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Science & Technology

Consciousness on-off switch discovered

By T.K. Randall
July 5, 2014 · Comment icon 47 comments

The human brain is extraordinarily complex. Image Credit: PD - NIA
Scientists have identified the area of the brain responsible for triggering our conscious experience.
How our brain creates our conscious mind is a conundrum that has puzzled scientists for centuries. Most theories agree that it must involve an integration of activity from many different parts of the brain to produce a single unifying awareness of the world around us, but the exact way in which this works has remained something of a mystery.

Now however a breakthrough made by Mohamad Koubeissi and his colleagues at the George Washington University in Washington DC has provided a unique glimpse in to the way that our brain deals with consciousness. By stimulating a part of the brain known as the claustrum with electricity the researchers were able to effectively render a subject conscious or unconscious on demand.
"I would liken it to a car," said Koubeissi. "A car on the road has many parts that facilitate its movement – the gas, the transmission, the engine – but there's only one spot where you turn the key and it all switches on and works together."

"So while consciousness is a complicated process created via many structures and networks – we may have found the key."

Source: New Scientist | Comments (47)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #38 Posted by JGirl 10 years ago
boring people are my consciousness off switch.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Rlyeh 10 years ago
I personsly experimented with my dog and cat, the reality is they are self aware about their own image reflected since in both cases they haven't either run or jump to fight or even approach curiously as they did when another animal was introduced to the house.! To me this is enough to prove my point! This shows you haven't. How are you able to copy and paste from the page yet completely fail to read what the test involves?
Comment icon #40 Posted by qxcontinuum 10 years ago
This shows you haven't. How are you able to copy and paste from the page yet completely fail to read what the test involves? without experimenting under the same fashion the scientists did, my way was simple and self convincing; I am talking about fact (nothing else) - faced to a mirror, my dog or cat will not react just quickly looking then move along. - face to another real dog or cat one will start barking and be nervous the other one will run hiding. Their different behaviors are clearly indicating something. Don't it?
Comment icon #41 Posted by questionmark 10 years ago
without experimenting under the same fashion the scientists did, my way was simple and self convincing; I am talking about fact (nothing else) - faced to a mirror, my dog or cat will not react just quickly looking then move along. - face to another real dog or cat one will start barking and be nervous the other one will run hiding. Their different behaviors are clearly indicating something. Don't it? Yes, that cats or dogs use their sense of smell to identify living beings, not their eyes as they lack resolution (dogs because they form "more images" per second and cats because they have a "res... [More]
Comment icon #42 Posted by qxcontinuum 10 years ago
Yes, that cats or dogs use their sense of smell to identify living beings, not their eyes as they lack resolution (dogs because they form "more images" per second and cats because they have a "rest light amplifier" in their eyes). however my cat seems to be interested in watching documentaries online about birds. Initially she went touching the screen with her paws trying to grab or catch whatever was in there, right now she seems to enjoy sitting on a side just watching. So she is visually challenged without a smell
Comment icon #43 Posted by questionmark 10 years ago
however my cat seems to be interested in watching documentaries online about birds. Initially she went touching the screen with her paws trying to grab or catch whatever was in there, right now she seems to enjoy sitting on a side just watching. So she is visually challenged without a smell So does my cat... she sits in front of the TV when there is a documentary about birds or cats but
Comment icon #44 Posted by aquatus1 10 years ago
For some curious reason, the only time our old dog was ever interested in the TV was once when there was a showdog competition, where he sat and stared fixated at the dogs being paraded in front of the judges. Strangely, he never reacted during movies or anything else with dogs in it, including other competitions we occasionally set just to see his reaction. In all cases, I can see this discovery being widely used in new animal farming methods.
Comment icon #45 Posted by qxcontinuum 10 years ago
For some curious reason, the only time our old dog was ever interested in the TV was once when there was a showdog competition, where he sat and stared fixated at the dogs being paraded in front of the judges. Strangely, he never reacted during movies or anything else with dogs in it, including other competitions we occasionally set just to see his reaction. In all cases, I can see this discovery being widely used in new animal farming methods. From what you described it sounded like me watching Victorias secret bikini show
Comment icon #46 Posted by White Crane Feather 10 years ago
Left hook.
Comment icon #47 Posted by RaymondEternal 10 years ago
Is this how they control the mind of a cockroach?!?


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