So I’m not surprised Gazzaniga found issues with it. As such, the definition is clear and precise and doesn’t suffer in any way from the philosophical baggage of 17th century Western philosophy and on that Hacker identifies. (The neuroscience is far less controversial than the philosophy. I theorize that the cortex produces what I call “pre-conscious images” which are swept sub-cortically to the brainstem. Expectation: Also Prediction, the outcome of a Story pattern match as in, for example, the incoming sensory story A ⇒ B pattern-matching the remembered story A ⇒ B ⇒ C and yielding the conscious expectation of C. Imagination: Also Creativity, wherein the remembered story A ⇒ B ⇒ C combines with another remembered story B ⇒ E, allowing E to be unexpectedly promoted to consciousness in preference to C. Dreams: Cortically produced stories that “leak” into consciousness during sleep. Little white arrows on a blue field … I was expecting black on a white (or gray) background. As an example, consider driving home along a route that’s been repeated so many times that it’s well-established in memory. Perhaps, as Mike has responded, “It all comes down to how you define ‘consciousness’” so let’s look at that. Poquita has been on insulin for three years (twice as much as should be used, but ordered by the previous vet) and she stopped eating anything but her beloved beef rib bone last Friday afternoon. Not in biology, at least not naturally. Regardless of why it happened, it’s scientifically established that primary sensory processing (except smell) happens in the midbrain in fish, reptiles and amphibians, and in the forebrain for mammals and birds. Learn how your comment data is processed. We might say that Mike is conscious, Lee is conscious and Steve is conscious, making in all three consciousnesses in three persons. 3. He also a Professor of Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical School. Stay tuned …;-). Is the singularity right around the corner? The predominant belief is that attentive consciousness is not involved, or minimally involved in the driving, allowing for the daydreaming you mention, and I’m sure we’ve all arrived home without a detailed memory of making that sort of a drive. I’m not sure what your use of “conception” implies … is it a developmental, evolutionary, or functional hierarchy—or something else altogether? But if by “the smell” you mean the smell of some known thing, such as food or a predator, then that’s a prediction. The length and complexity of sentences are reduced. I’m asking for an explanation of how cortical consciousness evolved from its precursor, not why. That may not be the final explanation, but it’s not an existential conundrum. Joseph LeDoux has been working on the link between emotion, memory, and the brain since the 1990s. True, but they sometimes don’t. Combinations and collisions of stories create new stories which we promote and exchange with great energy. Annual review of psychology 46 (1), 209-235, 1995. Mike, in what sense is a smell a prediction? Our results are consistent with a previous observation in non-human primates that intracortical microstimulation of area 1 in primary somatosensory cortex results in significantly slower response times than peripheral stimulation19. Stephen, if you look at the entry for consciousness, you’ll find John Locke’s version of it, which is different, being roughly equivalent to introspection. Here’s the short answer: If there were no such thing as change, there would be no need to address the notion of power. And there’s no doubt that a lot of the subcortical forebrain, such as the basal ganglia, amygdala, etc, participate in behavior, although a lot of that will be habitual or survival circuitry. The mechanism is set up such that the input “means” apple. Much of the difficulty, I think, is that consciousness is a pre-scientific inherently dualistic notion that doesn’t have a direct correlate in the objective world. I came across a racoon the other day (more accurately I bumped into it and pissed it off). The prediction happens at the time of creating the mechanism. Ramachandran defends the now unfashionable view that animals including great apes are not conscious. Any reference to the event is a reference to an interpretation of “apple”, and this meaning is inherent in the mechanism. While I’m contemplating and composing, Mike, I wanted to see what the WordPress parser would do with a right arrow character. From an Aeon piece he authored commenting on the paper. By drawing a distinction between decerebration and decortication are you suggesting that non-cortical portions of the cerebrum produce consciousness? But what’s wrong with fish that they haven’t the ‘affect’ for pleasure in certain instrumental manners consistent with the memory of its kind, to “get along” in its special set of environmental conditions, happy and thriving?! “Identifying intellect as an attribute of sentience/consciousness ignores its unconscious nature.”, The short answer is this Stephen: Identifying intellect as an attribute of sentience and/or consciousness does not ignore its unconscious nature. That mankind claims an Intellect so much removed from Instinct, begs whether mankind thought it had comparisons of equally, or better, evolutionary strategies (NOT, says we), given the State of the World, the Earth and our collective Future today, rapidly multiplying Extinction on every corner of Life, mostly or most efficiently by mankind’s own obsessive rationality of ‘intellect’, or justifications of ‘affect’ made scientific and necessary by the same. About Joseph LeDoux. I think we’d be mistaken if we called this “algorithmic” behavior, on the order of instinct removed from all such behavior of animals, generally speaking and almost, if not totally, applied. When you think about it, a visual perception, such as discriminating food from a predator, is a prediction, as is a smell, or auditory categorization. Note: some of these predictions, i.e., the creation of mechanisms, happen during evolution, and some can happen at (nearly) real time. Clark Sex History Questionaire for males-Revised, TIP: The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, Tutorials in Quantitative Methods for Psychology, Center for the Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety. So, with great hopes of refocusing on the issue: 1. Clearly, Mike, these remarks about the brain structures that create the feeling of pain apply to the rest of our feeling repertoire—the entirety of our sentience. But notice that Pinto writes “… both eyes sent information to both brain hemispheres” which completely ignores, as did Sperry and Gazzaniga, the sub-cortical (brainstem) reception of visual signals, signals which have been pre-processed by the cortical-like network at the back of the eyeball, and so possess some minimal pre-conscious content. Thanks Paul! This assignment of functionality is the only element of BRASH that has been discussed. “Nowhere does it say, or even imply, that sentience—consciousness itself—is reduced. When people speak of “one unified field of consciousness”, maybe they’re simply referring to exactly one of those mechanisms, the one referred to by Damasio as the autobiographical self, which is the one that has access to words, which is the one that requires the functionality of the cortex. And it is not okay to say that Consciousness is the secret ingredient of causal power, anymore than it would be okay to say angels are the secret ingredient, or peanut butter. It makes what could be interesting discussions with you exasperating. Some, but not all, aspects of skilled movements survive decortication, and decorticate rats perform as readily as controls on a number of learning tests. 2. My views on all this is that I think LeDoux is too skeptical of animal consciousness.  It doesn’t seem like a human without language could pass his criteria.  However, as always, this may come down to which definition of “consciousness” we’re discussing.  Human level consciousness includes introspective self awareness and far wider ranging imagination, enabled by symbolic thought such as language, than exist in any other species.  If we set that as the minimum, then only humans are conscious, but many will see that as too stringent.  In particular, I think a case could be made that it’s far too stringent for sentience. But the definitions of Stanislas Dehaene, Christof Koch, Michael Graziano, Michael Gazzaniga, V.S. I’m sure I glossed it at least once already. I’m referring to sentience, as in babies “feel[ing] being touched, held and hugged” and you responded with statements about behavior. No real problem there James. But I haven’t seen any indication it’s involved in actual awareness. I think, from what little I’ve read, that people who spend a lot of time with primates feel pretty strongly about their consciousness. metaphor of ‘cerebral symphony’ is used by Goldberg as he introduces the front rows (the cortex) and the conductor (the frontal lobes). Either I exhausted everyone who tried to read it or, as seems more likely, it’s simply insufficiently philosophical, or, worse, not at all philosophical. The visual perception of an apple is a prediction that there is an apple out there, but this prediction was made at the time the mechanism was generated, which mechanism was created to recognize apples. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. In addition to a complete lack of evidence, these quandaries indicate that the cortical consciousness hypothesis lacks credibility and, considering that an alternate hypothesis easily explains or dispenses with all of them, the cortical consciousness hypothesis must be viewed as indefensible. Introspection Your definition may be based on Damasio’s, and he is an neuroscientist, but he’s far from the only neuroscientist to produce a definition. As to the knee-jerk type physical reflex, although that particular reflexive bodily motion occurs without control, sans conscious intent, and is very difficult, if not impossible, to suppress, when the reflexive movement takes place in an awake individual, the bodily movement is decidedly felt, as you say, and the initial hammer strike on the knee is felt as well. Rather than the usual conception of thought as some airy, ghostly thing (hence body-mind dualism), the embodied characteristic of thought is obvious when we consider that thinking in words is vocalization-inhibited speech—physical subvocalizations that can be detected by the way—and thinking in pictures, as autist Temple Grandin reports, is, similarly, sight-inhibited vision.”. Artificial Intelligence is massive computerized pattern matching operating on vast data sets (stories). This output is an affordance for subsequent interpretation. And that mechanism is the causal power, specifically the efficient cause according to Aristotle, the Input and Output being the material and formal causes respectively.”. We’re really on the boundary here between reflex and prediction. Reflexes The term also characterizes and categorizes specific emotions. ”, Stephen, you quoted it just above this sentence: “and people were left emotionally blunted…”. Two of your concerns, Mike, from your Consciousness Hierarchy, are Prediction and Imagination. Behavior is the only evidence we get. Mike, you wrote that you “… seriously doubt there will be one simple theory that answers it all. By the way, I think that our experiences while we’re dreaming are a consequence of this cortical story processing, unfettered from sensory input and, hence, dreamlike. 2. Which is to say (as retort), that our birds’ behavior in these respects do not significantly differ from fishes in so many instances, that its impossible to distinguish them, fundamentally as given. Glad you found it useful. Also consider neuroanatomist’s Jill Bolte Taylor’s very moving personal description of her own experience following a severe left hemisphere hemorrhage, after which her right hemisphere’s contributions to the content of consciousness became prominent. I don’t see the issue. My dog, Poquita Loca, stayed overnight at the vet, a new vet for us in whom I have great confidence. The reason I didn’t respond is I think you know my position. “The proto-self occurs not in one brain region but in many, at a multiplicity of levels, from the brainstem and hypothalamus to the cerebral cortex, in structures that are interconnected by neural pathways. And the experimenters’ “may be” declaration is a long way from “is”—this is their guess about what causes the delay, not an experimental conclusion. Embodied metaphors are stories of relationships and their implications that are rooted in our embodiment. Deliberation The only other remark I have on the issue of decerebrate vs. decorticate is that the competing theories we’re discussing are cortical vs. brainstem production of conscious images. So much for those neuroscientist’s (not) defining and providing consciousness hypotheses. With that as a given, I must first expand the BRASH explanation provided so far with this additional information characterizing the functionality of cortical processing as a Story Engine: BRASH proposes that the cortex is a Story Engine that operates unconsciously and constitutes, in fact, that 98% or greater of all cognitive operations (see Philosophy in the Flesh, Lakoff and Johnson, 1999). That’s a mistake. Regarding PFS, I had read little or nothing about it until I saw the Vyshedskiy’s paper but apparently the concept dates from the 19th century. Hey Stephen, “you’ve not provided the details of those behaviors in the past and the statement directly contradicts Merker,”, For details on decerebration, there’s a section in the Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals report which describes it, and cites papers that go into more detail. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. His numbers were between 50k and 200k years. Thanks in advance! As you say, it “actually does come down to definitions.” I think, especially here, people see what they want to see. If so, those degrees haven’t yet yielded any credible hypotheses other than this one, which, in recognition of it’s origins I’ll generalize as the Damásio-BRASH theory. Someone who’s had the connections to their ventromedial prefrontal cortex severed (lobotomy) has substantially reduced sentience, although it’s not eliminated. The “one unified field of consciousness” you’re referring to is simply the single unified consciousness we all experience, with sight, sound, proprioception, feelings, thought and so on all integrated into the unified stream of consciousness, the “movie-in-the-brain.”. That means that all of the contents of consciousness are feelings, call consciousness what you will, affect or otherwise. Regarding a discussion of BRASH, I believe it deserves to be taken seriously as a hypothesis so that, rather than being seen as merely a disagreement with the proposal that the cortex produces consciousness, it should be viewed as an attempt at an end-to-end explanation of consciousness production. There is, at least: All you’ve done James is restate the hard problem. I can see arguments that consciousness requires introspection (fitting John Locke’s old definition for it). I think if you read the other neuroscientists at length, you’d find their theories harder to summarily dismiss. In my opinion, and that of the researchers, the not-very-short-to-medium-length behaviors specified could hardly be characterized as either reflexive or instinctual. Ciao. 2. For instance: ”Even the argument that certain forebrain structures are required for pain (Rose 2002) is problematic because it presupposes a complete understanding of how and where pain is generated in the human brain, when in fact this is still under study (the anterior cingulate, for instance, is activated by subliminal stimuli—i.e., stimuli of which humans are unaware—as well as by pain; Kilgore and Yurgelun-Todd 2004; Sidhu et al. In keeping with tradition and for ease of reference, I’ll go ahead and name the hypothesis the, … which I intend in the “strong, energetic, or highly spirited, (perhaps) in an irreverent way” sense of the definition of the word brash. Mea fatfinger culpa … 😉. Therefore, it is typically assumed that any responses in, for example, decerebrate mammals cannot be used reliably to identify which species or developmental stages feel pain (Box 1-3).” [Italics and bold are mine]. Or is it six consciousnesses in three persons or six persons with three consciousnesses or similar silliness. Posted Aug 10, 2015 Content ... Nautilus Joe Rogan Podcast Rubin Museum Psychology Today Brain World Magazine Brain Science Podcast-161 PG Radio The Science of Psychotherapy-podcast Consciousness and Mental Time Travel Leonard Lopate at Large on WBAI Radio Decoding superhuman Thoughts on Record . Exteroception, interoception and affect are different things. The same reflex reportedly works in a brain dead body, or even in a recently deceased corpse. On the other hand, solving complex problems usually only happens with conscious awareness. However, someone did ask me about this, and maybe people haven’t seen the earlier discussions. In our conversation above, I think part of the confusion is that I was giving neuroscience answers rather than philosophical ones. Indeed, the sciences (and to a lesser degree mathematics), in our times, are the primary source of misguided metaphysics—which it is the task of philosophy to curb, not to encourage.”. Aren’t we as much saying here that ‘fish’ would not find pleasure in courtship, display and the often ritualized behavior (just as with birds) of nursery care for their young? That should be remembered when assessing the reports of behavior in decorticated animals. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t have an experience associated with the hammer striking the patellar tendon or our leg muscles contracting. Stephen, I’ve been slow to respond because my unquestionably conscious 12 year-old mini-Schnauzer has been in need of some veterinary attention. Ramachandran, Elkhonon Goldberg, and many others, are all different. ” A simple knee-jerk reflex does not seem like it is impotent and unmotivated, but I don’t think you consider it sentience. If not, and for those who haven’t, here is a sample of what’s within: “The English word ‘conscious’ is recorded by the OED as first occurring at the beginning of the seventeenth century, when, like the Latin ‘conscius’, it signified sharing knowledge with another or being witness to something. Intelligence. For instance, reflexive or habitual behavior can take place while the subject is distracted and so not consciously aware of the activity. You can call that “consciousness”. He received his Ph.D. in 1977 at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He also directs the Emotional Brain Institute located at the Nathan Kline Institute and at NYU and is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical School. But they are not unrelated. Can you describe a physical system that demonstrates intelligence and compare/contrast with one that doesn’t have intelligence, like the knee jerk reflex? What is a little unclear to me is how or why this ability seems to require environmental influence to develop. The representation built from those signals 1 and 2: Upon rereading several brain evolution papers, a subject I haven’t paid attention to for over a year, I believe that the subject itself and any and all conclusions are far too speculative to contribute substantially to our discussion. By György Buzsáki Or birds. Mike would not consider the brain stem conscious because it does not have the higher level cognitive abilities he finds in the cortex-associated mechanism. Home. By Joseph LeDoux (October 18, 2019) Psychology Today: How Deep Do We Go? Well, as someone who doesn’t buy teleology, I don’t think it’s a prediction in any sense. Here’s the problem: Kant’s statement would also apply to any and all inputs and outputs, meaning… the entirety of the physical world with all of its parts. 5. According to my definition: Consciousness is the form through which power is both realized and actualized. 5. So, no intellect, no sentience. The reality/appearance distinction is pretty straight forward. 5. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! That being the case, the only valid conclusion from such an incident is that the drive home didn’t make it to the memory store, which seems an efficient way for the brain to deal with habitual behaviors—since they’re already firmly established stories in memory there’s nothing to gain from storing them again and then reinforcing them once again during the sleep-time cortical review of the day’s accumulated stories. Another good source on vertebrate brain evolution. Maybe PFS is what allows the more developed version in humans. They are two aspects of an integrated system. As I’ve commented previously, a recent attempt to train an AI in moral decision making failed until the approach was modified to teach the AI stories with embedded moral decisions. Wikipedia’s (and don’t we love ‘em) Lobotomy article states: “Following the operation, spontaneity, responsiveness, self-awareness and self-control were reduced. I was referring to the word sentience. On requiring environmental influence, it might be that the ability to combine images was originally a malfunction, cross stream corruption of some sort, that just happened to lead to beneficial results, so it got selected for and fine tuned, but its development was always rooted in working with existing memories, which require an experiential history. The utilization of the second representation for prediction Show of hands? “The prediction happens at the time of creating the mechanism. We can directly glimpse the cortex at work by observing the content of our dreams that “leak” into consciousness while we sleep. LeDoux’s neuroscience background is apparently Behaviorist and he did time with Gazzaniga also. I also agree that one “cannot have a coherent conversation about consciousness without first addressing the objective reality of power.” That’s why I start that conversation at the bottom. Update 9-11-19: The statement above about LeDoux seeing instrumental learning only in mammals and birds isn’t right.  Please see the correction post. I fail to see any connection between those and instinctual behaviors. The problem, the conundrum, presented by all cortical consciousness proposals is that no mechanism for integrating the conscious outputs of widely distributed cortical functionality (the processing of vision, hearing, language, emotional feelings and so on) has been either identified or proposed. I reserve the right to change that name should it cause difficulty of some sort but, for an early Monday morning, I find it appealing and a worthy competitor to sexy acronyms like HOT … 😉.