Grace Eicher Pysch Section 12

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According to some biologists, all organisms are able to be conscious and posses the ability to learn and be aware (Bray, 2009). Although consciousness may vary in different organisms, it is defined by being "our subjective experience of the world and ourselves" (Lilienfeld, 2011). So where exactly does consciousness take place? In the video BBC Horizon: A Secret You, we discover the answer. In the brain, there are approximately 100 billion nerve cells. The outer part of the brain, or the cortex, is the section of a brain which allows an organism to be self aware. Inside of the brain stem, a group of diffused nerve cells move to the thalamus, which acts as a relay system. The thalamus is responsible for sending out projections to every part of the cortex. These projections make the cortex activated. Activation of the cortex is key to consciousness. Being familiar with the anatomy of the brain is an important role of understanding consciousness. After watching this video, I have a better understanding of where consciousness occurs in the brain, but I am left wondering how exactly it works and how it varies from one person to another. What is the cause of an individual's consciousness? I find it interesting that consciousness is shaped by several factors such as chemistry in the brain, expectations, memories, and culture. I wonder if it is difficult to determine which factor attributes the most to consciousness with so many variables in individuals. Also, I am curious how consciousness works when a person is asleep as opposed to awake.

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