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Towards a neurobiological theory of consciousness

Crick, Francis and Koch, Christof (1990) Towards a neurobiological theory of consciousness. Seminars in the neurosciences, 2 . pp. 263-275. ISSN 1044-5765.

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Visual awareness is a favorable form of consciousness to study neurobiologically. We propose that it takes two forms: a very fast form, linked to iconic memory, that may be difficult to study; and a somewhat slower one involving visual attention and short-term memory. In the slower form an attentional mechanism transiently binds together all those neurons whose activity relates to the relevant features of a single visual object. We suggest this is done by generating coherent semi-synchronous oscillations, probably in the 40-70 Hz range. These oscillations then activate a transient short-term (working) memory. We outfit several lines of experimental work that might advance the understanding of the neural mechanisms involved. The neural basis of very short-term memory especially needs more experimental study.

Item Type:Article
Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Additional Information:c1990 by W. B Saunders Company. We thank John Allman, Bernard Baars, Patricia Churchland, Paul Churchland, Antonio Damasio, Charles Gray, BelaJulesz, Dan Kammen, Georg Kreisel, and Leslie Orgel for helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript and thank Jennifer Altman especially for extensive improvements to the sumitted manuscript. F.C. is supported by the J. W. Kieckhefer Foundation. C.K. is supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, a Presidential Young Investigator Award from NSF and by the James S. McDonnell Foundation.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
J.W. Kieckhefer FoundationUNSPECIFIED
U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific ResearchUNSPECIFIED
NSF Presidential Young Investigator AwardUNSPECIFIED
James S. McDonnell FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:consciousness ; attention ; binding ; 40 Hz ; oscillations ; short-term memory
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130816-103136937
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:40352
Deposited By: KLAB Import
Deposited On:11 Jan 2008 18:36
Last Modified:03 Mar 2020 13:01

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