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Conscious Cogn. 2011 Jun;20(2):464-86. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2011.01.007. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

The thalamic dynamic core theory of conscious experience.

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4.


I propose that primary conscious awareness arises from synchronized activity in dendrites of neurons in dorsal thalamic nuclei, mediated particularly by inhibitory interactions with thalamic reticular neurons. In support, I offer four evidential pillars: (1) consciousness is restricted to the results of cortical computations; (2) thalamus is the common locus of action of brain injury in vegetative state and of general anesthetics; (3) the anatomy and physiology of the thalamus imply a central role in consciousness; (4) neural synchronization is a neural correlate of consciousness.

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