Friday, April 20, 2018

Towards a cognitive neuroscience of self-awareness

By Lou et al., Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 83, December 2017, pp. 765 - 73. The abstract:

"Self-awareness is a pivotal component of conscious experience. It is correlated with a paralimbic network of medial prefrontal/anterior cingulate and medial parietal/posterior cingulate cortical 'hubs' and associated regions.

"Electromagnetic and transmitter manipulation have demonstrated that the network is not an epiphenomenon but instrumental in generation of self-awareness. Thus, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) targeting the hubs impedes different aspects of self-awareness with a latency of 160 ms. The network is linked by ∼40 Hz oscillations and regulated by dopamine.

"The oscillations are generated by rhythmic GABA-ergic inhibitory activity in interneurons with an extraordinarily high metabolic rate. The hubs are richly endowed with interneurons and therefore highly vulnerable to disturbed energy supply. Consequently, deficient paralimbic activity and self-awareness are characteristic features of many disorders with impaired oxygen homeostasis. Such disorders may therefore be treated unconventionally by targeting interneuron function."

See comments below for more.

1 comment:

  1. "Self-awareness provides the information essential for conscious self-monitoring (metacognition). Metacognition is a tool for consciously controlling behavior and adjusting our experiences of the world. It is essential for learning by conscious experience, not only within ourselves, but, importantly, also between individuals (Bahrami et al., 2010). Self-awareness is therefore of decisive importance by giving humans an advantage in phylogeny (Fabbro et al., 2015; Lagercrantz and Changeux, 2009; Lou, 2012; Perner and Roessler, 2012). [...] This approach has allowed recent research to surpass earlier limitations and gives us insights into the biological origin and function of self-awareness."


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