Theories of Consciousness

It is my thinking that the brain has a way to give memory to perceptual shape on a somewhat cubic structure I call the bank. Different regions/networks of the brain are constantly vying for use of this structure.

Different brain regions get time-division access to this bank. The dorsal visual stream uses it to create a colored visual realm. The somato-motor cortex (/PPC?) uses it to make a body schema and 3D-fit it to the body location in the visual realm (can be off a little at times, which leads to motor command errors). The parahippocampal place area (PPA) uses it to give 3D modeling of the topology of large scenes. The fusiform face area (FFA) uses it for face recognition. The angular gyrus uses it to enable visualization of rotational tasks to derive motor commands for tasks like uncorking a wine bottle or unscrewing a peanut butter lid. The ventral visual field uses it to understand and store knowledge of the point-cloud shape of objects. Wernicke's area and the prefrontal cortex might use the bank to subliminally draw a cartoon side-view of a speaker or make depictions of the concepts discussed in heard speech.

It may be that the brain uses a sort of double-cipher to encode and communicate a conscious display to the global workspace viewer. Yes, these brain regions are using the bank to draw perceptual imagery to guide the agglomerate self. But these brush strokes of instant appreciation may also carry values along multiple dimensions, akin to how GPT assigns values along 12288 conceptual dimensions to each of 50,000 words in its dictionary. One can approach to pure meaning with such high-dimensional abstraction. In this way, the global workspace can search for a matching puzzle piece by something as abstract as needing a piece that has cartoony-style imagery. There may be multiple simultaneous search-by options at once to help the right piece pop out from the pile of possible pieces. Even memory recall seems to rely on this filter-by mechanism, as we only recall a memory when there is a newly-encountered or contemplated commonality. These abstract handles seem to be what triggers memory recall, and that may be why the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is the only place where we grow new neurons, albeit slowly at the rate of one every eight minutes.

Poster presentation for Italy 2023 Science of Consciousness

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