Theorem IV: A Quale is a Special Form of Signaling Pattern
In the previous chapter, it is concluded that qualia are physical phenomena. But what is the exact nature of these phenomena? At present, there are several theories about what qualia are and how they occur [1-6]. However, none seems to be accepted unanimously as conclusive , and none seems to answer the hard problem of qualia or the hard problem of consciousness – the problem of why there are qualia and consciousness at all [7-11] – satisfactorily. This theory finds that the answers to these questions exist in the qualia’s physical properties, which have been discussed in detail in the previous chapter. They are summarized here again as follows:
PQ1. Required physical properties.
PQ1.1. Their nature is mental phenomena.
PQ1.2. Their characteristics are phenomenal and consciously experienceable.
PQ2. Observed physical properties.
PQ2.1. Their nature is non-material.
PQ2.2. Their activities are fast, dynamic, and information-intensive.
PQ2.3. Their occurrences are from and their existence is with their specific neural processes, and both are consistent.
PQ2.4. Their places of occurrences are selectively and specifically limited to some specific neural processes.
PQ2.5. Their capacities are limited and identical to those of their specific neural processes.
PQ2.6. Their details are determined by and are identical to their specific neural processes, with definiteness in their structure.
PQ2.7. Their changes are dependent on their specific neural processes.
PQ2.8. Their interactions depend on and are via their specific neural processes.
5.1. The nature of a quale and Theorem IV
Finding the nature of a quale can be done by proceeding in the same way as that is done in finding the nature of the mind and mental processes in Chapter 2. As a quale is a mental phenomenon, it is part of its mental process, which is part of its neural process (Theorem I). Thus, like its mental process, a quale is also part of its neural processes, in the sense that it is created by, is at the same places as, has information as part of, functions as part of, and changes and disappears with its neural process. However, even if a quale must be part of its neural process, it is possible that, functionally, it occurs as a separate, additional entity to its neural process but functions in unity with and as part of its neural process, like separate entities commonly illustrated in general pictures that depict qualia, such as a visual quale of a house (A), an auditory quale of a song (B), and an olfactory quale of a rose in Figure 5.1. below.
Figure 5.1 Qualia occur as separate, additional entities
However, it is also possible that, functionally, a quale occurs intrinsically in its neural process without any additional entity occurring, like various information that occurs intrinsically in the sign language without any additional entity occurring, such as in Figure 5.2 below.
Figure 5.2 Information occurs as an intrinsic entity
Therefore, there are two possibilities of how, functionally, a quale occurs with its neural process:
Possibility 1. A quale occurs separately from its neural process as an additional entity. Thus, its functions and effects are separate from those of its neural process but retain functional unity with its neural process.
Possibility 2. A quale occurs intrinsically in its neural process with no additional entity occurring. Thus, its functions and effects are intrinsically part of its neural process’s functions and effects and are always in functional unity with its neural process.
To be noted at this point is that a quale in both possibilities can be either a by-product (an epiphenomenon) or an objective product (an intended product) of its neural process, and it may be inert (yielding no effects) or active (yielding some effects) – these have to be investigated later.
Now, let’s exam the two possibilities one by one.
5.1.1 Possibility 1: A quale occurs separately from its neural process as an additional entity.
Consider Neural Process A (Figure 5.3) that functions to produce a visual perception of a house without a quale occurring. The consciousness neural process will communicate with Neural Process A via its signaling pattern and read it as a visual perception of a house without a quale occurring.
Now, Neural Process A’ (Figure 5.4) is another neural process that functions to produce a visual perception of the same house, but with Quale A’ (a quale of a visual perception of the house) occurring separately as an additional entity. The consciousness neural process will communicate with Neural Process A’ via its signaling pattern and read it as a visual perception of a house without a quale occurring because, functionally, Quale A’ occurs separately from Neural Process A’ as an additional entity, with separate functions and effects from those of Neural Process A’.
The problems of this possibility are as follows:
Figure 5.5 A quale as a separate, additional entity
#1. For the consciousness neural process to have a conscious experience and conscious awareness of Quale A’, it must read signals from Quale A’ and get into the signaling state that signals the conscious experience and conscious awareness of Quale A’ (Figure 5.5). But, signal-wise, a neural process does not have organelles or apparatuses to read anything except electrical or electrochemical signals of other neural processes. So, if Quale A’ is an additional entity occurring separately from its neural process, a new type of signals that is neither electrical nor electrochemical must be postulated for it, and new mechanisms for the consciousness neural process to read the signals that are of a new type and that are functionally separated from the neural process are needed. (This problem occurs from the necessity to fulfill the property PQ1.2., that is, a quale must be consciously experienceable, because in reality conscious awareness and a conscious experience of the quale do occur.)
#2. What is the exact nature of Quale A’? From the properties of qualia, listed at the beginning of this chapter, which Quale A’ must have, Quale A’ must be a non-material entity. But what is the exact nature of this non-material entity? Identifiable additional phenomena that occur with the neural process and that are non-material, such as changes in neural metabolism (e.g., heat generation, oxygen consumption, and intracellular biochemical reactions) and changes in regional blood circulation, are non-specific (i.e., they are similar in all neural processes) and thus cannot function variedly to be various types of qualia. Also, these additional phenomena do not have fast, dynamic, and information-intensive properties and are not readable by the consciousness neural process. So, they cannot be Quale A’. Thus, Quale A’ must be a novel entity, which requires a whole new set of laws governing its nature.
#3. How does Quale A’, which has to have fast, dynamic, and information-intensive properties, occur? If it is produced by the neural process, how does the neural process produce it? A neural process does not have organelles or apparatuses to produce anything that has fast, dynamic, and information–intensive characteristics, except its signaling pattern and signaling state (which are intrinsic parts of the neural process and thus cannot be Quale A’ by its definition).
Also, if Quale A’ occurs separately and additionally to its neural process, how can Quale A’ have information capacity and details identical to those of its specific neural processes? For example, if Quale A’ is a visual quale, how can Quale A’s capacity (i.e., visual field’s extent and color spectrum) and details (color, brightness, and velocity information of each and every pixel of the quale in the visual field) be identical to those of the visual perception neural process? And how can Quale A’, in a case of a dynamic quale such as a quale of a movie or of a song, always change identically and simultaneously with its neural process. Some novel mechanisms must exist to enable its neural process to always transfer its information capacity and details from itself to the functionally separate Quale A’ instantaneously and continuously. But, a neural process does not have organelles or apparatuses to transfer information to anything, except to other neural processes, via its signaling pattern.
In summary, what are the mechanisms that a certain neural process uses to create an additional, separate entity that has fast, dynamic, and information-intensive characteristics with information capacity and details instantaneously and continuously identical to those of itself?
In the case that Quale A’ is not produced by the neural process, what is the thing that produces it? If there is that thing, other questions will follow, such as where does that thing come from, what produces that thing, what are the characteristics of that thing, and how can that thing produce the quale? Or if Quale A’ occurs spontaneously out of nothing by itself, questions will also follow. For example, how can that be possible and, if it occurs spontaneously by itself, why does it have to occur only when it neural process starts functioning and disappear when it neural process stops functioning, and why does it have to change with its neural process? And if qualia in general occur spontaneously by themselves, how can their structures are always the same no matter where and when they occur (such as if visual qualia occur spontaneously by themselves, how can their structure [i.e., the number and types of components and the spectral characteristics] always be the same no matter in whom or when they occur) – what is the mechanism that keeps their structure invariant among billions of people?
#4. If Quale A’ and all qualia in general occur separately and additionally to their neural processes, how can they restrict their occurrences to only some kinds of neural processes (such as those in the final stages of sensory perception and in the highest-level cognitive and executive processes) and never occur in other kinds of neural processes (such as those in the early stages of sensory perception, basal ganglion processes, and cerebellar processes)? This is in contrast to other phenomena that occur separately and additionally to neural processes, such as changes in neural metabolism and changes in regional blood circulation, as described above. These separate, additional phenomena occur non-selectively in all neural processes. Therefore, there must be some mechanisms that determine and control their rigid selectivity in places of occurrence. What are these mechanisms?
#5. If Quale A’ and all qualia in general occur separately and additionally to their neural processes, how can they not be qualitatively uniform no matter where they occur; how can there be different kinds of qualia with different phenomenal characteristics – visual, auditory, emotional, thought, etc.? And how can each kind of qualia be specific in where they occur (visual qualia occur in only visual neural processes, auditory qualia occur in only auditory neural processes, emotional qualia occur in only emotional neural processes, etc.)? This is in contrast to other phenomena that occur separately and additionally to neural processes, such as changes in neural metabolism and changes in regional blood circulation, as described above. These separate, additional phenomena are similar in all neural processes – there are no different kinds of them for different neural processes. Therefore, there must be some mechanisms that generate different kinds of phenomenal characteristics of these qualia and control the specificity in their places of occurrences. What are these mechanisms?
It is evident that Possibility 1 – a quale functionally occurs separately from the neural process as an additional entity – has several critical questions that at present have no answers, and several additional hypotheses are needed to support this possibility.
5.1.2. Possibility 2: A quale occurs intrinsically in its neural process with no additional entity occurring.
If this is the case, a quale must be some intrinsically occurring entity in the neural process. This entity must be readable by the consciousness neural process and must be able to induce conscious awareness and a conscious experience of itself in the consciousness neural process (like possibility 1, it must fulfill the property PQ1.2., that is, a quale must be consciously experienceable – because conscious awareness and a conscious experience of the quale do occur in reality). Now, the only intrinsically occurring entity in a neural process that the consciousness neural process can read is the signaling pattern of that neural process. However, the consciousness neural process receives a lot of signaling patterns from various kinds of neural processes because it is an extensive network that has extensive connections [12-25], but not all of those signaling patterns can induce conscious awareness and conscious experiences of themselves in the consciousness neural process – only some of them can. Those that can must be different from those that cannot – they must be in some special forms that can induce conscious awareness and conscious experiences of themselves in the consciousness neural process. This theory will assign the term “special signaling patterns” to these special forms of signaling patterns that can induce conscious awareness and conscious experiences of themselves in the conscious neural process.
Definition: A special signaling pattern (SSP) is the neural process’s signaling pattern that can induce conscious awareness and a conscious experience of itself in the consciousness neural process.
Now, because a special signaling pattern (SSP) is an intrinsically occurring entity in the neural process, is readable by the consciousness neural process, and can induce conscious awareness and a conscious experience of itself in the consciousness neural process, it can be the entity that a quale is. The theory asserts this as Theorem IV:
Theorem IV: A quale is a special signaling pattern (SSP).
This is the specific form of Theorem IV. But, because a special signaling pattern is just a special form of signaling pattern, a quale is simply a special form of signaling pattern. Thus, the basic form of Theorem IV can be stated as:
Theorem IV: A quale is a special form of signaling pattern.
And because a signaling pattern of a neural process is the information of that neural process, a quale is a special form of information of a neural process.
Now, let’s examine how a special signaling pattern can be a quale.
Consider Neural Process A (Figure 5.6) that functions to produce a visual perception of a house without a quale occurring. The consciousness neural process will communicate with Neural Process A via its signaling pattern and read it as a visual perception of a house without a quale occurring.
Next, consider Neural Process A’ (Figure 5.7), which is another neural process that functions to produce a visual perception of a house with the quale of the visual perception of the house, Quale A’, occurring intrinsically in the neural process with no additional entity occurring. This means that Neural Process A’ must have a special signaling pattern (SSP), which is a different signaling pattern from that of Neural Process A. So, when the consciousness neural process reads this signaling pattern, it gets into the signaling state that signals the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of Quale A’. When the consciousness neural process is in this signaling state, the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of Quale A’ naturally occur. This is how a quale occurs intrinsically in the neural process with no additional entity occurring: by a neural process producing an SSP. And this is how conscious awareness and a conscious experience of a quale occur: by the consciousness neural process reading the SSP and then getting into the signaling state that signals the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of that quale.
But how can material electrical/electrochemical signals be qualia, which are non-material? The answer is that the electrical/electrochemical signals per se are not qualia; it is the patterns of the signals – the information or the abstract aspect of the signals – that are. But how can some signaling patterns be qualia? To answer this question, let’s consider the effects of the information of a neural process.
In Figure 5.8A, Neural process A has the information of blood level of sodium (Na), and it sends this information via its signaling pattern to other neural processes, such as the autonomic neural process, and the regulation of the blood level of sodium occurs. As there is no conscious awareness and experience of this information occurring, it means that the information cannot induce the occurrence of conscious awareness and experience of this information in any of the neural processes that receive the information, either because those neural processes cannot themselves get into signaling states that signal the conscious awareness and experience or because the information does not include the information that can induce or is not in the form that can induce the occurrences of such signaling states. If the consciousness neural process also receives this information, it definitely means that the information does not include the information that can induce or is not in the form that can induce the signaling state that signals the conscious awareness and experience of the information. Therefore, conscious awareness and experience do not and cannot occur in the case of Neural process A.
Figure 5.8 Effects of information of neural processes
Now, Neural process B has the information of a visual perception of a house together with the information of this visual quale. When it sends the whole information to the consciousness neural process via its signaling pattern, which in this case is a special signaling pattern (SSP), the consciousness neural process, after receiving the whole information, naturally gets into the signaling state that signals both the visual perception of the house and the conscious awareness and experience of the visual quale. The conscious awareness and experience of the quale unavoidably occur because the SSP can induce the conscious awareness and experience of the quale in the consciousness neural process.
Therefore, the answer to the question of how some signaling patterns can be qualia is that some signaling patterns (the SSPs) can induce the consciousness neural process into the signaling states that signal the conscious awareness and the conscious experiences of the qualia. When the consciousness neural process is signaling the conscious awareness and the conscious experiences of the qualia, the conscious awareness and the conscious experiences naturally occur. This is how the awareness and experiences of what the phenomenal characteristics are like (of what the red color is like, what the sound of note C is like, what the emotion of happiness is like, et.) occur.
In this universe, it is just that some signaling patterns of neural processes can be qualia, that some signaling states of a certain neural process (i.e., the consciousness neural process) can signal conscious awareness and conscious experiences of qualia, and that qualia can induce these signaling states to occur;**** it is all because of their fundamental nature. It is a brute fact. If we consider the matter in general, this is actually not very surprising or improbable. There have been countless kinds of neural processes with various kinds of signaling patterns and signaling states since the nervous system occurred in this world about 700 million years ago; it is quite possible that some of them evolved the capability to exhibit additional phenomena (like qualia, conscious awareness, and conscious experiences) that more primitive neural processes with more primitive signaling patterns and signaling states could not. There even is a possibility that some other kinds of mental phenomena that we do not know of yet and that may be even more fascinating than qualia, conscious awareness, and conscious experience already exist or will occur in other kinds of signaling patterns and signaling states of present or future neural processes.
(**** It remains to investigate what kinds of signaling pattern can generate phenomenal characteristics and what their characteristics are. Many neuroscientists are working on these issues, and interesting concepts and theories, such as information cycled through a hierarchy of networks in a resonant state , joint parietal-frontal-cingulate activation, cortico–cortical or thalamo–cortical γ-band oscillations, cortical neural synchronization or top-down recurrent, reentrant, or resonant activities between neural processes underlying conscious perception [26-36], the attractor activity in networks of pyramidal cells in the cerebral cortex [37-39], or the operational architectonics [40,41,42], are emerging. Other interesting theories of how qualia or subjective experiences occur are The Integrated Information Theory [4,43,44] and Attention Schema Theory [45,46].)
Now, if qualia are the SSPs of their neural processes, there are no contradictions occurring in regard to the required physical properties that qualia must have. This can be verified as follows:
PQ1.1. Because, basically, the SSPs are just signaling patterns of neural processes, they are inherently parts of signaling processing processes or parts of neural processes – as required. And because the SSPs are signaling patterns of neural processes, they are information of the neural processes and thus inherently parts of information processing processes or parts of mental processes – as required.
PQ1.2. The SSPs have phenomenal characteristics and are consciously experienceable. This can be proved as follows:
From PQ1.2. in the previous chapter, if an SSP has consciously experienceable phenomenal characteristics, physically it must
- be information about something that is not itself,
- not react with anything else other than the consciousness neural process,
- be able to induce the consciousness neural process into a unique signaling state,
- be readable by the consciousness neural process, and
- be able to induce the consciousness neural process into the signaling state that signals the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of itself.
Proof that the SSP has consciously experienceable phenomenal characteristics:
1. Because the SSP of a neural process is information about stimuli from the environment (such as light, sound, or tactile stimuli), from the body (such as proprioception, vestibular stimuli, or pain from internal organs), and from within the mind (such as emotion, thought, or memory), it is information about something. And because that “something” is always not itself, it is information about something that is not itself – as required. For example, the SSP of the quale red is the information about the 700-nm light, not about the SSP itself [Figure 5.9].
Figure 5.9 Information of a special signaling pattern
2. Because the SSP sends information to the consciousness neural process only, it cannot and does not react with anything else other than the consciousness neural process – as required.
3. Because the SSPs of various kinds of qualia (vision, sound, thought, emotion, etc.) are created by different kinds of neural processes in different areas of the brain (occipital cortex, temporal cortex, frontal cortex, amygdala, etc.) and because these different kinds of neural processes have different cytoarchitecture, different connections, and different receptors and neurotransmitters [47-69], each of these different kinds of neural processes creates a special signaling pattern that is characteristically unique and basically different from others. And when it is read by the consciousness neural process, it will appear unique (as vision, sound, emotion, etc.) and different from others. Thus, the SSP is able to induce the consciousness neural process into a unique signaling state, – as required. While differences in major patterns of special signaling patterns create different kinds of qualia with major differences in experiential characteristics (vision, sound, thought, emotion, etc.), differences in minor patterns create minor differences (or differences in detail) of the same kind of qualia (different images of visual qualia, different sounds of auditory qualia, different emotions of emotion qualia, etc.). With the estimated 100 to 1,000 trillion synaptic connections in the brain [70,71] and with signaling patterns that involve both spatial and temporal permutation of signals passing through these multitude synapses [72,73], even a portion of the whole neural circuits of the brain can create virtually infinite numbers of different special signaling patterns that can represent virtually anything in the world and result in virtually infinite qualia that we experience in our lives. Therefore, the SSPs have the capacity to represent everything that we experience in our lives.
4 & 5. Because, by definition, the SSP can induce the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of itself in the consciousness neural process, the SSP is readable by the consciousness neural process and is able to induce the consciousness neural process into the signaling state that signals the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of itself – as required.
PQ2.1. Because any signaling patterns of neural processes are information of the neural processes, the SSPs are information of their neural processes and thus non-material – intangible, no mass, no size, and no shape – as required.
PQ2.2. Because the activities of any signaling patterns of neural processes are fast, dynamic, and information-intensive by their nature, the activities of SSPs are fast, dynamic, and information-intensive – as required.
PQ2.3. Because the SSPs consistently occur and exist whenever their neural processes function (because their neural processes will create their SSPs whenever they function) and because the SSPs consistently disappear whenever their neural processes stop functioning (because their neural processes will not create their SSPs when they do not function), the SSPs’ occurrences are from and their existence is with their specific neural processes, and both are consistent – as required.
PQ2.4. Because the SSPs can occur in only the neural processes that can produce SSPs, they do not and cannot occur randomly in the brain but occur and have to occur selectively in only the neural processes that can produce SSPs. This explains the selectivity in places of occurrences – as required. And because each specific neural process produces only its specific SSP, each specific SSP occurs with its specific neural process only. For example, a color-perception neural process produces a specific SSP that is the color-perception quale, and no other neural processes produce this specific SSP, so this specific SSP occurs with the color-perception neural process only. This explains specificity in places of occurrences – as required.
PQ2.5. Because neural processes have limited ranges of information, such as limited color spectrum ranges and limited sound spectrum ranges, that they can encode in their signaling patterns, the SSPs’ capacities, or ranges of information, are limited – as required. And because the ranges of information of signaling patterns of neural processes are identical to those of their neural processes (because signaling patterns do not have other sources of information), the SSPs’ ranges of information are identical to those of their neural processes – as required.
PQ2.6. Because all the details, including spectral characteristics#, of information encoded in the signaling patterns are determined by their neural processes and identical to those of their neural processes, all the details, including spectral characteristics, of information in the SSPs are determined by their neural processes, definite, and identical to those of their neural processes – as required. Also, because the number and types of basic SSPs for any kind of quale (such as the number of basic SSPs for a visual quale is 6, and the types of basic SSPs for a visual quale are always for color, brightness, shape, dimension, acuity, and velocity) are determined by the number and types of neural processes that produce them and because the number and types of such neural processes are fixed and definite, the number and types of basic SSPs for any kind of quale are fixed and definite. Overall, because the spectral characteristics of information in SSPs and the number and types of basic SSPs for any kind of quale are definite, the structure of SSPs for any kind of qualia are definite – as required.
(# See more details about spectral characteristics and number-and-type of components and structure of qualia in section PQ2.6. in the last chapter.)
PQ2.7. Because signaling patterns are parts of the signal-processing processes, which are the neural processes, it is inevitable that the SSPs change identically and simultaneously with their neural processes – as required.
PQ2.8. Because the SSPs are signaling patterns of neural processes and because interactions of neural processes’ signaling patterns depend on and occur via their neural process synapses, the SSPs’ interactions depend on and are via their neural processes – as required.
For other, non-physical properties that some philosophers believe are the properties of qualia, such as being private, subjective, representational, intentional, ineffable [74-77], the SSPs have these properties too. If it can be proved that qualia have these properties, then it can be proved in the same way that the SSPs also have these properties because the SSPs contain the same information and has the same connections to and the same effects on other neural processes/mental processes as qualia do. For example, if a quale is a representation of something, the SSP is certainly a representation of that thing as well because they have the same information. Also, any signaling pattern is certainly being private and subjective – experienceable by only the subject who is having that signaling pattern – because a certain signaling pattern occurs in only the subject who is having it. And, all signaling patterns are ineffable because there are no sensory apparatuses and no neural circuits that are built to get information about what signaling patterns themselves are. (All neural circuits are built to get the information that the signaling patterns contain, which is information about something else, such as visual information of the 700-nm light, auditory information of the musical note C, or emotional information of anger. No neural circuits are built to get information about what the signaling patterns themselves physically are.) Therefore, with no information about the signaling patterns themselves, all the signaling patterns are ineffable. (Please see related discussion about this matter in PQ1.2 above and PQ1.2.-A in the previous chapter.)
Finally, to be noted is that if one insists that a quale is something else, let’s say Q, that is not the SSP of the neural process, then there must be some properties that Q has but the SSP lacks that makes Q able to be the quale while excluding the SSP. No such properties are identifiable now. At present, all the evidence is that all the identifiable properties of a quale are identically the properties of the SSP, and the SSP can account for all the quale manifestations. Most importantly for Q, which is not an electrical/electrochemical signaling pattern, however, are how can the consciousness neural process read Q’s signals and how can Q induce the consciousness process into the signaling state that signals the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of itself, which is the must for all qualia? All neural processes have evolved to read, operate, and send only electrical/electrochemical signals, after all. That is the remarkable fact of neural processing. Therefore, this theory asserts that a quale is a special form of signaling pattern of a neural process.
A quale is thus neither a new physical entity nor a novel non-physical entity but is just an under-recognized part of the well-recognized physical entity – it is just the signaling pattern of a neural process or just the information part of a physical process. Because there is no information to describe it except the experience that it creates in the consciousness, it is indescribable or ineffable. Also, because it is a signaling pattern or information, it is a functional abstract entity, not the conventional physical entities like mass, energy, or forces. Like mental processes, therefore, qualia are in the functional abstract category, a different category from that of the conventional physical entities.
Let’s pause and recheck here what we have found out up to this point about the nature of the mind, mental processes, and qualia. From Theorem II and this theorem (Theorem IV), it has been found that
- The mind is the information-processing part of the brain.
- Mental processes are information-processing processes of their neural processes.
- Qualia are special forms of information (or special forms of signaling patterns) of their neural processes.
All of them – the mind, the mental processes, and the qualia – are functional abstract entities, not the conventional physical entities like mass, energy, or forces. They thus belong in the functional abstract category, not the conventional physical category that mass, energy, and forces belong. That is why they are intangible and so different from the conventional physical entities.
“If we look around and consciously experience the vision occurring right in front of us now, with the fact that the consciousness can be aware of this vision and that the only things the consciousness neural process is capable of reading are signaling patterns of neural processes, it is inescapable to conclude that we are in fact experiencing the signaling patterns of neural processes!”
5.2. The nature of conscious awareness and conscious experience
Next, let’s examine the nature of conscious awareness and conscious experience.
As discussed in 5.1.2., when the consciousness neural process reads the signaling pattern of the neural process that has Quale A’, it gets into the signaling state that signals the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of Quale A’, and when the consciousness neural process is in this signaling state, the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of Quale A’ naturally occur. This is because the consciousness neural process is signaling nothing else but the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of Quale A’, so it is the conscious awareness and the conscious experience of Quale A’, not anything else, that are to occur.
But what is the nature of the conscious awareness and the conscious experience? Are they separate entities from the consciousness neural process or intrinsic entities in the consciousness neural process? We can investigate this matter similarly to what we did in the investigation of the nature of quale in section 5.1 previously. Let’s investigate conscious awareness first. Suppose the conscious awareness is an entity that occurs separately and additionally to the consciousness neural process as in Figure 5.10.
If this is the case, we will run into similar problems that possibility 1 in section 5.1.1 encounters, as follows:
#1. What is the nature of this conscious awareness?
#2. How can it occur? If it occurs from the consciousness neural process, how does the consciousness neural process produce it? A neural process does not have organelles or apparatuses to produce anything that can contain signals or information, except its signaling pattern or signaling state. But if it does not occur from the consciousness neural process, what is the entity that produces it and what is the nature of this entity? And if the conscious awareness occurs out of nothing by itself, how can it do that? How can it know when to appear and when to disappear?
#3. How can this separate conscious awareness get the information of the Quale A’ from the consciousness neural process so that it can be conscious awareness of Quale A’?
#4. How can the consciousness neural process read the signals from this separate conscious awareness so that it can be aware of this conscious awareness? If conscious awareness is an entity that occurs separately from the neural process, its signals cannot be electrical/ electrochemical signals and must be something else. What is the nature of these signals, and how can the consciousness neural process read signals that are not electrical/electrochemical signals and that are functionally separate from it? A neural process does not have organelles or apparatuses to read anything that is signal or information, except electrical/electro-chemical signaling patterns of other neural processes.
It is evident that the possibility that conscious awareness is an entity that occurs separately and additionally to the consciousness neural process has several critical questions that at present have no answers, and several additional hypotheses are needed to support this possibility. This is also true for the case that a conscious experience is an entity that occurs separately and additionally to the consciousness neural process.
But if the conscious awareness of Quale A’ occurs intrinsically in the consciousness neural process as in Figure 5.11, what is its nature?
The nature of the conscious awareness can be found from its physical properties as follows:
- Because it must be the information of the conscious awareness of Quale A’, it must be a signaling state or a signaling pattern in the consciousness neural process that is reading Quale A’ (because information is in a signaling state or a signaling pattern).
- Because the consciousness neural process can be consciously aware of the conscious awareness of Quale A’, the conscious awareness of Quale A’ itself must be a quale. This means that the signals of conscious awareness of Quale A’ must be a special signaling pattern.
- Because the conscious awareness of Quale A’ has conscious awareness of itself and because the conscious awareness of the conscious awareness of Quale A’ also has conscious awareness of itself and so on, this means the conscious awareness of Quale A’ must be in the signaling state of sending its signals back to itself for the reentrant awareness to occur repeatedly.
Now, the only thing in the consciousness neural process that can have these three properties is the reentrant signaling state of the consciousness neural process. This signaling state occurs after the consciousness neural process reads the signal from Quale A’, processes the signals, creates a special signaling pattern that represents primary conscious awareness of Quale A’, loops these signals back to itself to create the secondary conscious awareness of the primary conscious awareness, then loops the signals of the secondary conscious awareness back to itself to create tertiary conscious awareness again and so on until the final conscious awareness that represents the unified conscious awareness of Quale A’ and of its awareness of Quale A’ results. The final reentrant signaling state thus is the information of the unified conscious awareness of Quale A’ and of its awareness of Quale A’.
Thus, it is logical to conclude that conscious awareness is just a reentrant signaling state of the consciousness neural process. The nature of a conscious experience can be found in the same way to also be another kind of reentrant signaling state of the consciousness neural process. Both of these reentrant signaling states differ from others reentrant signaling states that may occur in other neural processes  in that they (the reentrant signaling states of conscious awareness and conscious experiences) have reentering of special signaling patterns (because conscious awareness and experiences themselves are qualia) in their circuits while other reentrant signaling states do not have special signaling patterns reentering in their circuits. Basically, however, both conscious awareness and conscious experiences are just special kinds of signaling states. Thus, while a quale is a special kind of information because it is a special kind of signaling pattern, conscious awareness and conscious process are also special kinds of information because they are special kinds of signaling states. These matters will be summarized as a theorem in the next chapter when other aspects of consciousness are discussed.
5.3. Qualia: the products of evolved neural processes.
As all neural processes in the more primitive parts of the brain, such as the brainstem, cerebellum, and basal ganglia, do not have qualia while some neural processes in the latest-evolved parts of the brain, such as some parts of the neocortex, have qualia, the qualia are evidently the products of evolved neural processes. As there are physical differences between the more primitive neural processes that do not have qualia and the more evolved neural processes that have qualia , some physical differences between the two categories of neural processes are likely to be the determining factors for the qualia to occur. It is very probable that some specific physical characteristics have evolved in neural processes and resulted in specific kinds of neural processes that can generate SSPs, or qualia. Whenever these evolved neural processes function, the SSPs always occur, so will qualia. This explains the consistency of qualia’s occurrences, which was discussed in section PQ2.3. in the previous chapter.
5.4. Effects of qualia
5.4.1. Do qualia have any effects or are they just inert mental phenomena, without any effects whatsoever?
There are two ways to find this answer. They both lead to the same answer.
1. Consider Neural Process A (Figure 5.12) that functions to produce a visual perception of a house without a quale occurring. Compare it with Neural Process A’ (Figure 5.13) that functions similarly (i.e., to produce a visual perception of a house) but with Quale A’ (a quale of a visual perception of a house) occurring.
Like the previous discussion about the neural processes in Figure 5.6 and Figure 5.7, there certainly are differences between the signaling pattern of Neural Process A and that of Neural Process A’ because Neural Process A does not have the special signaling pattern while Neural Process A’ does. Therefore, physical effects of both neural processes on the consciousness neural processes and other neural processes must be different too, at least from the processing of different signals. Thus, a neural process that has a quale has different physical effects from a neural process that does the same function but does not have a quale. So, a quale must have some physical effects.
2. Consider Neural process A and the consciousness neural process in Figure 5.12. As there is only a visual perception occurs in the consciousness neural process. The information in this consciousness neural process will consist only of the visual perception. But Neural process A’ in Figure 5.13 functions similarly (i.e., to produce a visual perception of a house) but with Quale A’ (a quale of a visual perception of a house) occurring. When the consciousness neural process reads the signal from Neural process A’ and Quale A’, not only the visual perception but also conscious awareness and experience of Quale A’ will occur in this consciousness neural process. The conscious awareness and experience are additional information that the consciousness neural process in Figure 5.12 does not have. A different signaling state must occur in the consciousness neural process in Figure 5.13 to represent this new information. So, there is a difference between the signaling state of this consciousness neural process and that of the one in Figure 5.12. Therefore, a quale must have physical effects, at least in causing a different signaling state (to represent the conscious awareness and experiences of it) to occur in the consciousness neural process.
5.4.2. What are the physical effects that occur from qualia?
As qualia occur in the final stages of sensory perception and the highest-level cognitive and executive mental processes only, it is probable that qualia evolved to augment functions of these important mental processes, such as to augment effects of sensory perception or emotion mental processes so that they have more effects on other mental processes such as thought mental processes or autonomic system. Evidently, these augmented effects must yield some beneficial edges to the animals that possess qualia, such as (definitely) humans and (probably) high-level animals (other mammals, birds, reptiles, etc. ), because they seem to be thriving in the evolutionary process.
5.4.3. But why does it have to be qualia to gain these augmented effects?
Actually, before augmentation of mental processes by creating qualia emerged in the nervous system, the nervous system had been augmenting its functions with other means all along since it appeared: by developing more and more complex and more and more capable nervous system. From a pre-nervous system with scattered neuron-like cells (such as in sponges) to a primitive nerve net (such as in cnidaria) to a primitive nerve cord with primitive nerve ganglia (such as in flatworms) to a nervous system with primitive brain (such as in gastropoda, e.g., molluscs) to a nervous system with primitive cerebral cortex (such as in vertebrata, e.g., lamprey) to a nervous system with highly developed cerebral cortex (human beings), the nervous system has evolved to be more complex and more capable throughout the time, notwithstanding the absence or presence of qualia. Even after qualia had emerged in the cerebral cortex by evolving new neural circuitries and special signaling patterns, other parts of the cerebral cortex that functioned without qualia occurring did not stop evolving: they have been continuing to evolve to be more complex and more capable , resulting in higher intelligence, more language facilities, more manual skill abilities, etc. Even the cerebellum and other parts of the brain have proved to continue to co-evolve with the cerebral cortex [82,83,84] (which is most likely the seat of qualia) all the time, even if they do not have any qualia occurring in any of their neural processes.
Creation of qualia is just one possible path in the nervous system evolution. Qualia emerged in this world simply because, at some stage in the nervous system evolution, it was possible – the neural processes had advanced enough to evolve the new kinds of neural processes that were capable of producing signaling patterns that are qualia. After qualia began to appear in this world, they have been selected to persist up to the present time, possibly because they yield some advantages to the animals that have them. And qualia emerged because of no other causes than evolution; that is why it took more than two billion years after life had appeared on earth and hundreds of millions of years after the nervous system had emerged before they could evolve into existence.
It remains to be seen whether creating qualia is the end of this evolutionary path or whether neural processes with qualia can evolve further into new kinds of neural processes with new kinds of mental phenomena that may be even more fascinating than qualia. It remains to be seen, also, whether non-qualia superintelligences (i.e., superintelligences without qualia) rivaling or exceeding human intelligence (which has qualia) can evolve into existence in some animals in the far future. Actually, this kind of development is already progressing rapidly now in a non-living entity: a supercomputer without qualia, which is now able to solve complex mathematical problems that a human can never finish in his/her lifetime and beat its own master at complex intelligent games, such as chess or Go. Someday, this type of super-computer – which does not have qualia – may become the ultimate supercomputers that are more intelligent and more capable of dealing with all problems better than their own masters, humans – who have qualia. If we consider the powerful capabilities of the cerebellum, which can process billions of signals and control millions of muscle fibers accurately in milliseconds without qualia occurring in their processes but can result in such marvelous motor feats as those performed by skillful gymnasts and masterly musicians, it is reasonable to speculate that some animals can possibly develop non-qualia super-intelligence and capabilities like those of the ultimate supercomputers too. The generation of qualia is not the necessary path or the most effective path, but just one possible path, in augmenting the nervous system functions.
5.4.4. Then, why not augment all mental processes with qualia? Why augment only some mental processes?
As qualia occur only in the final stages of sensory perception and the highest-level cognitive and executive mental processes, which are crucial mental processes for surviving in the complex world, it is possible that qualia evolved to augment functions of these crucial mental processes. Evidently, the lower mental processes, such as those in the basal ganglia, brain stem, and cerebellum, are able to perform their routine functions efficiently already without qualia. Qualia in these mental processes may thus be unnecessary and even disadvantageous because some resources must be diverted to create, maintain, and operate them. Therefore, the answer to this question is that qualia exist in only some mental processes and not in some mental processes because in some mental processes they are beneficial while in some mental processes they are not and maybe even disadvantageous.
5.5. The hard problem of qualia
The hard problem of qualia is like the hard problem of consciousness [1,8,11,28,85-87] in that it is not expected to be answered by scientific investigations alone. Some novel basic concepts are needed to explain it. These concepts have been developed from the first chapter up to this section and can now be used to answer this problem. The hard problem of qualia actually consists of several questions as follows:
5.5.1. What are qualia?
Qualia are the special signaling patterns of neural processes, which are signaling patterns in special forms that can induce the consciousness neural process into the state that signals the conscious awareness and conscious experience of the qualia, with the awareness of the qualia’s occurrence and of what the qualia are like occurring. When the consciousness neural process is in this state, conscious awareness and conscious experience of the qualia naturally occur.
5.5.2. Why do qualia exist?
Qualia exist in this universe because it is fundamentally possible to have them in this universe. And they exist in the nervous system – in the special signaling patterns of neural processes – because, in this universe, it is fundamental in the neural signaling patterns’ nature that some kinds of them are qualia: some kinds of neural signaling patterns in this universe can induce the consciousness neural process into the state that signals the conscious awareness and conscious experience of the qualia. It is a brute fact. Nature has been producing innumerable kinds of signaling patterns; some of them simply are qualia. It is possible that there are other kinds of phenomena that are even more fascinating than qualia occurring in some animals already or going to occur in some animals in the future. Whether qualia exist in other signaling patterns, such as signaling patterns of electronic circuits in computers or robots, or in other non-signaling processes, such as weather systems, population systems, or dynamic energetic processes in the star, remains to be investigated.
5.5.3. Why do qualia occur?
Qualia occurred because, at some evolutionary stage about 520 – 315 million years ago, it was possible for the nervous system, which was advanced enough then, to evolve new kinds of neural processes that were capable of producing special signaling patterns that were qualia.## Thus, qualia occurred simply because it was evolutionarily possible for them to occur.
(## Approximately, life began 3.5 billion years ago, and primitive nervous system arose about 700 million years ago [in Cnidaria][88-90]. Between 550 and 525 MYa, we see the first fossil appearances of many animal innovations, including eyes , and nervous system complex enough to generate qualia arose around 520 million years ago [in primitive vertebrates][88-90,92] or around 315 million years ago [if in more advanced vertebrates].)
Qualia still occur today because there are neural processes that are capable of producing them functioning. Evidently, that these kinds of neural processes still exist today means that they have been preserved in the evolutionary process since they appeared in this world. This, in turn, implies that these kinds of neural processes, which produce qualia, must yield some beneficial functions that increase the chance of survival of the species that possess them. Thus, qualia still occur today because they must somehow help increase the chance of survival of the species that possess them.
5.5.4. How do qualia occur?
Qualia occur by the functioning of neural circuits. Specifically, they occur by neural circuits circulating their signals in some special signaling patterns. These special signaling patterns themselves are qualia – no additional entities to be qualia are created. The exact characteristics of these special signaling patterns are being actively investigated by neuroscientists.
5.5.5. When do qualia occur?
As discussed in 5.5.3., qualia occurred in this world around 520 – 315 million years ago when the nervous system was advanced enough to evolve neural circuits that were able to produce special signaling patterns that were qualia. After that, qualia occur whenever neural circuits circulate their signals in some special signaling patterns.
5.5.6. Why can there not be just mental processes without qualia?
There can be just mental processes without qualia, and this had been the case for a long time – hundreds of millions of years – since the nervous system had appeared on this planet to the time that evolving neural processes became advanced enough to produce qualia. When that time came, qualia emerged simply because it was possible. It is only after that time that there are mental processes with qualia.
5.5.7. Why can SSPs not be qualia but still preserve the same augmenting effects?
Because they cannot do that. If SSPs are qualia (which they indeed are), they induce the consciousness neural process into particular signaling states that signal conscious awareness of the qualia (Figure 5.14 A.). The conscious awareness and experience of the qualia are what that have the augmenting effects.
Figure 5.14 Effects of a SSP with and without a quale
If they are not qualia, they will not induce the consciousness neural process into these particular signaling states and the conscious awareness and conscious experiences of the qualia will not occur (Figure 5.14 B.). Consequently, the augmenting effects from conscious awareness and experience of the qualia will not occur. Thus, the augmenting effects cannot occur if the conscious awareness and conscious experiences of the qualia do not occur because SSPs are not qualia in the first place.
“Basically, all qualia that we have – all what the color red is like, what the sound of note C is like, what the happiness is like, what the thinking is like, what the memory is like– are here simply because it was possible to have them in this universe and for them to come into existence at some evolutionary time, and they are still here because they have helped us in our survival.
Qualia are here to help us survive.”
- A quale can be created, identified, measured qualitatively and quantitatively, monitored, changed, or destroyed by performing the respective action to only the SSP of the neural process of that quale. These actions to the SSP are both necessary and sufficient for the respective actions on the quale to occur, and these actions on anything else without having the actions on the SSP will not result in the actions on the quale. Experimentally, isolated actions on the SSP, without having actions on anything else, can be done by electrical stimulations, magnetic stimulations, and pharmacologic agents that have effects on only the SSP.
- In any event or experiment, all predictions that are true for the SSP of the neural process of a quale, such as that the SSP will occur, change, or disappear, will be simultaneously true for the quale of that SSP, and the changes that occur in the SSP and that occur in the quale of that SSP will be identical in quality, quantity, and temporal pattern. For example, if the SSP changes its pattern abruptly from being visual signals of the static, faint, homogenous red color to being visual signals of the dynamic, vivid, complex movie, the changes in the quale will be simultaneous and identical in quality, quantity, and temporal pattern (i.e., identical changes from homogeneous to complex [quality], from faint to vivid [quantity], and abruptly from static to dynamic [temporal pattern]).
- Regarding the neural processes that have qualia, it will be found that they have signaling patterns that are SSPs, which have categorically different characteristics from those of signaling patterns of neural processes that do not have qualia.
- It will be found that signaling patterns of different kinds of qualia, such as visual qualia, auditory qualia, and emotion qualia, are significantly different from each other but that they have some principal features in common and that the difference between them are not as much as the difference between them and signaling patterns that are not qualia. And it will be found that signaling patterns that represent different things but that are of the same kind of qualia, such as a signaling pattern of a visual quale of the color red and that of a visual quale of the color blue, are different in minor patterns but similar in major patterns.
It is to be noted that the kind of idea that the signaling pattern of a neural process is a quale is not a novel one. The idea that patterns of neural processes correlate with qualia has been in existence for some time. For more details of the background of this idea, please see ref 3,94,95. This theory just proves it explicitly and specifically that it is the special signaling pattern that is the quale, and this theory states it definitely as a theorem so that its implications can be discerned easily and that it can be the clear target for tests and verification experiments in the future.
- Loorits K. Structural qualia: A solution to the hard problem of consciousness. Front Psychol. 2014;5:237. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3957492/
- Oizumi M, Albantakis L, Tononi G. From the phenomenology to the mechanisms of consciousness: Integrated Information Theory 3.0. PLoS Comput Biol. 2014 May;10(5):e1003588. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4014402/pdf/pcbi.1003588.pdf
- Orpwood R. Information and the Origin of Qualia. Front Syst Neurosci. 2017Apr;11(Article 22):1-16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5399078/pdf/fnsys-11-00022.pdf
- Tononi G. Integrated information theory of consciousness: An updated account. Arch Ital Biol. 2012 Jun-Sep;150(2-3):290-326. http://www.architalbiol.org/aib/article/view/15056/23165867
- Tononi G, Koch C. Consciousness: Here, there and everywhere? Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2015 May;370(1668):20140167. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387509/
- Tressoldi P, Facco E, Lucangeli D. Emergence of qualia from brain activity or from an interaction of protoconsciousness with the brain: Which one is the weirder? Available evidence and a research agenda. ScienceOpen Research. 2016 Aug. DOI: 10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-SOCSCI.AY054B.v1. Retrieved 2017 Nov 12 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309349759_Emergence_of_qualia_from_brain_activity_or_from_an_interaction_of_proto-consciousness_with_the_brain_which_one_is_the_weirder_Available_evidence_and_a_research_agenda
- Block N. Comparing the major theories of consciousness. In: Gazzaniga MS, editor. The Cognitive Neurosciences (Chap 77). 4th ed., Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2009:1111–1122. https://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/Theories_of_Consciousness.pdf
- Chalmers DJ. Facing up to the problem of consciousness. J Conscious Stud. 1995;2(3):200-219. http://consc.net/papers/facing.html
- Chalmers DJ. Consciousness and its place in nature. In: Chalmers DJ, editor. Philosophy of mind: Classical and contemporary readings. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0195145816 ISBN-10: 019514581X. Retrieved 2017 Sep 20 from http://consc.net/papers/nature.html
- Gennaro RJ. Consciousness. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2017 Apr 18 from http://www.iep.utm.edu/consciou/
- Van Gulick R. Consciousness. Zalta EN, editor. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition). Retrieved 2017 Sep 8 from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/consciousness
- Andrews-Hanna JR. The brain’s default network and its adaptive role in internal mentation. 2012 Jun;18(3):251–270. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3553600/
- Baars BJ. Chapter Ten. The functions of consciousness. In: A cognitive theory of consciousness. NY: Cambridge University Press; 1988. Retrieved 2017 Aug 5 from http://bernardbaars.pbworks.com/f/++++Functions+of+Consciousness.pdf
- Baars BJ. How does a serial, integrated and very limited stream of consciousness emerge from a nervous system that is mostly unconscious, distributed, parallel and of enormous capacity? Ciba Found Symp. 1993;174:282-290;discussion 291-303.
- Baars BJ. Global workspace theory of consciousness: Toward a cognitive neuroscience of human experience. Prog Brain Res. 2005;150:45-53. https://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/ahyvarin/teaching/niseminar4/Baars2004.pdf
- Baars BJ, Franklin S, Ramsoy TZ. Global workspace dynamics: Cortical “Binding and propagation” enables conscious contents. Front Psychol. 2013;4:200. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664777/
- Buckner RL, Andrews-Hanna JR, Schacter DL. The brain’s default network: anatomy, function, and relevance to disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Mar;1124:1-38. http://www.nslc.wustl.edu/courses/Bio3411/woolsey/Readings/Lecture11/Buckner et al 2008.pdf
- Calster LV, D’Argembeau A, Salmon E, Peters F, Majerus S. Fluctuations of attentional networks and default mode network during the resting state reflect variations in cognitive states: Evidence from a novel resting-state experience sampling method. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2017 Jan;29(1):95-113. http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/full/10.1162/jocn_a_01025
- Dehaene S, Naccache L. Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: Basic evidence and a workspace framework. Cognition. 2001 Apr;79(1-2):1-37. https://www.jsmf.org/meetings/2003/nov/Dehaene_Cognition_2001.pdf
- Dehaene S, Changeux JP. Experimental and theoretical approaches to conscious processing. 2011 Apr;70(2):200-227. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627311002583
- Hagmann P, Cammoun L, Gigandet X, Meuli R, Honey CJ, Wedeen VJ, et al. Mapping the structural core of human cerebral cortex. doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0060159. Retrieved 2017 Aug 18 from http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.0060159
- Raichle ME, MacLeod AM, Snyder AZ, Powers WJ, Gusnard DA, Shulman GL. A default mode of brain function. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jan;98(2):676–682. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC14647/
- Sergent C, Dehaene S. Neural processes underlying conscious perception: experimental findings and a global neuronal workspace framework. J Physiol Paris. 2004 Jul-Nov;98(4-6):374-384. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ae61/178a998b4e08851af8ba80e7815fd2c9e6d9.pdf
- Song X, Tang X. An extended theory of global workspace of consciousness.Progress in Natural Science. 2008 Jul;18(7):789–793. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S100200710800138X
- Sporns O. Structure and function of complex brain networks. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2013 Sep;15(3):247–262. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3811098/
- Babiloni C, Marzano N, Soricelli A, Cordone S, Millán–Calenti JC, Percio CD, Buján A. Cortical neural synchronization underlies primary visual consciousness of qualia: Evidence from event–related potentials. Front Hum Neurosci. 2016;10:310. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4927634/
- Boly M, Seth AK, Wilke M, Ingmundson P, Baars B, Laureys S, et al. Consciousness in humans and non-human animals: Recent advances and future directions. Front Psychol. 2013;4:625. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3814086/
- Brogaard B, Gatzia DE. What can neuroscience tell us about the hard problem of consciousness? Front Neurosci. 2016;10:395. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5013033/
- Buzsáki G. Neural syntax: Cell assemblies, synapsembles and readers. Neuron. 2010 Nov;68(3):362–385. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3005627/
- Dehaene S, Sergent C, Changeux JP. A neuronal network model linking subjective reports and objective physiological data during conscious perception. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Jul 8;100(14):8520–8525. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC166261/
- Edelman GM, Gally JA. Reentry: A key mechanism for integration of brain function. Front Integr Neurosci. 2013;7:63. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753453/
- Engel AK, Singer W. Temporal binding and the neural correlates of sensory awareness. Trends in Cognitive Science. 2001 Jan;5(1):16-25. http://andreas-engel.com/engel_2001_tics.pdf
- Fisch L, Privman E, Ramot M, Harel M, Nir Y, Kipervasser S, et al. Neural “Ignition”: Enhanced activation linked to perceptual awareness in human ventral stream visual cortex. Neuron. 2009 Nov 25;64(4):562–574. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854160/
- Martinovic J, Busch NA. High frequency oscillations as a correlate of visual perception. Int J Psychophysiol. 2011 Jan;79(1):32-38.
- Pollen DA. On the neural correlates of visual perception. Cereb Cortex. 1999;9(1):4-19. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/9.1.4. https://academic.oup.com/cercor/article/9/1/4/314915/On-the-Neural-Correlates-of-Visual-Perception
- van Gaal S, Lamme VA. Unconscious high-level information processing: Implication for neurobiological theories of consciousness. Neuroscientist. 2012 Jun;18(3):287-301. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1073858411404079
- Orpwood R. Neurobiological mechanisms underlying qualia. J Integr Neurosci. 2007 Dec;6(4):523-540.
- Orpwood RD. Perceptual qualia and local network behavior in the cerebral cortex. J Integr Neurosci. 2010 Jun;9(2):123-152.
- Orpwood R. Qualia could arise from information processing in local cortical networks. Front Psychol. 2013;4:121. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3596736/
- Fingelkurts AA, Fingelkurts AA. Operational architectonics of the human brain biopotential field – Towards solving the mind-brain Problem. Brain and Mind. 2001;2(3):261-296. https://www.bm-science.com/team/art18.pdf
- Fingelkurts AA, Fingelkurts AA, Neves CFH. Phenomenological architecture of a mind and operational architectonics of the brain: The unified metastable continuum. New mathematics and natural computation. 2009;5(1):2212-2244. https://www.bm-science.com/team/art53.pdf
- Fingelkurts AA, Fingelkurts AA, Neves CFH. Consciousness as a phenomenon in the operational architectonics of brain organization: Criticality and self-organization considerations. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals. 2013 Oct;55:13-31.
- Balduzzi D, Tononi G. Qualia: The geometry of integrated information. Friston KJ, editor. PLoS Comput Biol. 2009 Aug;5(8):e1000462. http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000462
- Oizumi M, Albantakis L, Tononi G. From the phenomenology to the mechanisms of consciousness: Integrated Information Theory 3.0. PLoS Comput Biol. 2014 May;10(5):e1003588. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4014402/pdf/pcbi.1003588.pdf
- Graziano MSA,Webb TW. The attention schema theory: A mechanistic account of subjective awareness. Front Psychol. 2015;6:500. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4407481/
- Graziano MSA. Consciousness and the social brain. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2015. ISBN 978-0-19-026319-5.
- Amunts K, Zilles K. Architectonic mapping of the human brain beyond Brodmann. Neuron. 2015 Dec;88:1086-1113. http://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(15)01072-7
- Anderson LA, Christianson GB, Linden JF. Mouse auditory cortex differs from visual and somatosensory cortices in the laminar distribution of cytochrome oxidase and acetylcholinesterase. Brain Res. 2009 Feb;1252:130-142.
- Arslan S, Ktena SI, Makropoulos A, Robinson EC, Rueckert D, Parisot S. Human brain mapping: A systematic comparison of parcellation methods for the human cerebral cortex. Neuroimage. 2017 Apr 13. pii: S1053–8119(17)30302–6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.04.014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28412442
- Bartels A, Zekis S. The chronoarchitecture of the cerebral cortex. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2005 Apr 29;360(1456):733–750. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1569482/
- Cohen AL, Fair DA, Dosenbach NUF, Miezin FM, Dierker D, Van Essen DC, et al. Defining functional areas in individual human brains using resting functional connectivity MRI. Neuroimage. 2008 May;41(1):45–57. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2705206/
- Geyer S, Weiss M, Reimann K, Lohmann G, Turner R. Microstructural parcellation of the human cerebral cortex – from Brodmann’s post-mortem map to in vivo mapping with high-field magnetic resonance imaging. Front Hum Neurosci. 2011;5: 19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044325/
- Glasser MF, Coalson TS, Robinson EC, Hacker CD, Harwell J, Essa Yacoub E, et al. A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex. Nature. 2016 Aug;536(7615):171–178. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4990127/
- Harris KD, Shepherd GMG. The neocortical circuit: Themes and variations. Nat Neurosci. 2015 Feb;18(2):170–181. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4889215/
- Hof PR, Chanis R, Marino L. Cortical Complexity in Cetacean Brains. The anatomical record. Part A, Discoveries in molecular, cellular, and evolutionary biology. 2005 Nov;287:1142-1152.
- James GA, Hazaroglu O, Bush KA. A human brain atlas derived via n-cut parcellation of resting-state and task-based fMRI data. Magn Reson Imaging. 2016 Feb;34(2):209–218. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4837649/
- Newton JR, Sur M. Rewiring cortex: Functional plasticity of the auditory cortex during development. Retrieved 2017 Oct 24 from http://web.mit.edu/surlab/publications/Newton_Sur04.pdf
- Palomero-Gallagher N, Zilles K. Cortical layers: Cyto-, myelo-, receptor- and synaptic architecture in human cortical areas. Neuroimage. 2017 Aug 12. pii: S1053-8119(17)30682-1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811917306821?via%3Dihub
- Passingham RE, Stephan KE, Kötter R. The anatomical basis of functional localization in the cortex. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Aug;3(8):606-616. http://library.ibp.ac.cn/html/cogsci/NRN-2002-606.pdf
- Rakic P. Evolution of the neocortex: Perspective from developmental biology. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2009 Oct;10(10):724–735. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2913577/
- Rauschecker JP. Auditory and visual cortex of primates: A comparison of two sensory systems. Eur J Neurosci. 2015 Mar;41(5):579–585. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4347938/
- Shipp S. The importance of being agranular: A comparative account of visual and motor cortex. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2005 Apr;360(1456):797–814. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1569485/
- Sporns O. Cerebral cartography and connectomics. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2015 May;370(1668):20140173.
- Swanso LW. Brain architecture: Understanding the basic plan. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2011.
- Tungaraza RL, Mehta SH, Haynor DR, Grabowski TJ. Anatomically informed metrics for connectivity-based cortical parcellation from diffusion MRI. IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2015 Jul;19(4):1375–1383. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4561620/
- Van Essen DC, Glasser MF, Dierker DL, Harwell J, Coalson T. Parcellations and hemispheric asymmetries of human cerebral cortex analyzed on surface-based atlases. Cereb Cortex. 2012 Oct;22(10):2241–2262. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3432236/
- Van Essen DC, Glasser MF. In vivo architectonics: A cortico-centric perspective. Neuroimage. 2014 Jun;93 Pt 2:157–164. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3767769/
- Zilles K, Palomero-Gallagher N, Schleicher A. Transmitter receptors and functional anatomy of the cerebral cortex. J Anat. 2004 Dec;205(6):417–432. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1571403/
- Zilles K, Amunts K. Receptor mapping: Architecture of the human cerebral cortex. Curr Opin Neurol. 2009 Aug;22(4):331-339.
- Byrne JH. Introduction to neurons and neuronal networks. Neuroscience Online. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Retrieved 2018 Feb 14 from http://nba.uth.tmc.edu/neuroscience/s1/introduction.html
- Sporns O, Tononi G, Kötter R. The human connectome: A structural description of the human brain. PLoS Comput Biol. 2005 Sep;1(4):e42. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1239902/
- deCharms RC1, Zador A. Neural representation and the cortical code. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2000;23:613-647. http://www.cnbc.cmu.edu/~tai/readings/nature/zador_code.pdf
- Wells RB. Cortical neurons and circuits: A tutorial introduction. University of Idaho; 2005 Apr. Retrieved 2017 Sep 15 from http://www.mrc.uidaho.edu/~rwells/techdocs/Cortical%20Neurons%20and%20Circuits.pdf
- De Sousa A. Towards an integrative theory of consciousness: Part 1 (neurobiological and cognitive models). Mens Sana Monogr. 2013 Jan-Dec;11(1):100–150. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3653219/
- Fieser J. Chapter 3: Mind. Great Issues in Philosophy. Copyright 2008, updated 5/1/2016. https://www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/class/120/3-mind.htm
- Moutoussis K. The machine behind the stage: A neurobiological approach toward theoretical issues of sensory perception. Front Psychol. 2016;7:1357. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5020606/
- Sturm T. Consciousness regained? Philosophical arguments for and against reductive physicalism. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2012 Mar;14(1):55–63. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341650/
- Purves D, Augustine GJ, David Fitzpatrick D, Hall WC, Lamantia AS, McNamara JO, Williams SM, editors. Unit II, Unit IV, and Unit V. 3rd ed. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates Inc; 2004. ISBN-13: 9780878937257 ISBN-10: 0878937250. Retrieved 2017 Nov 1 from https://www.hse.ru/data/2011/06/22/1215686482/Neuroscience.pdf
- Baars BJ. Subjective experience is probably not limited to humans: The evidence from neurobiology and behavior. Conscious Cogn. 2005 Mar;14(1):7-21.
- Roth G, Dicke U. Evolution of Nervous Systems and Brains. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2005 May;9,(5):250–257. http://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/fulltext/S1364-6613(05)00082-3?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1364661305000823%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
- Kaas JH. The evolution of neocortex in primates. Prog Brain Res. 2012;195:91–102. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3787901/
- Herculano-Houzel S. Coordinated scaling of cortical and cerebellar numbers of neurons. Front Neuroanat. 2010;4:12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2839851/
- Hofman MA. Evolution of the human brain: when bigger is better. Front Neuroanat. 2014;8:15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3973910/#B110
- Lent R, Azevedo FA, Andrade-Moraes CH, Pinto AV. How many neurons do you have? Some dogmas of quantitative neuroscience under revision. Eur J Neurosci. 2012 Jan;35(1):1-9.
- Chalmers DJ. Moving forward on the problem of consciousness. J Conscious Stud. 1997;4(1):3-46. http://consc.net/papers/moving.html
- Grossberg S. Towards solving the hard problem of consciousness: The varieties of brain resonances and the conscious experiences that they support. Neural Netw. 2017 Mar;87:38-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.neunet.2016.11.003. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28088645 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0893608016301800?via%3Dihub
- Weisberg J. The hard problem of consciousness. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2018 Jan 29 from https://www.iep.utm.edu/hard-con/
- Feinberg TE, Mallatt J. The evolutionary and genetic origins of consciousness in the Cambrian Period over 500 million years ago. Front Psychol. 2013;4:667. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3790330/
- Kelava I, Rentzsch F, Technau U. 2015. Evolution of eumetazoan nervous systems: Insights from cnidarians. Phil Trans R Soc. B 370:20150065. 2015 Nov 9. http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/370/1684/20150065
- Roth G, Dicke U. Evolution of the brain and intelligence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2005 May;9,(5):250–257.
- Monk T, Paulin MG. Predation and the origin of neurones. Brain Behav Evol. 2014;84:246-261. https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/368177
- Budd GE. Early animal evolution and the origins of nervous systems. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2015 Dec 19;370(1684):20150037. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4650121/
- Mashoura GA, Alkire MT. Evolution of consciousness: Phylogeny, ontogeny, and emergence from general anesthesia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun;110(Suppl 2):10357–10364. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3690605/
- Leisman G, Koch P. Networks of conscious experience: Computational neuroscience in understanding life, death, and consciousness. Rev Neurosci. 2009;20(3-4):151-176. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gerry_Leisman/publication/41449921_Networks_of_Conscious_Experience_Computational_Neuroscience_in_Understanding_Life_Death_and_Consciousness/links/0fcfd5023c1d28270d000000.pdf
- Llinás RR. I of the vortex. From neurons to self. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2002:202–207.