Scientific Understanding of Consciousness
Our neural representation of ourselves:
· Involves both declarative and procedural memory.
· Involves autonomic nervous system. Self-preservation reactions via the amygdala are fundamental in the neural representation of the self.
· Continuing development and updating throughout life
· Procedural Memory -- the way we walk, talk, etc. all of our little idiosyncrasies of gestures and movements. All of these idiosyncrasies occur non-consciously.
· Autobiographical Memory -- all of our memories about ourselves. Emotional moments produce especially vivid and lasting memories.
· Consciousness involves a "convolution" of current mental image with the mental image representation of the self. Consciousness is an emergent property of the biological neural network that mediates this convolution. Edelman calls this convolution the "remembered present."
· Consciousness is mediated by the ever-circulating neural activity in the thalamocortical system.