Consciousness What is consciousness? Where does consciousness happen? How does consciousness happen?
What is Consciousness? Awareness of the environment Awareness of internal mental events/states
Where Does Consciousness Happen? Descartes (1600s): the body and soul interact through the pineal gland Damasio (1999): consciousness is the self in the act of knowing - the thalamus helps to relate signals across brain areas (early sensory and higher-order cortices)
Global Workspace Theory (Baars, 1996) Consciousness works by broadcasting information across brain areas Make information simultaneously available to many areas so that the correct decisions can be made to coordinate thinking
Global Workspace Theory Expert Processors are specialized, unconscious processors Contexts are groups of expert processors that work together; guide and constrain global messages but are not conscious Global Workspace is the ability to broadcast the information to the entire system
Evolutionary Psychology What is the function of consciousness? How could consciousness have evolved?