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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Mar;1124:239-61. doi: 10.1196/annals.1440.004.

The neural correlates of consciousness: an update.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Erratum in

  • Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011 Apr;1225:200.


This review examines recent advances in the study of brain correlates of consciousness. First, we briefly discuss some useful distinctions between consciousness and other brain functions. We then examine what has been learned by studying global changes in the level of consciousness, such as sleep, anesthesia, and seizures. Next we consider some of the most common paradigms used to study the neural correlates for specific conscious percepts and examine what recent findings say about the role of different brain regions in giving rise to consciousness for that percept. Then we discuss dynamic aspects of neural activity, such as sustained versus phasic activity, feedforward versus reentrant activity, and the role of neural synchronization. Finally, we briefly consider how a theoretical analysis of the fundamental properties of consciousness can usefully complement neurobiological studies.

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