Scientific Understanding of Consciousness
Consciousness as an Emergent Property of Thalamocortical Activity

Cognition

Human brainís logical manipulation ability together with declarative memory provides choice for the prefrontal cortex and working memory to make decisions.† This cognitive ability together with emotional input from the limbic system drives the motivational functionality for movement control and behavior.

Attention and language; two of the most widely studied aspects of human cognitive skills. Basic elements of cognition. (Fischler; Attention and Language, 381)

Human brain applies multiple intelligences to its cognitive functionality.

Human declarative memory provides an extensive conception of time from the historical past to the future for planning.

Human actions are much more flexible than the innately driven behavior of a squirrel storing nuts for winter.

The brain serves as a reality emulator for prediction and planning.

Human brain closely implements Bayesian inference for cognition as well as for other functionality. The brainís neural network provides functionality for reentry and recursion to perform the following steps:

 The brain constructs an initial a priori emulation of the world based on the brain' s prior experience.

 Sensory data provide up-to-date, real-world experience to update the a priori emulation.

 The updated reality emulation then provides the a priori emulation for successive and recursive Bayesian inferences.

These Bayesian inference reentry and recursion steps are performed on the basis of about 100-500 ms to provide an ongoing dynamic emulation of the world for prediction, decisions, and planning.

 

A few examples of cognition

 Visually distinguish a man from a woman. Usually we get the composite mosaic of perceptual categorizations correct, but sometimes itís a close call when many of the contributing perceptual categorizations are equivocal.

 Cross busy street with traffic. A whorl of cognitive activity. Judge speed of traffic, how likely we may be hit, how emotionally motivated we are to cross street, etc.

 While driving car, make left turn, judge speed of approaching traffic.

 Animal recognizes prey. Assess distance of prey. Judgment of speed and likelihood of capture.

 Perceptual categorization (Edelman)