Thursday, March 12, 2015

Of brains and consciousness

See this recent article supporting Thompson's notion that in heightened states of self-awareness brain waves are synchronized, coordinated and distributed in whole brain networking.* An edited excerpt:

"Vanderbilt University researchers took a significant step toward answering these longstanding questions with a recent imaging study, in which they discovered global changes in how brain areas communicate with one another during awareness. [...] Focal theories contend there are specific areas of the brain that are critical for generating consciousness, while global theories argue consciousness arises from large-scale brain changes in activity. [...] Unlike the focal results seen using more conventional analysis methods, the results via this network approach pointed toward a different conclusion. No one area or network of areas of the brain stood out as particularly more connected during awareness of the target; the whole brain appeared to become functionally more connected following reports of awareness.

"'We know there are numerous brain networks that control distinct cognitive functions such as attention, language and control, with each node of a network densely interconnected with other nodes of the same network, but not with other networks,' Marois said. 'Consciousness appears to break down the modularity of these networks, as we observed a broad increase in functional connectivity between these networks with .' The research suggests that consciousness is likely a product of this widespread communication. [...] Consciousness appears to be an emergent property of how information that needs to be acted upon gets propagated throughout the brain."

* It also relates to the definition of integral as the self-system which integrates the various states, stages, lines etc. Hence the latter is 'enlightenment' rather than particular, specialized and metaphysically-inflected states. Or a particular stage in that process.

PS: I have some reservations about that last sentence. To be continued.

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