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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2014 Mar 17;369(1641):20130208. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0208. Print 2014 May 5.

The neural subjective frame: from bodily signals to perceptual consciousness.

Author information

1
Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, INSERM-ENS, , 29 rue d'Ulm, Paris, France.

Abstract

The report 'I saw the stimulus' operationally defines visual consciousness, but where does the 'I' come from? To account for the subjective dimension of perceptual experience, we introduce the concept of the neural subjective frame. The neural subjective frame would be based on the constantly updated neural maps of the internal state of the body and constitute a neural referential from which first person experience can be created. We propose to root the neural subjective frame in the neural representation of visceral information which is transmitted through multiple anatomical pathways to a number of target sites, including posterior insula, ventral anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala and somatosensory cortex. We review existing experimental evidence showing that the processing of external stimuli can interact with visceral function. The neural subjective frame is a low-level building block of subjective experience which is not explicitly experienced by itself which is necessary but not sufficient for perceptual experience. It could also underlie other types of subjective experiences such as self-consciousness and emotional feelings. Because the neural subjective frame is tightly linked to homeostatic regulations involved in vigilance, it could also make a link between state and content consciousness.

KEYWORDS:

brain–body interactions; emotion; feeling; perceptual awareness; self-consciousness; subjective experience

PMID:
24639580
PMCID:
PMC3965163
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2013.0208
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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