Christof Koch

What do we know about Consciousness?

  • Consciousness is associated with some complex, adaptive, biological networks (not immune system nor enteric nervous system)
  • Consciousness does not require behavior
  • Consciousness does not require emotions
  • Consciousness can be dissociated from selective attention
  • Consciousness does not require language — babies are shown to be conscious
  • Consciousness does not require self-consciousness
  • Consciousness does not require long-term memory
  • Consciousness can occur in one cerebral hemisphere – which means that we could have 2 simultaneous separate conscious experiences
  • Destruction of cortical regions interferes with specific content of consciousness – which indicates that there is not a “center of consciousness” in the brain, but it arises from distributed activity

These facts are very interesting, and provide us with a specific lens to form hypotheses on how consciousness works, and could be created.

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2 Responses to Christof Koch

  1. shinichi says:

    The Sciences of Consciousness: Progress and Problems

    by Christof Koch

    Center for Brains, Minds and Machines (CBMM)


    Christof Koch – Allen Institute for Brain Science

  2. shinichi says:

    It proposes that consciousness has information regarding its experience, and that the experience is integrated to the extent that parts of an experience are informative of each other. If there is sufficient integration, the physical system is conscious. Although rigorous and widely considered, the theory is also considered wrong as “it unavoidably predicts vast amounts of consciousness in physical systems that no sane person would regard as particularly conscious at all”.

    None of the current scientific theories are complete, nor do they propose clear mechanisms for consciousness to arise. In general, the underlying development concept is that, as soon as a certain critical mass is reached, consciousness will appear.

    The road ahead — Ways to Accelerate Consciousness Research. The Eastern, Amerindian, and Western ways are all valid approaches to investigate consciousness. Definitions however remain an issue. Great for having multiple approaches, not for integration and maximising progress.

    The power of the Scientific Method, is that it builds upon previous hypotheses, know- how, and knowledge using domain codification. Its limits however reside in the world view it creates, in which what cannot be measured doesn’t exist.

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