n African Journal of Psychiatry - Neural correlates of consciousness : review




A basic understanding of consciousness and its neural correlates is of major importance for all clinicians, especially those involved with patients with altered states of consciousness. In this paper it is shown that consciousness is dependent on the brainstem and thalamus for arousal; that basic cognition is supported by recurrent electrical activity between the cortex and the thalamus at gamma band frequencies; and that some kind of working memory must, at least fleetingly, be present for awareness to occur. The problem of cognitive binding and the role of attention are briefly addressed and it is shown that consciousness depends on a multitude of subconscious processes. Although these processes do not represent consciousness, consciousness cannot exist without them.


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