, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 97-118

On the neurodynamics of the creation of consciousness

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Abstract

Consciousness is expected to have a specific temporal dynamics. The COrollary Discharge of Attention Movement (CODAM) model of consciousness is deduced from an engineering approach to attention and motor attention. This model is briefly described, as is support arising from brain dynamics, especially that for the attentional blink. The understanding of known temporal dynamics in the brain associated with the emergence of consciousness is then developed from CODAM, and specifically related to the N2 ERP brain signal. How the pre-reflective self, as content-free, interacts with the content of experience is discussed in terms of the possibility that such experience arises from some proto-self generated by body signals; experiments are described which indicate that no pre-reflective self based on body signals is observable. Only a content-free pre-reflective self is consistent with this data, as CODAM suggests. How such a pre-reflective self can be further fused to give temporal continuity of a sense of self is considered in terms of various mechanisms which could be present for preserving the sense of self. The observation of the N2 signal in hippocampal encoding is proposed as providing a justification for the encoding of the N2–P3 sequence of brain signals. This would correspond to episodic encoding of the sequence of experiences of the pre-reflective self; this will thereby provide the necessary control signals in time so that ‘I’ is experienced as part of the retrieval of such memories.