7th July 2008 – Consciousness: What is it? How Might it Work?

Professor John Jefferys from Birmingham University helped us understand what we know about consciousness.

Of course some things are not yet known but good progress is being made. Among other areas, Prof Jefferys has been researching how the brain solves a key problem known as “the binding problem”. The problem is that lots (and I do mean lots) of different information about different aspects of an object arrive at different points in the brain and require different brain processing time to be dealt with by the brain. Yet we just sense a single object not each aspect separately e.g. the shape and the colour. How does the brain get all these things from their different places and “construct” an integrated proposition?

What are the necessary things that consciousness would need to have in order to function and what do we know of the different brain functions that would be needed to produce consciousness? How far have we got in identifying these neural correlates in the brain?

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