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Minimal neuroanatomy for a conscious brain: Homing in on the networks constituting consciousness

Authors
Journal
Neural Networks
0893-6080
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
23
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.neunet.2009.08.004
Keywords
  • Neural Correlate Of Consciousness (Ncc)
  • Consciousness
  • Olfactory System
  • Awareness
  • Subjective Experience
  • Sentience
  • Mind–Body Problem

Abstract

Abstract There is a consensus that consciousness is constituted by only a subset of all neuroanatomical regions and processes, but no agreement exists regarding which particular subset(s) constitutes it. We propose that a consensus will be reached if investigators (a) pool their knowledge regarding the regions whose non-participation does not in principle render the nervous system devoid of consciousness (e.g., the cerebellum, amygdalae, hippocampi, hemispheric commissures, ‘pre-cortical’ thalamus, and vast regions of the cortex), and (b) focus on the long-overlooked olfactory system. This ‘brutally reductionistic’ approach may isolate the physical basis of consciousness; even its falsification would help to illuminate this enigma.

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