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Scientists explore consciousness
Date:2/18/2008

An international team of scientists led by a University of Leicester researcher has carried out a scientific study into the realm of consciousness.

The scientists have made a significant step into the understanding of conscious perception, by showing how single neurons in the human brain reacted to perceived and nonperceived images.

University of Leicester bioengineer Dr Rodrigo Quian Quiroga is spearheading this study which is opening new possibilities of exploring a hitherto relatively unchartered scientific area.

The team have today (MONDAY FEB 18) published a paper in an international journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) revealing new discoveries in the field of consciousness studies.

Dr Quian Quiroga said: There has been much interest in recent years in consciousness, which is considered by many as one of the major scientific challenges to be solved, or at least addressed in a scientific -rather than just philosophical- way.

In fact, there are a few centres, journals and conferences dedicated to this topic. The problem with consciousness is that it is very hard to be defined and it implicates too many different things. For this reason, several researchers started to specify more clearly what they mean by consciousness (even if this is a limited view of the whole issue) and think about ways to study it in a scientific way. This approach was championed by the late Francis Crick and my former supervisor at Caltech, Christof Koch.

Following this line, the paper in PNAS asks how the activity of single neurons in the human brain can reflect conscious perception.

Recordings were done in epileptic patients candidates of curative surgery in which intracranial electrodes are implanted to establish the location of the epileptic focus and evaluate the potential outcome of the surgery. Patients usually stay for 1 or 2 weeks in the guard and this gives us the extraordinary o
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Contact: Rodrigo Quian Quiroga
rqqg1@le.ac.uk
01-162-522-314
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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