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The Brain as a ToolA Neuroscientist's Account$
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Ray Guillery

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198806738

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198806738.001.0001

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The role of the thalamocortical hierarchy

The role of the thalamocortical hierarchy

Chapter:
(p.182) Chapter 13 The role of the thalamocortical hierarchy
Source:
The Brain as a Tool
Author(s):

Ray Guillery

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198806738.003.0013

This chapter presents evidence that at each level of the thalamocortical hierarchy the strength of our conscious perceptions increases. Conscious processes are not all-or-none effects, they are graded. Four factors may be particularly relevant for understanding the neural production of conscious experiences: (1) the actions of the thalamic gate; (2) the neural activity that anticipates an organism’s actions; (3) the activity of the hierarchy of cortical monitors; and particularly (4) the motor actions produced by the outputs of the cortical monitors and acting on the phylogenetically old parts of the brain: these serve to keep actions in accord with anticipations.

Keywords:   degrees of consciousness, binocular competition, anticipating perceptions, the supervisory role of cortex, the brain as its own programmer

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