How consciousness appeared much earlier in evolutionary history than is commonly assumed, and why all vertebrates and perhaps even some invertebrates are conscious. How is consciousness created? When did it first appear on Earth, and how did it evolve? What constitutes consciousness, and which animals can be said to be sentient? In this book, ToddFeinberg and Jon Mallatt draw on recent scientific findings to answer these questions—and to tackle the most fundamental question about the nature of consciousness: (...) how does the material brain create subjective experience? After assembling a list of the biological and neurobiological features that seem responsible for consciousness, and considering the fossil record of evolution, Feinberg and Mallatt argue that consciousness appeared much earlier in evolutionary history than is commonly assumed. About 520 to 560 million years ago, they explain, the great “Cambrian explosion” of animal diversity produced the first complex brains, which were accompanied by the first appearance of consciousness; simple reflexive behaviors evolved into a unified inner world of subjective experiences. From this they deduce that all vertebrates are and have always been conscious—not just humans and other mammals, but also every fish, reptile, amphibian, and bird. Considering invertebrates, they find that arthropods (including insects and probably crustaceans) and cephalopods (including the octopus) meet many of the criteria for consciousness. The obvious and conventional wisdom–shattering implication is that consciousness evolved simultaneously but independently in the first vertebrates and possibly arthropods more than half a billion years ago. Combining evolutionary, neurobiological, and philosophical approaches allows Feinberg and Mallatt to offer an original solution to the “hard problem” of consciousness. (shrink)
Acknowledgments -- What makes consciousness "mysterious" -- Approaching the gaps : images and affects -- Naturalizing vertebrate consciousness : mental images -- Naturalizing vertebrate consciousness : affects -- The question of invertebrate consciousness -- Creating consciousness : the general and special features -- The evolution of primary consciousness and the Cambrian hypothesis -- Naturalizing subjectivity -- Notes -- Glossary -- References.
While life in general can be explained by the mechanisms of physics, chemistry and biology, to many scientists and philosophers it appears that when it comes to explaining consciousness, there is what the philosopher Joseph Levine called an “explanatory gap” between the physical brain and subjective experiences. Here we deduce the living and neural features behind primary consciousness within a naturalistic biological framework, identify which animal taxa have these features (the vertebrates, arthropods, and cephalopod molluscs), then reconstruct when consciousness first (...) evolved and consider its adaptive value. We theorize that consciousness is based on all the complex system features of life, plus the even more complex features of elaborate brains. We argue that the main reason why the explanatory gap between the brain and experience has been so refractory to scientific explanation is that it arises from both life and from varied and diverse brains and brain regions, so bridging the gap requires a complex, multifactorial account that includes the great diversity of consciousness, its personal nature that stems from embodied life, and the special neural features that make consciousness unique in nature. (shrink)
Localizing the self in the brain has been the goal of consciousness research for centuries. Recently, there has been an increase in attention to the localization of the self. Here we present data from patients suffering from a loss of self in an attempt to understand the neural correlates of consciousness. Focusing on delusional misidentification syndrome , we find that frontal regions, as well as the right hemisphere appear to play a significant role in DMS and DMS related disorders. These (...) data are placed in the context of neuroimaging findings. (shrink)
In this article I will attempt to refute the claim that the mind is a radically emergent feature of the brain. First, the inter-related concepts of emergence, reducibility and constraint are considered, particularly as these ideas relate to hierarchical biological systems. The implications of radical emergence theories of the mind such as the one posited by Roger Sperry, are explored. I then argue that the failure of Sperry's model is based on the notion that consciousness arises as a radically emergent (...) feature ‘at the top command’ of a non-nested neurological hierarchy. An alternative model, one that avoids the dualism inherent in radical emergence theories, is offered in which the brain is described as producing a nested hierarchy of meaning and purpose that has no ‘top’ or ‘summit’. Finally, I will argue there remains a non-reducible aspect of consciousness that does not depend upon radical emergence theory, but rather on the mutual irreducibility of the subjective and objective points of view. This irreducible aspect of consciousness can be understood as the non-mysterious result of brain evolution and normal neural functioning. (shrink)
In spite of enormous recent interest in the neurobiology of the self, we currently have no global models of the brain that explain how its anatomical structure, connectivity, and physiological functioning create a unified self. In this article I present a triadic neurohierarchical model of the self that proposes that the self can be understood as the product of three hierarchical anatomical systems: The interoself system, the integrative self system, and the exterosensorimotor system. An analysis of these three systems and (...) their functional features indicates that the neural hierarchy possesses features of both non-nested and nested hierarchies that are necessary for the creation of a unified consciousness and self. These functional properties also make the central nervous system a biologically unique entity unlike anything else in nature. (shrink)
The neuropathologies of the self are disorders of the self and identity that occur in association with neuropathology and include perturbations of the bodily, relational, and narrative self. Right, especially medial-frontal and orbitofrontal lesions, are associated with these conditions. The ego disequilibrium theory proposes this brain pathology causes a disturbance of ego boundaries and functions and the emergence of developmentally immature styles of thought, ego functioning, and psychological defenses including denial, projection, splitting, and fantasy that the NPS patient has in (...) common with the child. I hypothesize that during brain development between approximately ages 3 and 7 immature defensive functions and fantasies tend to be replaced by mature defenses and the inhibition of fantasy a process that depends upon maturational processes within the right hemisphere. I propose a four-tiered model of the NPS that emphasizes a multifactorial approach and includes both negative and positive, bottom up and top down, and neuropsychological and psychological factors. (shrink)
The multiple realizability thesis (MRT) is an important philosophical and psychological concept. It says any mental state can be constructed by multiple realizability (MR), meaning in many distinct ways from different physical parts. The goal of our study is to find if the MRT applies to the mental state of consciousness among animals. Many things have been written about MRT but the ones most applicable to animal consciousness are by Shapiro in a 2004 book called The Mind Incarnate and by (...) Polger and Shapiro in their 2016 work, The Multiple Realization Book. Standard, classical MRT has been around since 1967 and it says that a mental state can havevery manydifferent physical realizations, in a nearly unlimited manner. To the contrary, Shapiro’s book reasoned that physical, physiological, and historical constraints force mental traits to evolve in just a few, limited directions, which is seen as convergent evolution of the associated neural traits in different animal lineages. This is his mental constraint thesis (MCT). We examined the evolution of consciousness in animals and found that it arose independently in just three animal clades—vertebrates, arthropods, and cephalopod mollusks—all of which share many consciousness-associated traits: elaborate sensory organs and brains, high capacity for memory, directed mobility, etc. These three constrained, convergently evolved routes to consciousness fit Shapiro’s original MCT. More recently, Polger and Shapiro’s book presented much the same thesis but changed its name from MCT to a “modest identity thesis.” Furthermore, they argued against almost all the classically offered instances of MR in animal evolution, especially against the evidence of neural plasticity and the differently expanded cerebrums of mammals and birds. In contrast, we argue that some of these classical examples of MR are indeed valid and that Shapiro’s original MCT correction of MRT is the better account of the evolution of consciousness in animal clades. And we still agree that constraints and convergence refute the standard, nearly unconstrained, MRT. (shrink)
The cognitive disorders that follow brain damage are an important source of insights into the neural bases of human thought. This work offers state-of-the-art reviews of the patient-based approach to central issues in cognitive neuroscience by leaders in the field.
In this paper we consider two major issues: conceptual–experimental approaches to the self, and the neuroanatomical substrate of the self. We distinguish content- and processed-based concepts of the self that entail different experimental strategies, and anatomically, we investigate the concept of midline structures in further detail and present a novel view on the anatomy of an integrated subcortical–cortical midline system. Presenting meta-analytic evidence, we show that the anterior paralimbic, e.g. midline, regions do indeed seem to be specific for self-specific stimuli. (...) We conclude that future investigation of the self need to develop novel concepts that are more empirically plausible than those currently in use. Different concepts of self will require novel experimental designs that include, for example, the brain’s resting state activity as an independent variable. Modifications of both conceptual and anatomical dimensions will allow an empirically more plausible account of the relationship between brain and self. (shrink)
The problem of how the brain produces consciousness, subjectivity and "something it is like to be" remains one of the greatest challenges to a complete science of the natural world. While various scientists and philosophers approach the problem from their own unique perspectives and in the terms of their own respective fields, Biophysics of Consciousness: A Foundational Approach attempts a consilience across disparate disciplines to explain how it is possible that an objective brain produces subjective experience. This volume unites the (...) cr me de la cr me of physicists, neuroscientists, and psychiatrists in the attempt to understand consciousness through a foundational approach encompassing ontological, evolutionary, neurobiological, and Freudian interpretations with the focus on conscious phenomena occurring in the brain. By integrating the perspectives of these diverse disciplines with the latest research and theories on the biophysics of the brain, the book tries to explain how what John Searle calls a "conscious field" can be an adaptive and causal element in the natural world. (shrink)
Despite the growing body of literature on training in the responsible conduct of research, few studies have examined the effectiveness of delivery formats used in ethics courses. The present effort sought to address this gap in the literature through a meta-analytic review of 66 empirical studies, representing 106 ethics courses and 10,069 participants. The frequency and effectiveness of 67 instructional and process-based content areas were also assessed for each delivery format. Process-based contents were best delivered face-to-face, whereas contents delivered online (...) were most effective when restricted to compliance-based instructional contents. Overall, hybrid courses were found to be most effective, suggesting that ethics courses are best delivered using a blend of formats and content areas. Implications and recommendations for future development of ethics education courses in the sciences are discussed. (shrink)
Ethics courses are most commonly evaluated using reaction measures. However, little is known about the specific types of reaction data being collected and how these reaction data relate to improvements in trainee performance. Using a sample of 381 ethics training sessions, major reaction data categories were identified. Content and course satisfaction were the most frequently collected types of reaction criteria. Furthermore, content relevance and course satisfaction showed strong, positive relationships with performance criteria, whereas content satisfaction demonstrated a moderate, negative relationship. (...) These results and future directions for ethics training evaluation are discussed. (shrink)
PurposeTo use the power of knowledge acquisition and machine learning in the development of a collaborative computer classification system based on the features of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).MethodsA vocabulary was acquired from four AMD experts who examined 100 ophthalmoscopic images. The vocabulary was analyzed, hierarchically structured, and incorporated into a collaborative computer classification system called IDOCS. Using this system, three of the experts examined images from a second set of digital images compiled from more than 1000 patients with AMD. Images (...) were annotated, and features were identified and defined. Decision trees, a machine learning method, were trained on the data collected and used to extract patterns. Interrelationships between the data from the different clinicians were investigated.ResultsSix drusen classes in the structured vocabulary were largely sufficient to describe all the identified features. The decision trees classified the data with 76.86% to 88.5% accuracy and distilled patterns in the form of hierarchical trees composed of 5 to 15 nodes. Experts were largely consistent in their characterization of soft, and to a lesser extent, hard drusen, but diverge in definition of other drusen. Size and crystalline morphology were the main determinants of drusen type across all experts.ConclusionsMachine learning is a powerful tool for the characterization of disease phenotypes. The creation of a defined feature set for AMD will facilitate the development of an IDOCS-based classification system. (shrink)
Cuckoldry is an adaptive problem faced by parentally investing males of socially monogamous species (e.g., humans and many avian species). Mate guarding and frequent in-pair copulation (IPC) may have evolved as anti-cuckoldry tactics in avian species and in humans. In some avian species, the tactics are used concurrently, with the result that mate guarding behaviors and IPC frequency are correlated positively. In other avian species, the tactics are compensatory, with the result that mate guarding behaviors and IPC frequency are correlated (...) negatively. The relationship between mate guarding and IPC frequency in humans is unknown. Avian males that use these tactics concurrently share with human males an inability to guard a female partner continuously during her peak fertile period. We hypothesized, therefore, that men’s mate guarding and IPC frequency function as concurrent anti-cuckoldry tactics, resulting in a positive correlation between them. Study 1 (n=305) secured men’s self-reports of mate guarding and IPC frequency. Study 2 (n+367) secured women’s reports of their partners’ mate guarding and IPC frequency. The concurrent tactics hypothesis was supported in both studies: Men’s mate guarding and IPC frequency are correlated positively, and this association is not attributable to male age, female age, relationship satisfaction, relationship length, or time that the couple spends together. The Discussion section addresses potential limitations of this research and future research directions. (shrink)
This article applies formal modeling to study a terrorist group''s choice of whether to attack or not, and, in the case of an attack, which of two potential targets to strike. Each potential target individually takes protective measures that influence the terrorists'' perceived success and failure, and, hence, the likelihood of attack. For domestic terrorism, a tendency for potential targets to overdeter is indicated. For transnational terrorism, cases of overdeterrence and underdeterrence are identified. We demonstrate that increased information about terrorists'' (...) preferences, acquired by the targets, may exacerbate inefficiency when deterrence efforts are not coordinated. In some cases, perfect information may eliminate the existence of a noncooperative solution. (shrink)