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Conscious Cogn. 2005 Mar;14(1):119-39.

Criteria for consciousness in humans and other mammals.

Author information

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

Abstract

The standard behavioral index for human consciousness is the ability to report events with accuracy. While this method is routinely used for scientific and medical applications in humans, it is not easy to generalize to other species. Brain evidence may lend itself more easily to comparative testing. Human consciousness involves widespread, relatively fast low-amplitude interactions in the thalamocortical core of the brain, driven by current tasks and conditions. These features have also been found in other mammals, which suggests that consciousness is a major biological adaptation in mammals. We suggest more than a dozen additional properties of human consciousness that may be used to test comparative predictions. Such homologies are necessarily more remote in non-mammals, which do not share the thalamocortical complex. However, as we learn more we may be able to make "deeper" predictions that apply to some birds, reptiles, large-brained invertebrates, and perhaps other species.

PMID:
15766894
DOI:
10.1016/j.concog.2004.08.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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