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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Jul;17(7):450-61. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.44. Epub 2016 May 26.

Integrated information theory: from consciousness to its physical substrate.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, 6001 Research Park Boulevard, Madison, Wisconsin 53719, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, 6001 Research Park Boulevard, Madison, Wisconsin 53719 USA; and at the Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin, 1685 Highland Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, USA.
3
Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences 'Luigi Sacco', University of Milan, Via G.B. Grassi 74, Milan 20157, Italy; and at the Instituto Di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Via A. Capecelatro 66, Milan 20148, Italy.
4
Allen Institute for Brain Science, 615 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.

Abstract

In this Opinion article, we discuss how integrated information theory accounts for several aspects of the relationship between consciousness and the brain. Integrated information theory starts from the essential properties of phenomenal experience, from which it derives the requirements for the physical substrate of consciousness. It argues that the physical substrate of consciousness must be a maximum of intrinsic cause-effect power and provides a means to determine, in principle, the quality and quantity of experience. The theory leads to some counterintuitive predictions and can be used to develop new tools for assessing consciousness in non-communicative patients.

PMID:
27225071
DOI:
10.1038/nrn.2016.44
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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