David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):63-81 (2007)
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. (Published Online May 1 2007) Key Words: action selection; anencephaly; central decision making; consciousness; control architectures; hydranencephaly; macrosystems; motivation; target selection; zona incerta
|Keywords||Cerebral Cortex* Consciousness States* Neurology* Experimental Psychology Motivation Neurophysiology|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Ned Block (2007). Consciousness, Accessibility, and the Mesh Between Psychology and Neuroscience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (5):481--548.
Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka (2007). The Transition to Experiencing: I. Limited Learning and Limited Experiencing. Biological Theory 2 (3):218-230.
Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka (2007). The Transition to Experiencing: II. The Evolution of Associative Learning Based on Feelings. Biological Theory 2 (3):231-243.
Tim Bayne (2007). Conscious States and Conscious Creatures: Explanation in the Scientific Study of Consciousness. Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):1–22.
Kevin Lynch (2012). A Multiple Realization Thesis for Natural Kinds. European Journal of Philosophy 20 (3):389-406.
Similar books and articles
Phan Luu, John M. Kelley & Daniel Levitin (2001). Consciousness: A Preparatory and Comparative Process. In Peter G. Grossenbacher (ed.), Finding Consciousness in the Brain: A Neurocognitive Approach. Advances in Consciousness Research. John Benjamins 247-275.
Bill Faw (2000). Consciousness, Motivation, and Emotion: Biopsychological Reflections. In Ralph D. Ellis & Natika Newton (eds.), The Caldron of Consciousness: Motivation, Affect and Self-Organization- an Anthology. Advances in Consciousness Research. John Benjamins 55-90.
Roland R. Brusseau & George A. Mashour (2007). Subcortical Consciousness: Implications for Fetal Anesthesia and Analgesia. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):86-87.
Jack van Honk, Barak E. Morgan & Dennis J. L. G. Schutter (2007). Raw Feeling: A Model for Affective Consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):107-108.
Walter J. Freeman (2007). Roles of Allocortex and Centrencephalon in Intentionality and Consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):92-93.
Carroll Izard (2007). Levels of Emotion and Levels of Consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):96-98.
Ezequiel Morsella & John A. Bargh (2007). Supracortical Consciousness: Insights From Temporal Dynamics, Processing-Content, and Olfaction. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):100.
Bjorn Merker (2007). Grounding Consciousness: The Mesodiencephalon as Thalamocortical Base. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):110-134.
David B. Edelman (2007). Consciousness Without Corticocentrism: Beating an Evolutionary Path. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):91-92.
Daniel Collerton & Elaine Perry (2007). Do Multiple Cortical-Subcortical Interactions Support Different Aspects of Consciousness? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):88-89.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads370 ( #2,077 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)236 ( #1,559 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?