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The Brain as a Tool – A Neuroscientist's Account - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Brain as a Tool: A Neuroscientist's Account

Ray Guillery


We don’t perceive the world and then react to it. We learn to know it from our interactions with it. All inputs that reach the cerebral cortex about events in the brain, the body, or the world bring two messages: one is about these events, the other, travelling along a branch of that input, is an instruction already on its way to execution. This second message, not a part of standard textbook teaching, allows us to anticipate our actions, distinguishing them from the actions of others, and thus providing a clear sense of self. The mammalian brain has a hierarchy of cortical areas, where higher ... More

Keywords: neural pathways, cerebral cortex, transthalamic corticocortical hierarchies, sense of self, conscious experiences, evolution of brains

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780198806738
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198806738.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ray Guillery, author
Honorary Emeritus Research Fellow, MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit, University of Oxford