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Title: Perceptual and contextual awareness: methodological considerations in the search for the neural correlates of consciousness.
Authors: Navajas, Joaquin
Rey, Hernan G.
Quian Quiroga, Rodrigo
First Published: 29-Aug-2014
Publisher: Frontiers
Citation: Frontiers in Psychology, 2014, 5, 959
Abstract: In the last decades, the neural correlates of consciousness (NCCs) have been explored using both invasive and non-invasive recordings by comparing the brain activity elicited by seen versus unseen visual stimuli (i.e., the contrastive analysis). Here, we review a selection of these studies and discuss a set of considerations to improve the search for the NCCs using the contrastive analysis. In particular, we first argue in favor of implementing paradigms where different perceptual outputs are obtained using identical visual inputs. Second, we propose that the large disagreement in the field -in terms of the dissimilar neural patterns proposed as NCCs- is partially explained by the fact that different studies report the neural correlates of different conscious processes in the brain. More specifically, we distinguish between the perceptual awareness of a visual stimulus, associated to a boost in object-selective neural assemblies, and a more elaborate process (contextual awareness) that we argue is reflected in the firing of concept neurons in the medial temporal lobe, triggering a rich representation of the context, associations, and memories linked to the specific stimulus.
DOI Link: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00959
ISSN: 1664-1078
eISSN: 1664-1078
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2014 Navajas, Rey and Quian Quiroga. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Description: PMCID: PMC4148639
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Engineering

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