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Consciousness is everything you experience - taste, pain, love, feeling. Where these experiences come from is a mystery.
Many modern analytic philosophers of mind either deny the existence of consciousness, or they argue that they can never be meaningfully studied by science.
What is it about brain matter that gives rise to consciousness? In particular, the neuronal correlates of consciousness (NCC) - the minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any conscious experience.
Consider this question: What must happen in your brain for you to experience a toothache?
The whole brain can be considered an NCC because it generates experience continually.
We need a scientific theory of consciousness that can predict under which conditions any particular physical system has experiences. Any speculation about machine consciousness is based solely on our intuition, which is not a reliable scientific guide.
Two of the most popular theories of consciousness is the global neuronal workspace (GNW), and the Integrated information theory (IIT).
The starting point of this theory is that each experience has specific essential properties. It is necessary, structured, and distinct. It is unified and definite. An experience of sitting on a park bench on a warm, sunny day, watching children play, cannot be separated into parts. Doing so will alter the experience.
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When you are at a concert and you get to the part with a refrain from your favorite song, you are swept up in the music. The performers and audience seem to be moving as one.
The synchrony between the brain activity of a performer and his audience shows insights into the nature of musical exchanges: we dance and feel the same emotions together, and our neurons fire together as well. This is especially true when it comes to the more popular performances.
Synchronous brain activity was localized in the left hemisphere of the brain (temporal-parietal junction). This area is important for empathy, the understanding of others’ thoughts and intentions, and verbal working memory used for expressing thought.
The right brain hemisphere is most often associated with the interpretation of musical melody.
In the right hemisphere, synchronization is localized to areas involved in recognizing musical structure and pattern (the inferior frontal cortex) and interpersonal understanding (the inferior frontal and postcentral cortices).
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