Science is one step closer to understanding where consciousness is in the brain

INDONESIAKININEWS.COM - Science may be one step closer to understanding where consciousness resides in the brain. A new study shows the impo...

- Science may be one step closer to understanding where consciousness resides in the brain. A new study shows the importance of certain types of neural connections in identifying consciousness.

The research, published in the Cerebral Cortex, was led by Jun Kitazono, a correspondent author and project researcher in the Department of General Systems Studies at the University of Tokyo.

"Where the consciousness of the brain is, has been one of the biggest questions in science," said Associate Professor Masafumi Oizumi, the correspondent author and head of the lab that carried out the research.

"Although we have not reached a conclusive answer, much empirical evidence has been gathered during the search for sufficient minimal mechanisms for conscious experience, or neural correlations of consciousness."

For the study, the team took steps to identify sufficient minimal subnetworks in the brain to support conscious experience.

To identify the area of ​​the brain where consciousness resides, the researchers looked for one specific feature of consciousness in the brain's neural network: bidirectional pathways. 

When we see something or experience a sensation, our brain receives information. This is called a feed-forward signal, but receiving such a feed-forward signal is not sufficient for consciousness.

Our brains also need to send information back, in what is called feedback. Not every part of the brain can receive feedback and feedback information. 

The researchers hypothesize that this bidirectional connection is an important feature of the part of the brain responsible for consciousness.

“Feed-forward processing alone is not sufficient for subjects to consciously perceive stimuli; conversely, feedback is also required, indicating the need for two-way processing. The feedback component disappears not only during the loss of certain contents of consciousness in the awake state, but also during unconscious states in which conscious experiences are generally lost, such as general anesthesia, sleep, and vegetative states,” Kitazono said.

He also explained that it doesn't matter if you see humans, monkeys, mice, birds or flies; bidirectional processing remains important.

Researchers used mouse connections and computational techniques to test their ideas. Connectome is a detailed map of the connections in the brain.

First, they developed an efficient algorithm to extract the part of the brain with a strong two-way connection, called complex. Then, they applied the algorithm to the mouse connection.

"We found that the extracted complexes with the most bidirectionality were not evenly distributed among all major regions, but rather concentrated in the cortical region and the thalamic region," Kitazono said. 

“On the other hand, regions in other large regions have low bidirectionality. In particular, the area in the cerebellum has two directions that are much lower."

The findings are in line with where scientists have long thought that consciousness resides in the brain.

The cerebral cortex, which is located on the surface of the brain, contains sensory areas, motor areas, and association areas that are considered important for the experience of consciousness.

Source: thebrighterside


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IndonesiaKiniNews.com: Science is one step closer to understanding where consciousness is in the brain
Science is one step closer to understanding where consciousness is in the brain
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