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Trends Neurosci. 2009 Sep;32(9):476-84. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2009.05.008. Epub 2009 Aug 26.

Animal consciousness: a synthetic approach.

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  • 1The Neurosciences Institute, 10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive, San Diego, CA 92121, USA. david_edelman@nsi.edu

Abstract

Despite anecdotal evidence suggesting conscious states in a variety of non-human animals, no systematic neuroscientific investigation of animal consciousness has yet been undertaken. We set forth a framework for such an investigation that incorporates integration of data from neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and behavioral studies, uses evidence from humans as a benchmark, and recognizes the critical role of explicit verbal report of conscious experiences in human studies. We illustrate our framework with reference to two subphyla: one relatively near to mammals - birds - and one quite far -cephalopod molluscs. Consistent with the possibility of conscious states, both subphyla exhibit complex behavior and possess sophisticated nervous systems. Their further investigation may reveal common phyletic conditions and neural substrates underlying the emergence of animal consciousness.

PMID:
19716185
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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