e.g. encephalocele and meningocele). NTDs have multifactorial etiology, with genes and environmental factors interacting to determine individual risk of malformation. While over 200 mutant genes cause open NTDs in mice, much less is known about the genetic causation of human NTDs. Recent evidence has implicated genes of the planar cell polarity signalling pathway in a proportion of cases. The embryonic development of NTDs is complex, with diverse cellular and molecular mechanisms operating at different levels of the body axis. Molecular regulatory events include the BMP and Sonic hedgehog pathways which have been implicated in control of neural plate bending. Primary prevention of NTDs has been implemented clinically following the demonstration that folic acid, when taken as a peri-conceptional supplement, can prevent many cases. Not all NTDs respond to folic acid, however, and adjunct therapies are required for prevention of this folic acid-resistant category. PMID:24009034

  4. Individual differences in attentional bias associated with cocaine dependence are related to varying engagement of neural processing networks.

    PubMed

    Kilts, Clint D; Kennedy, Ashley; Elton, Amanda L; Tripathi, Shanti Prakash; Young, Jonathan; Cisler, Josh M; James, G Andrew

    2014-04-01

    Cocaine and other drug dependencies are associated with significant attentional bias for drug use stimuli that represents a candidate cognitive marker of drug dependence and treatment outcomes. We explored, using fMRI, the role of discrete neural processing networks in the representation of individual differences in the drug attentional bias effect associated with cocaine dependence (AB-coc) using a word counting Stroop task with personalized cocaine use stimuli (cocStroop). The cocStroop behavioral and neural responses were further compared with those associated with a negative emotional word Stroop task (eStroop) and a neutral word counting Stroop task (cStroop). Brain-behavior correlations were explored using both network-level correlation analysis following independent component analysis (ICA) and voxel-level, brain-wide univariate correlation analysis. Variation in the attentional bias effect for cocaine use stimuli among cocaine-dependent men and women was related to the recruitment of two separate neural processing networks related to stimulus attention and salience attribution (inferior frontal-parietal-ventral insula), and the processing of the negative affective properties of cocaine stimuli (frontal-temporal-cingulate). Recruitment of a sensory-motor-dorsal insula network was negatively correlated with AB-coc and suggested a regulatory role related to the sensorimotor processing of cocaine stimuli. The attentional bias effect for cocaine stimuli and for negative affective word stimuli were significantly correlated across individuals, and both were correlated with the activity of the frontal-temporal-cingulate network. Functional connectivity for a single prefrontal-striatal-occipital network correlated with variation in general cognitive control (cStroop) that was unrelated to behavioral or neural network correlates of cocStroop- or eStroop-related attentional bias. A brain-wide mass univariate analysis demonstrated the significant correlation of

  5. Individual Differences in Attentional Bias Associated with Cocaine Dependence Are Related to Varying Engagement of Neural Processing Networks

    PubMed Central

    Kilts, Clint D; Kennedy, Ashley; Elton, Amanda L; Tripathi, Shanti Prakash; Young, Jonathan; Cisler, Josh M; James, G Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Cocaine and other drug dependencies are associated with significant attentional bias for drug use stimuli that represents a candidate cognitive marker of drug dependence and treatment outcomes. We explored, using fMRI, the role of discrete neural processing networks in the representation of individual differences in the drug attentional bias effect associated with cocaine dependence (AB-coc) using a word counting Stroop task with personalized cocaine use stimuli (cocStroop). The cocStroop behavioral and neural responses were further compared with those associated with a negative emotional word Stroop task (eStroop) and a neutral word counting Stroop task (cStroop). Brain–behavior correlations were explored using both network-level correlation analysis following independent component analysis (ICA) and voxel-level, brain-wide univariate correlation analysis. Variation in the attentional bias effect for cocaine use stimuli among cocaine-dependent men and women was related to the recruitment of two separate neural processing networks related to stimulus attention and salience attribution (inferior frontal–parietal–ventral insula), and the processing of the negative affective properties of cocaine stimuli (frontal–temporal–cingulate). Recruitment of a sensory–motor–dorsal insula network was negatively correlated with AB-coc and suggested a regulatory role related to the sensorimotor processing of cocaine stimuli. The attentional bias effect for cocaine stimuli and for negative affective word stimuli were significantly correlated across individuals, and both were correlated with the activity of the frontal–temporal–cingulate network. Functional connectivity for a single prefrontal–striatal–occipital network correlated with variation in general cognitive control (cStroop) that was unrelated to behavioral or neural network correlates of cocStroop- or eStroop-related attentional bias. A brain-wide mass univariate analysis demonstrated the significant

  6. Consciousness of Unification: The Mind-Matter Phallacy Bites the Dust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beichler, James E.

    A complete theoretical model of how consciousness arises in neural nets can be developed based on a mixed quantum/classical basis. Both mind and consciousness are multi-leveled scalar and vector electromagnetic complexity patterns, respectively, which emerge within all living organisms through the process of evolution. Like life, the mind and consciousness patterns extend throughout living organisms (bodies), but the neural nets and higher level groupings that distinguish higher levels of consciousness only exist in the brain so mind and consciousness have been traditionally associated with the brain alone. A close study of neurons and neural nets in the brain shows that the microtubules within axons are classical bio-magnetic inductors that emit and absorb electromagnetic pulses from each other. These pulses establish interference patterns that influence the quantized vector potential patterns of interstitial water molecules within the neurons as well as create the coherence within neurons and neural nets that scientists normally associate with more complex memories, thought processes and streams of thought. Memory storage and recall are guided by the microtubules and the actual memory patterns are stored as magnetic vector potential complexity patterns in the points of space at the quantum level occupied by the water molecules. This model also accounts for the plasticity of the brain and implies that mind and consciousness, like life itself, are the result of evolutionary processes. However, consciousness can evolve independent of an organism's birth genetics once it has evolved by normal bottom-up genetic processes and thus force a new type of top-down evolution on living organisms and species as a whole that can be explained by expanding the laws of thermodynamics to include orderly systems.

  7. The neural network for tool-related cognition: An activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis of 70 neuroimaging contrasts

    PubMed Central

    Ishibashi, Ryo; Pobric, Gorana; Saito, Satoru; Lambon Ralph, Matthew A.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The ability to recognize and use a variety of tools is an intriguing human cognitive function. Multiple neuroimaging studies have investigated neural activations with various types of tool-related tasks. In the present paper, we reviewed tool-related neural activations reported in 70 contrasts from 56 neuroimaging studies and performed a series of activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analyses to identify tool-related cortical circuits dedicated either to general tool knowledge or to task-specific processes. The results indicate the following: (a) Common, task-general processing regions for tools are located in the left inferior parietal lobule (IPL) and ventral premotor cortex; and (b) task-specific regions are located in superior parietal lobule (SPL) and dorsal premotor area for imagining/executing actions with tools and in bilateral occipito-temporal cortex for recognizing/naming tools. The roles of these regions in task-general and task-specific activities are discussed with reference to evidence from neuropsychology, experimental psychology and other neuroimaging studies. PMID:27362967

  8. Towards the routine use of brain imaging to aid the clinical diagnosis of disorders of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Coleman, M R; Davis, M H; Rodd, J M; Robson, T; Ali, A; Owen, A M; Pickard, J D

    2009-09-01

    Clinical audits have highlighted the many challenges and dilemmas faced by clinicians assessing persons with disorders of consciousness (vegetative state and minimally conscious state). The diagnostic decision-making process is highly subjective, dependent upon the skills of the examiner and invariably dictated by the patients' ability to move or speak. Whilst a considerable amount has been learnt since Jennett and Plum coined the term 'vegetative state', the assessment process remains largely unchanged; conducted at the bedside, using behavioural assessment tools, which are susceptible to environmental and physiological factors. This has created a situation where the rate of misdiagnosis is unacceptably high (up to 43%). In order to address these problems, various functional brain imaging paradigms, which do not rely upon the patient's ability to move or speak, have been proposed as a source of additional information to inform the diagnostic decision making process. Although accumulated evidence from brain imaging, particularly functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), has been encouraging, the empirical evidence is still based on relatively small numbers of patients. It remains unclear whether brain imaging is capable of informing the diagnosis beyond the behavioural assessment and whether brain imaging has any prognostic utility. In this study, we describe the functional brain imaging findings from a group of 41 patients with disorders of consciousness, who undertook a hierarchical speech processing task. We found, contrary to the clinical impression of a specialist team using behavioural assessment tools, that two patients referred to the study with a diagnosis of vegetative state did in fact demonstrate neural correlates of speech comprehension when assessed using functional brain imaging. These fMRI findings were found to have no association with the patient's behavioural presentation at the time of investigation and thus provided additional diagnostic

  9. Paradox in AI - AI 2.0: The Way to Machine Consciousness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palensky, Peter; Bruckner, Dietmar; Tmej, Anna; Deutsch, Tobias

    Artificial Intelligence, the big promise of the last millennium, has apparently made its way into our daily lives. Cell phones with speech control, evolutionary computing in data mining or power grids, optimized via neural network, show its applicability in industrial environments. The original expectation of true intelligence and thinking machines lies still ahead of us. Researchers are, however, optimistic as never before. This paper tries to compare the views, challenges and approaches of several disciplines: engineering, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy. It gives a short introduction to Psychoanalysis, discusses the term consciousness, social implications of intelligent machines, related theories, and expectations and shall serve as a starting point for first attempts of combining these diverse thoughts.

  10. Conscious vision for action versus unconscious vision for action?

    PubMed

    Brogaard, Berit

    2011-08-01

    David Milner and Melvyn Goodale's dissociation hypothesis is commonly taken to state that there are two functionally specialized cortical streams of visual processing originating in striate (V1) cortex: a dorsal, action-related "unconscious" stream and a ventral, perception-related "conscious" stream. As Milner and Goodale acknowledge, findings from blindsight studies suggest a more sophisticated picture that replaces the distinction between unconscious vision for action and conscious vision for perception with a tripartite division between unconscious vision for action, conscious vision for perception, and unconscious vision for perception. The combination excluded by the tripartite division is the possibility of conscious vision for action. But are there good grounds for concluding that there is no conscious vision for action? There is now overwhelming evidence that illusions and perceived size can have a significant effect on action (Bruno & Franz, 2009; Dassonville & Bala, 2004; Franz & Gegenfurtner, 2008; McIntosh & Lashley, 2008). There is also suggestive evidence that any sophisticated visual behavior requires collaboration between the two visual streams at every stage of the process (Schenk & McIntosh, 2010). I nonetheless want to make a case for the tripartite division between unconscious vision for action, conscious vision for perception, and unconscious vision for perception. My aim here is not to refute the evidence showing that conscious vision can affect action but rather to argue (a) that we cannot gain cognitive access to action-guiding dorsal stream representations, and (b) that these representations do not correlate with phenomenal consciousness. This vindicates the semi-conservative view that the dissociation hypothesis is best understood as a tripartite division. PMID:21790744

  11. Dissociation of Neural Networks for Predisposition and for Training-Related Plasticity in Auditory-Motor Learning.

    PubMed

    Herholz, Sibylle C; Coffey, Emily B J; Pantev, Christo; Zatorre, Robert J

    2016-07-01

    Skill learning results in changes to brain function, but at the same time individuals strongly differ in their abilities to learn specific skills. Using a 6-week piano-training protocol and pre- and post-fMRI of melody perception and imagery in adults, we dissociate learning-related patterns of neural activity from pre-training activity that predicts learning rates. Fronto-parietal and cerebellar areas related to storage of newly learned auditory-motor associations increased their response following training; in contrast, pre-training activity in areas related to stimulus encoding and motor control, including right auditory cortex, hippocampus, and caudate nuclei, was predictive of subsequent learning rate. We discuss the implications of these results for models of perceptual and of motor learning. These findings highlight the importance of considering individual predisposition in plasticity research and applications. PMID:26139842

  12. Bilateral dorsolateral thalamic lesions disrupts conscious recollection.

    PubMed

    Edelstyn, Nicola M J; Hunter, Ben; Ellis, Simon J

    2006-01-01

    In an earlier study we disputed the claim that the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus is critical for familiarity. We reported patient (QX) who showed a severe deficit in conscious recollection, and behavioural problems (disinhibition, emotional lability) with relative sparing of familiarity-aware memory following a left mediodorsal thalamic lesion. More recent MR imaging has revealed that QX's lesions are more extensive than previously reported and involve both dorsolateral thalamic nuclei, and whilst there is evidence of left mediodorsal thalamic damage, it is not the main focus of damage. This paper reports a full analysis of QX's thalamic pathology alongside a more detailed investigation of his recognition memory, using yes/no and forced-choice procedures, and executive function. The results revealed impairments in yes/no recognition and conscious recollection rates of famous, artist and unknown names. In addition to the previously noted behavioural disinhibition and emotional lability, a deficit in spontaneous planning ability was evident on the Zoo Map Test (subtest of the Bahavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome). Forced-choice recognition, familiarity estimates and remote memory showed higher levels of preservation. The findings indicate that the dorsolateral thalamus is part of the extended hippocampal circuit which is causally critical only for recall and conscious recollection of complex associations rather than for the more automatic processes linked with novelty detection. PMID:16253293

  13. Brain death and disorders of consciousness.

    PubMed

    Schiff, Nicholas D; Fins, Joseph J

    2016-07-11

    While often confused by non-medical specialists, brain death and disorders of consciousness such as coma, vegetative state, and minimally conscious state are clearly distinct and unambiguously distinguishable. Moreover, biological models underpin each category uniquely and with increasing precision. In this Primer, we frame the distinctions across the different conditions, point to recent work that advances measurements able to identify their differences, and explain two inter-related paradoxes. The first paradox is the brain dead patient whose 'phenotype' betrays the ultimate futility and lack of sustainability of the state. The second paradox is that of patients who retain apparent higher levels of cognitive function but who may be misidentified as remaining in a vegetative state or one of the similar conditions formulated in the recently defined syndrome of cognitive motor dissociation. Building on emerging data and models underlying each of these brain states, we place recent controversies over the assessment of brain dead patients into a scientific and wider societal context. We conclude by placing brain death into a broader conceptual framework that takes account of emerging scientific knowledge about disorders of consciousness. PMID:27404252

  14. Tracking the recovery of consciousness from coma

    PubMed Central

    Laureys, Steven; Boly, Mélanie; Maquet, Pierre

    2006-01-01

    Predicting the chances of recovery of consciousness and communication in patients who survive their coma but transit in a vegetative state or minimally conscious state (MCS) remains a major challenge for their medical caregivers. Very few studies have examined the slow neuronal changes underlying functional recovery of consciousness from severe chronic brain damage. A case study in this issue of the JCI reports an extraordinary recovery of functional verbal communication and motor function in a patient who remained in MCS for 19 years (see the related article beginning on page 2005). Diffusion tensor MRI showed increased fractional anisotropy (assumed to reflect myelinated fiber density) in posteromedial cortices, encompassing cuneus and precuneus. These same areas showed increased glucose metabolism as studied by PET scanning, likely reflecting the neuronal regrowth paralleling the patient’s clinical recovery. This case shows that old dogmas need to be oppugned, as recovery with meaningful reduction in disability continued in this case for nearly 2 decades after extremely severe traumatic brain injury. PMID:16823480

  15. Neural Networks

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, Patrick I.

    2003-09-23

    Physicists use large detectors to measure particles created in high-energy collisions at particle accelerators. These detectors typically produce signals indicating either where ionization occurs along the path of the particle, or where energy is deposited by the particle. The data produced by these signals is fed into pattern recognition programs to try to identify what particles were produced, and to measure the energy and direction of these particles. Ideally, there are many techniques used in this pattern recognition software. One technique, neural networks, is particularly suitable for identifying what type of particle caused by a set of energy deposits. Neural networks can derive meaning from complicated or imprecise data, extract patterns, and detect trends that are too complex to be noticed by either humans or other computer related processes. To assist in the advancement of this technology, Physicists use a tool kit to experiment with several neural network techniques. The goal of this research is interface a neural network tool kit into Java Analysis Studio (JAS3), an application that allows data to be analyzed from any experiment. As the final result, a physicist will have the ability to train, test, and implement a neural network with the desired output while using JAS3 to analyze the results or output. Before an implementation of a neural network can take place, a firm understanding of what a neural network is and how it works is beneficial. A neural network is an artificial representation of the human brain that tries to simulate the learning process [5]. It is also important to think of the word artificial in that definition as computer programs that use calculations during the learning process. In short, a neural network learns by representative examples. Perhaps the easiest way to describe the way neural networks learn is to explain how the human brain functions. The human brain contains billions of neural cells that are responsible for processing

  16. What Explains Consciousness? Or…What Consciousness Explains?

    PubMed Central

    Dulany, Donelson E.

    2014-01-01

    In this invited commentary I focus on the topic addressed in three papers: De Sousa's (2013[1617]) Toward an Integrative Theory of Consciousness, a monograph with Parts 1 & 2, as well as commentaries by Pereira (2013a[59]) and Hirstein (2013[42]). All three are impressively scholarly and can stand—and shout—on their own. But theory of consciousness? My aim is to slice that topic into the two fundamentally different kinds of theories of consciousness, say what appears to be an ideology, out of behaviourism into cognitivism, now also influencing the quest for an “explanation of consciousness” in cognitive neuroscience. I will then say what can be expected given what we know of the complexity of brain structure, the richness of a conscious “vocabulary”, and current technological limits of brain imaging. This will then turn to the strategy for examining “what consciousness explains”—metatheory, theories, mappings, and a methodology of competitive support, a methodology especially important where there are competing commitments. There are also increasingly common identifications of methodological bias in, along with failures to replicate, studies reporting unconscious controls in decision, social priming—as there have been in perception, learning, problem solving, etc. The literature critique has provided evidence taken as reducing, and in some cases eliminating, a role for conscious controls—a position consistent with that ideology out of behaviourism into cognitivism. It is an ideological position that fails to recognize the fundamental distinction between theoretical and metaphysical assertions. PMID:24891796

  17. Consciousness: here, there and everywhere?

    PubMed

    Tononi, Giulio; Koch, Christof

    2015-05-19

    The science of consciousness has made great strides by focusing on the behavioural and neuronal correlates of experience. However, while such correlates are important for progress to occur, they are not enough if we are to understand even basic facts, for example, why the cerebral cortex gives rise to consciousness but the cerebellum does not, though it has even more neurons and appears to be just as complicated. Moreover, correlates are of little help in many instances where we would like to know if consciousness is present: patients with a few remaining islands of functioning cortex, preterm infants, non-mammalian species and machines that are rapidly outperforming people at driving, recognizing faces and objects, and answering difficult questions. To address these issues, we need not only more data but also a theory of consciousness-one that says what experience is and what type of physical systems can have it. Integrated information theory (IIT) does so by starting from experience itself via five phenomenological axioms: intrinsic existence, composition, information, integration and exclusion. From these it derives five postulates about the properties required of physical mechanisms to support consciousness. The theory provides a principled account of both the quantity and the quality of an individual experience (a quale), and a calculus to evaluate whether or not a particular physical system is conscious and of what. Moreover, IIT can explain a range of clinical and laboratory findings, makes a number of testable predictions and extrapolates to a number of problematic conditions. The theory holds that consciousness is a fundamental property possessed by physical systems having specific causal properties. It predicts that consciousness is graded, is common among biological organisms and can occur in some very simple systems. Conversely, it predicts that feed-forward networks, even complex ones, are not conscious, nor are aggregates such as groups of individuals

  18. Consciousness, biology and quantum hypotheses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baars, Bernard J.; Edelman, David B.

    2012-09-01

    Natural phenomena are reducible to quantum events in principle, but quantum mechanics does not always provide the best level of analysis. The many-body problem, chaotic avalanches, materials properties, biological organisms, and weather systems are better addressed at higher levels. Animals are highly organized, goal-directed, adaptive, selectionist, information-preserving, functionally redundant, multicellular, quasi-autonomous, highly mobile, reproducing, dissipative systems that conserve many fundamental features over remarkably long periods of time at the species level. Animal brains consist of massive, layered networks of specialized signaling cells with 10,000 communication points per cell, and interacting up to 1000 Hz. Neurons begin to divide and differentiate very early in gestation, and continue to develop until middle age. Waking brains operate far from thermodynamic equilibrium under delicate homeostatic control, making them extremely sensitive to a range of physical and chemical stimuli, highly adaptive, and able to produce a remarkable range of goal-relevant actions. Consciousness is “a difference that makes a difference” at the level of massive neuronal interactions in the most parallel-interactive anatomical structure of the mammalian brain, the cortico-thalamic (C-T) system. Other brain structures are not established to result in direct conscious experiences, at least in humans. However, indirect extra-cortical influences on the C-T system are pervasive. Learning, brain plasticity and major life adaptations may require conscious cognition. While brains evolved over hundreds of millions of years, and individual brains grow over months, years and decades, conscious events appear to have a duty cycle of ∼100 ms, fading after a few seconds. They can of course be refreshed by inner rehearsal, re-visualization, or attending to recurrent stimulus sources. These very distinctive brain events are needed when animals seek out and cope with new

  19. Resting State Networks and Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Heine, Lizette; Soddu, Andrea; Gómez, Francisco; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey; Tshibanda, Luaba; Thonnard, Marie; Charland-Verville, Vanessa; Kirsch, Murielle; Laureys, Steven; Demertzi, Athena

    2012-01-01

    In order to better understand the functional contribution of resting state activity to conscious cognition, we aimed to review increases and decreases in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) functional connectivity under physiological (sleep), pharmacological (anesthesia), and pathological altered states of consciousness, such as brain death, coma, vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, and minimally conscious state. The reviewed resting state networks were the DMN, left and right executive control, salience, sensorimotor, auditory, and visual networks. We highlight some methodological issues concerning resting state analyses in severely injured brains mainly in terms of hypothesis-driven seed-based correlation analysis and data-driven independent components analysis approaches. Finally, we attempt to contextualize our discussion within theoretical frameworks of conscious processes. We think that this “lesion” approach allows us to better determine the necessary conditions under which normal conscious cognition takes place. At the clinical level, we acknowledge the technical merits of the resting state paradigm. Indeed, fast and easy acquisitions are preferable to activation paradigms in clinical populations. Finally, we emphasize the need to validate the diagnostic and prognostic value of fMRI resting state measurements in non-communicating brain damaged patients. PMID:22969735

  20. Repetition-Related Reductions in Neural Activity during Emotional Simulations of Future Events

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Simulations of future experiences are often emotionally arousing, and the tendency to repeatedly simulate negative future outcomes has been identified as a predictor of the onset of symptoms of anxiety. Nonetheless, next to nothing is known about how the healthy human brain processes repeated simulations of emotional future events. In this study, we present a paradigm that can be used to study repeated simulations of the emotional future in a manner that overcomes phenomenological confounds between positive and negative events. The results show that pulvinar nucleus and orbitofrontal cortex respectively demonstrate selective reductions in neural activity in response to frequently as compared to infrequently repeated simulations of negative and positive future events. Implications for research on repeated simulations of the emotional future in both non-clinical and clinical populations are discussed. PMID:26390294

  1. Neural network submodel as an abstraction tool: relating network performance to combat outcome

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jablunovsky, Greg; Dorman, Clark; Yaworsky, Paul S.

    2000-06-01

    Simulation of Command and Control (C2) networks has historically emphasized individual system performance with little architectural context or credible linkage to `bottom- line' measures of combat outcomes. Renewed interest in modeling C2 effects and relationships stems from emerging network intensive operational concepts. This demands improved methods to span the analytical hierarchy between C2 system performance models and theater-level models. Neural network technology offers a modeling approach that can abstract the essential behavior of higher resolution C2 models within a campaign simulation. The proposed methodology uses off-line learning of the relationships between network state and campaign-impacting performance of a complex C2 architecture and then approximation of that performance as a time-varying parameter in an aggregated simulation. Ultimately, this abstraction tool offers an increased fidelity of C2 system simulation that captures dynamic network dependencies within a campaign context.

  2. A Shortest Dependency Path Based Convolutional Neural Network for Protein-Protein Relation Extraction.

    PubMed

    Hua, Lei; Quan, Chanqin

    2016-01-01

    The state-of-the-art methods for protein-protein interaction (PPI) extraction are primarily based on kernel methods, and their performances strongly depend on the handcraft features. In this paper, we tackle PPI extraction by using convolutional neural networks (CNN) and propose a shortest dependency path based CNN (sdpCNN) model. The proposed method (1) only takes the sdp and word embedding as input and (2) could avoid bias from feature selection by using CNN. We performed experiments on standard Aimed and BioInfer datasets, and the experimental results demonstrated that our approach outperformed state-of-the-art kernel based methods. In particular, by tracking the sdpCNN model, we find that sdpCNN could extract key features automatically and it is verified that pretrained word embedding is crucial in PPI task. PMID:27493967

  3. A Shortest Dependency Path Based Convolutional Neural Network for Protein-Protein Relation Extraction

    PubMed Central

    Quan, Chanqin

    2016-01-01

    The state-of-the-art methods for protein-protein interaction (PPI) extraction are primarily based on kernel methods, and their performances strongly depend on the handcraft features. In this paper, we tackle PPI extraction by using convolutional neural networks (CNN) and propose a shortest dependency path based CNN (sdpCNN) model. The proposed method (1) only takes the sdp and word embedding as input and (2) could avoid bias from feature selection by using CNN. We performed experiments on standard Aimed and BioInfer datasets, and the experimental results demonstrated that our approach outperformed state-of-the-art kernel based methods. In particular, by tracking the sdpCNN model, we find that sdpCNN could extract key features automatically and it is verified that pretrained word embedding is crucial in PPI task. PMID:27493967

  4. An analysis of nonlinear dynamics underlying neural activity related to auditory induction in the rat auditory cortex.

    PubMed

    Noto, M; Nishikawa, J; Tateno, T

    2016-03-24

    A sound interrupted by silence is perceived as discontinuous. However, when high-intensity noise is inserted during the silence, the missing sound may be perceptually restored and be heard as uninterrupted. This illusory phenomenon is called auditory induction. Recent electrophysiological studies have revealed that auditory induction is associated with the primary auditory cortex (A1). Although experimental evidence has been accumulating, the neural mechanisms underlying auditory induction in A1 neurons are poorly understood. To elucidate this, we used both experimental and computational approaches. First, using an optical imaging method, we characterized population responses across auditory cortical fields to sound and identified five subfields in rats. Next, we examined neural population activity related to auditory induction with high temporal and spatial resolution in the rat auditory cortex (AC), including the A1 and several other AC subfields. Our imaging results showed that tone-burst stimuli interrupted by a silent gap elicited early phasic responses to the first tone and similar or smaller responses to the second tone following the gap. In contrast, tone stimuli interrupted by broadband noise (BN), considered to cause auditory induction, considerably suppressed or eliminated responses to the tone following the noise. Additionally, tone-burst stimuli that were interrupted by notched noise centered at the tone frequency, which is considered to decrease the strength of auditory induction, partially restored the second responses from the suppression caused by BN. To phenomenologically mimic the neural population activity in the A1 and thus investigate the mechanisms underlying auditory induction, we constructed a computational model from the periphery through the AC, including a nonlinear dynamical system. The computational model successively reproduced some of the above-mentioned experimental results. Therefore, our results suggest that a nonlinear, self

  5. Neural correlates of conceptual implicit memory and their contamination of putative neural correlates of explicit memory.

    PubMed

    Voss, Joel L; Paller, Ken A

    2007-04-01

    During episodic recognition tests, meaningful stimuli such as words can engender both conscious retrieval (explicit memory) and facilitated access to meaning that is distinct from the awareness of remembering (conceptual implicit memory). Neuroimaging investigations of one type of memory are frequently subject to the confounding influence of the other type of memory, thus posing a serious impediment to theoretical advances in this area. We used minimalist visual shapes (squiggles) to attempt to overcome this problem. Subjective ratings of squiggle meaningfulness varied idiosyncratically, and behavioral indications of conceptual implicit memory were evident only for stimuli given higher ratings. These effects did not result from perceptual-based fluency or from explicit remembering. Distinct event-related brain potentials were associated with conceptual implicit memory and with explicit memory by virtue of contrasts based on meaningfulness ratings and memory judgments, respectively. Frontal potentials from 300 to 500 msec after the onset of repeated squiggles varied systematically with perceived meaningfulness. Explicit memory was held constant in this contrast, so these potentials were taken as neural correlates of conceptual implicit memory. Such potentials can contaminate putative neural correlates of explicit memory, in that they are frequently attributed to the expression of explicit memory known as familiarity. These findings provide the first neural dissociation of these two memory phenomena during recognition testing and underscore the necessity of taking both types of memory into account in order to obtain valid neural correlates of specific memory functions. PMID:17412965

  6. Chaos, brain and divided consciousness.

    PubMed

    Bob, Petr

    2007-01-01

    Modern trends in psychology and cognitive neuroscience suggest that applications of nonlinear dynamics, chaos and self-organization seem to be particularly important for research of some fundamental problems regarding mind-brain relationship. Relevant problems among others are formations of memories during alterations of mental states and nature of a barrier that divides mental states, and leads to the process called dissociation. This process is related to a formation of groups of neurons which often synchronize their firing patterns in a unique spatial maner. Central theme of this study is the relationship between level of moving and oscilating mental processes and their neurophysiological substrate. This opens a question about principles of organization of conscious experiences and how these experiences arise in the brain. Chaotic self-organization provides a unique theoretical and experimental tool for deeper understanding of dissociative phenomena and enables to study how dissociative phenomena can be linked to epileptiform discharges which are related to various forms of psychological and somatic manifestations. Organizing principles that constitute human consciousness and other mental phenomena from this point of view may be described by analysis and reconstruction of underlying dynamics of psychological or psychophysiological measures. These nonlinear methods in this study were used for analysis of characteristic changes in EEG and bilateral electrodermal activity (EDA) during reliving of dissociated traumatic and stressful memories and during psychopathological states. Analysis confirms a possible role of chaotic transitions in the processing of dissociated memory. Supportive finding for a possible chaotic process related to dissociation found in this study represent also significant relationship of dissociation, epileptiform discharges measured by typical psychopathological manifestations and characteristic laterality changes in bilateral EDA in patients

  7. Untangling Brain-Wide Dynamics in Consciousness by Cross-Embedding.

    PubMed

    Tajima, Satohiro; Yanagawa, Toru; Fujii, Naotaka; Toyoizumi, Taro

    2015-11-01

    Brain-wide interactions generating complex neural dynamics are considered crucial for emergent cognitive functions. However, the irreducible nature of nonlinear and high-dimensional dynamical interactions challenges conventional reductionist approaches. We introduce a model-free method, based on embedding theorems in nonlinear state-space reconstruction, that permits a simultaneous characterization of complexity in local dynamics, directed interactions between brain areas, and how the complexity is produced by the interactions. We demonstrate this method in large-scale electrophysiological recordings from awake and anesthetized monkeys. The cross-embedding method captures structured interaction underlying cortex-wide dynamics that may be missed by conventional correlation-based analysis, demonstrating a critical role of time-series analysis in characterizing brain state. The method reveals a consciousness-related hierarchy of cortical areas, where dynamical complexity increases along with cross-area information flow. These findings demonstrate the advantages of the cross-embedding method in deciphering large-scale and heterogeneous neuronal systems, suggesting a crucial contribution by sensory-frontoparietal interactions to the emergence of complex brain dynamics during consciousness</