What makes us conscious?

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In the documentary "The Secret You" they address the idea of consciousness. Consciousness is created in the brain in the cortex, which is the outside part of the brain. Humans have a highly-developed cortex which makes us so complex compared to other animals. The cortex allows us to be self-aware. The constant stimulation of the cortex is what keeps us conscious. Many studies are being done to define consciousness.
It is very intriguing how psychology has advanced with the aid of technology so that psychologist are able to see how our brain interacts. The psychologists do simple tests to see what parts of the brain react to a shock when the patient is awake. In these tests you can see how in a span of a couple of seconds all different parts of the brain become active. They all start communicating with the other parts and the activity in the brain is widespread. When the psychologist duplicated the shock when the patient was asleep and there was a distinct difference. Instead of various parts of the brain becoming active, the brain's response was more localized in one specific area. This is a huge break through because now these psychologist believe they know the difference being consciousness and being asleep. The key thing they have witnessed is the interconnectedness and communication of the different parts of the brain. The integration is crucial to being conscious.

2 Comments

This is such a difficult topic for me to wrap my head around, the fact that psychologists can actually test the relationship between the mind and the environment. I think it is really vital that psychologists believe they know the difference between being unconscious and being asleep. Especially when it comes to medical things like people being in a coma, very interesting!

It is a very confusing topic! I know that their is also altered levels of consciousness as well if it wasn't very cut and dry already. The brain is so complex that it maybe decades before we can totally understand the interplay that goes on.

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This page contains a single entry by wille367 published on February 27, 2012 8:17 AM.

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