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Towards a science of consciousness 2009
で発表するため、本日からHong Kongに




The contingent brain.
Ken Mogi

Charles Darwin once remarked in a letter to Asa Gray that biological systems are governed by “laws in the background” and “contingency in the details”. In the context of modern cognitive neuroscience, contingency signifies the co-existence of regularities and irregularities in the interaction of the subject with the environment. The robust handling of contingency is essential for perception and cognition, posing important problems in the maintenance and updating of body image (Sekine and Mogi 2009, Neuroreport 20, 467-472), decision making in the presence of uncertainty (Glimcher and Rustichini 2004, Science 306, 447-452). The mixture of predictable and unpredictable events makes it necessary and possible for the brain to support an open-ended learning process.
Here I discuss the significance of contingency in considering the neural correlates of consciousness (Crick and Koch 1998, Cerebral Cortex 8, 97-107). Neurophysiological evidences suggest that qualia arise from neural activities within the brain's network, in which the neural activities are often full of unpredictable noise. The "default network" (Raichle et al. 2001, PNAS 98, 676-682) may be a part of the brain's system of handling the unpredictability in a robust way. The seemingly "Platonic" perfection of qualia such as the "redness of red" from the subjective point of view is thus in a marked contrast with the reality of the physical processes in the brain. There is apparently an intriguing co-existence of regularities and irregularities, the former reflected in the phenomenology of qualia and the latter manifesting itself in the often chaotic dynamics of the neural activities. The enigma of the co-existence of the regular and irregular in the neural correlates of qualia is central to the mind-brain problem, and forms a continuous spectrum with issues concerning contingencies in cognition in general, often discussed in the functional and therefore more tractable contexts (Doya et al. eds. 2007, The Bayesian Brain, MIT Press).
Although the concept of response selectivity (i.e., the mapping between external stimuli and brain activities) is certainly useful in analyzing the single unit recording and brain imaging data, ultimately the nature of the neural correlates of consciousness is to be accounted for in terms of the mutual relationship between the neural firings in the brain (Mach's principle in perception, Mogi 1999 in Riegler and Peschl eds. Understanding Representation in the Cognitive Sciences, 127-134). The cognitive processes associated with the robust handling of regular and irregular events should similarly be characterized in terms of the internal connectivity between neural firings in the brain. The small-world network structure (Watts et al. 1998, Nature 393, 440-442) in which regular and irregular connections co-exist, provide an important constraint on the common framework bridging the neural correlates of qualia and the cognitive processes of contingency handling.

6月 11, 2009 at 06:48 午前 |


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茂木さん、Hello♪(^-^)Hong Kongに行ったのですね♪無事に着きましたでしょうか?♪今、こちらは雨もあがり、静かな感じです♪どんな景色を見ているのでしょう?何が聞こえていますか?Hong Kongの朝も走るのでしょうか?♪くれぐれもワンワン(笑)には気をつけて下さいませ♪それでは茂木さん、また今度です。

投稿: 水饅頭 | 2009/06/12 2:11:15

こんばんは。茂木先生は今頃 ホンコン でしょうか。 気をつけて、 いい成果がありますように よき出会いがあります様に。 今 大きな月がみえます。ホンコンでも 同じ月が見えていますか? そちらでは、月には ウサギ ではなく、どんな動物が いるのでしょうか? 帰国後のブログ、楽しみです。

投稿: サラリン | 2009/06/12 0:12:27



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