Integrated Cortical Field Model of Consciousness

  1. Gregory R. Bock Organizer and
  2. Joan Marsh
  1. Marcel Kinsbourne

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470514412.ch3

Ciba Foundation Symposium 174 - Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness

Ciba Foundation Symposium 174 - Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness

How to Cite

Kinsbourne, M. (2007) Integrated Cortical Field Model of Consciousness, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 174 - Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness (eds G. R. Bock and J. Marsh), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470514412.ch3

Author Information

  1. Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471938668

Online ISBN: 9780470514412

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Keywords:

  • integrated cortical field model;
  • consciousness;
  • neuropsychological syndromes;
  • neuronal activity;
  • temporal coherence

Summary

The idea that there is a localized module or limited capacity mechanism in the brain that subserves consciousness is wrong. Awareness is a product of the activity of widely distributed neuronal assemblies that represent diverse aspects of experience. Central to a representation's entry into consciousness is its integration into the currently dominant pattern of central neuronal activity (dominant focus). A representation anywhere in the forebrain could on one occasion enter consciousness and on another remain outside it, depending on whether it is, perhaps by temporal coherence of discharge of cell assemblies, integrated into the dominant focus. There is no privileged locus or ‘internal eye’ for the benefit of which input is elaborated and toward which information must be transported. When a perceptual decision is made there need be no re-enactment (‘filling in’) of the appearance in question. Nor is there a ‘finish line’, the crossing of which determines the perceived sequence of events. Neuropsychological syndromes that involve unawareness of a perceptual domain illustrate the explanatory value of this integrated cortical field model of consciousness. Awareness cannot be conceptualized as separate from the neural activity of which it is the subjective concomitant. Being aware is what it is like to have a particular pattern of neuronal activity. To regard consciousness as arising from brain activity by some esoteric transformation is misconceived.