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Paradigm shift in consciousness research: the child′s self-awareness and abnormalities in autism, ADHD and schizophrenia


HC Lou, Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark DK 8000.
Tel: +89494099 |
Fax: +89494400 |


Self-awareness is a pivotal component of any conscious experience and conscious self-regulation of behaviour. A paralimbic network is active, specific and causal in self-awareness. Its regions interact by gamma synchrony. Gamma synchrony develops throughout infancy, childhood and adolescence into adulthood and is regulated by dopamine and other neurotransmitters via GABA interneurons. Major derailments of this network and self-awareness occur in developmental disorders of conscious self-regulation like autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia.

Conclusion:  Recent research on conscious experience is no longer limited to the study of neural ‘correlations’ but is increasingly lending itself to the study of causality. This paradigm shift opens new perspectives for understanding the neural mechanisms of the developing self and the causal effects of their disturbance in developmental disorders.