Big brain evolution: consciousness and brain activity (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Friday, February 16, 2018, 20:22 (985 days ago) @ David Turell

A professor of psychiatry describes the intimate relationship of conscious activity and brain connections:

"Our own unique experiences shape how we view the world and respond to the events in our lives. But experience is highly subjective. What's distressing or joyful to one person may be very different to another.

"These differences can matter, especially as a growing body of research shows that what happens in our inner landscapes - our thoughts about and interpretations of our experiences - can have physical consequences in our brains and bodies.


"'How we experience the world affects us in more ways than we previously thought," says Davidson, William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at UW-Madison. "We're finding that emotions and thoughts can alter neural pathways in the brain in relatively short amounts of time and even affect processes like gene expression and aging."


"This framework stands in contrast to the tendency of neuroscientists to place more value on behavior in lieu of studying experience. In his talk, Davidson made the case for more fully integrating emerging scientific knowledge of the mind-body connection with neuroscience study design.

"Not only should individual experience be more fully accounted for and measured in neuroscience studies, Davidson argues, efforts to do so are revealing previously unknown neural networks that are implicated in well-being and mental health disorders.

"The problem, he says, is that experience has long been thought of as synonymous with behavior, when in fact the two are separate and can influence each other.

"Davidson and other scientists in the field have used imaging tools like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure activity and structures in the brain while observing relationships between specific neural networks and behaviors.

"'What's exciting about these findings is that when we take experience into account, certain neural mechanisms are implicated that would not otherwise be identified," he says. "The findings underscore the importance of taking both experience and behavior into account when building neural accounts of emotion, well-being and psychopathology."

Comment: The point I am making is the evidence of the intimate interlocking of our consciousness and brain plasticity working hand in hand. Does consciousness control the brain changes or does the brain change itself in response to the consciousness activity? I see what is shown as brain responsiveness in and of its own actions. The immaterial, by using the brain changes its complexity which is material.

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