2016-09-28: Subjective experience

The following abstract seems interesting, if perhaps a bit glib. The article is available (for a price) from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/wcs.1412/full.

Neurotypical subjective experience is caused by a hippocampal simulation

by Matt Faw and Bill Faw

We propose that the phenomenon known to neurologically intact people as ‘Subjective Experience’ is best understood as the activation of various sites in both extrinsic and intrinsic networks by a brand new episodic memory engram (i.e., a complex theta wave coding pattern originating from field CA1 of the hippocampus). Like a media news outlet, the hippocampal complex receives reportage from widely distributed structures around the brain and organizes and binds those reports together into a brand new episodic memory (i.e., a virtual-reality, movie-like, unified, contextualized, but vastly simplified summation of what just happened). This memory pattern is then ‘broadcast’ back to structures across the brain (via bidirectional pathways to and from the entorhinal cortex and perirhinal area) for error correction, to expedite predictive processing, and to inform sites in both extrinsic and intrinsic networks of one unified history. It is the cortical activation by the new episodic memory engram that gives rise to the event of experiencing. Because episodic memory is the only unified and contextualized representation of self-in-the-world in the brain, and because it informs most of the major cortices about ‘what just happened,’ it is subjectively misinterpreted as the actual interaction of the body/mind with its environment. This misinterpretation offers insight into many of the distinct and mysterious features of neurotypical subjective experience and the pathologies of consciousness.

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