Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Journal Club - Debating the role of the prefrontal cortex in conscious experience

Welcome back to the Journal Club! There are only ten days before ASSC 17 meeting, so please join our discussion of some really interesting papers related to the featured talks and symposia!

Our second journal club concerns a recent debate on the role of the prefrontal cortex in conscious experience. One of the major debates on consciousness is that between higher-order and first-order approaches. People who support higher-order approaches typically take prefrontal cortex as the key region in which phenomenally conscious experiences arise, while people who support first-order approaches usually think that it is the sensory regions, not the prefrontal cortex, which gives rise to conscious experiences. In Lau and Brown’s 2012 paper [1], they offer some empirical cases to support the higher-order views, arguing that the subjects can still have conscious experience without first-order representations. On the other hand, in Malach’s 2011 comment [2], he argues that some of the empirical data shown in Lau and Rosenthal’s 2011 paper are in fact compatible with first-order theories, therefore, more empirical evidence is still needed.

The debate on the role of prefrontal cortex and between the two approaches will be continued at the ASSC 17 meeting on July 13 as the first symposium. Brown, Malach, Levine, and Rahnev will all join this exciting debate!

We encourage you to read the following materials and then join in the discussion in the comments!

1. Lau and Brown 2012 “The Emperor’s New Phenomenology? The Empirical Case for Conscious Experiences without First-Order Representations” [paper link]

2. Malach 2011 TiCS “Conscious perception and the frontal lobes: comment on Lau and Rosenthal” [paper link]

Additional readings:

- Brown 2012 Consciousness and Cognition “The myth of phenomenological overflow” [journal link]
- Rahnev et al 2011 Nature Neuroscience “Attention induces conservative subjective biases in visual perception” [paper link]
- Lau and Rosenthal 2011 TiCS “Empirical support for higher-order theories of conscious awareness” [paper link]

No comments:

Post a Comment