Cognitive Neurodynamics

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 97–118 | Cite as

On the neurodynamics of the creation of consciousness

Research Article


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.


Attention Control theory Corollary discharge N2 Proprioception Brain dynamics, Self, Pre-reflective self 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baddeley AD (1986) Workiong memory. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  2. Baddeley AD (2000) The episodic buffer: a new component of working memory? Trends Cogn Sci 4(11):417–423PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bard C, Turrell Y, Fleury M, Teasdale N, Lamarre Y, Martin O (1999) Deafferentation and pointing with visual double-step perturbations. Exp Brain Res 125:410–416PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burgess N, Hitch G (2005) Computational models of working memory: putting long-term memory into context. Trends Cogn Sci 9(11):535–541PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chambers CD, Payne JM, Stokes MG, Mattingley J (2004) Fast and slow parietal pathways mediate spatial attention. Nat Neurosci 7(3):217–218PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chambers CD, Stokes MD, Janko NE, Mattingley J (2006) Enhancement of visual selection during transient disruption of parietal cortex. Brain Res 1097:149–155PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clarke JM, Halgren E, Chauvel P (1999) Intracranial ERPs in humans during a lateralized visual oddball task. II. Temporal, parietal and frontal recordings. Clin Neurophysiol 110:1226–1244PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Corbetta M, Shulman GL (2002) Control of goal-directed and stimulus-driven attention in the brain. Nat Rev Neurosci 3:201–215PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crick FC, Koch C (1998) Consciousness and neuroscience. Cereb Cortex 8:97–108PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Desmurget M, Grafton S (2000) Forward modelling allows feedback control for fast reaching movements. Trends Cogn Neurosci 4:423–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Desmurget M, Epstein CM, Turner RS, Prablanc C, Alexander GE, Grafton ST (1999) Role of the posterior parietal cortex in updating reaching movements to a visual target. Nat Neurosci 2:563–567PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eimer M (1996) The N2pc component as an indicator of attentional selectivity. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 99:225–234PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fernandez-Duque D, Thornton IM (2000) Change detection without awareness. Vis Cogn 7:323–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fragopanagos N, Kockelhoren S, Taylor JG (2005) A neurodynamic model of the attentional blink. Cogn Brain Res 24:568–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frith CJ (1992) The cognitive neuropsychology of schizophrenia. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, HoveGoogle Scholar
  16. Fourneret P, Jeannerod M (1997) Limited conscious monitoring of motor performance in normal subjects. Neuropsychologia 36:1133–1140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fuggetta G, Pavone EF, Walsh V, Kiss M, Eimer M (2006) Cortico-cortical interactions in spatial attention: a combined ERP/TMS study. J Neurophysiol 95:3277–3280PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gallagher S (2000) Philosophical conceptions of the self. Trends Cogn Sci 4(1):14–21PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grossberg S (1999) The link between brain learning, attention and consciousness. Conscious Cogn 8:1–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hommel B, Kessler K, Schmitz F, Gross J, Akyurek E, Shapiro K, Schnitzler A (2006) How the brain blinks: towards a neurocognitive model of the attentional blink. Psychol Res 70:425–435PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hopf JM, et al (2000) Neural sources of focused attention in visual search. Cereb Cortex 10:1231–1241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ioannides AA, Taylor JG (2003) Testing models of attention with MEG. #804 in proceedings of IJCNN’03, IEEE PressGoogle Scholar
  23. Jolicoeur P, Sessa P, Dell’Acqua R (2006) On the control of visual spatial attention: evidence from human electrophysiology. Psychol Res 70:414–424PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kastner S, Ungerleider LG (2000) Mechanisms of visual attention. Annu Rev Neurosci 23:315–341PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kastner S, Ungerleider LG (2001) The neural basis of biased competition in human visual cortex. Neuropsychologia 39(12):1263–1276Google Scholar
  26. Lamme V (2003) Why visual awareness and attention are different. Trends Cogn Sci 7(1):12–18PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Landman R, Spekreijse H, Lamme VAF (2003) Large capacity storage of integrated objects before change blindness. Vision Res 43:149–164PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Luck SJ, Woodman GF, Vogel EK (2000) Event-related potential studies of attention. Trends Cogn Sci 4:432–440Google Scholar
  29. Mack A, Rock I (1998) In attentional blindness. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  30. McAdams CJ, Maunsell JHR (1999) Effects of attention on orientation tuning functions of singel neurons in Macaque cortical area V4. J Neurosci 19(1):431–441Google Scholar
  31. Mehta AD, Ulbert I, Schroeder CcE (2000) Intermodal selective attention in monkeys. II. Physiological mechanisms of modulation. Cereb Cortex 10:359–370PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Miall RC, Wolpert DM (1996). Forward models for physiological motor control. Neural Netw 9(8):1265–1279PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nobre AC (2001). The attentive homunculus: now you see it, now you don’t. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 25:477–496PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. O’Shea J, Muggleton NJ, Cowey A, Walsh V (2004) Timing of target discrimination in human frontal eye fields. J Cogn Neurosci 16:1060–1067PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pisella L, Grea H, Tillikete C, Vighetto A, Desmurget M, Rode G, Boisson D, Rossetti Y (2000) An ‘automatic pilot for the hand in human posterior parietal cortex: toward reinterpreting optic ataxia. Nat Neurosci 3:729–736PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pollen DA (2003) Explicit neural representations, recurrent neural networks and conscious visual perception. Cereb Cortex 13(8):807–814PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Praamstra P, Oostenveld R, (2003) Attention and movement-related motor cortex activation: a high density EEG study of spatial stimulus-response compatibility. Cogn Brain Res 16:309–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ramachandran VS, Hirstein W (1998) The perception of phantom limbs. The DO Hebb lecture. Brain 121:1603–1630PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rushworth MFS, Ellison A., Walsh V (2001a). Complementary localization and lateralization of orienting and motor attention. Nat Neurosci 4(6):656–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rushworth MFS, Krams M, Passingham RE, (2001b) J Cogn Neurosci 13:698–710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rushworth MFS, Nixon PD, Renowden S., Wade DT, Passingham RE (1997). The left parietal cortex and motor attention. Neuropsychologia 35(9):1261–1273PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sabes M (2000) The planning and control of reaching movements. Curr Opin Neurobiol 10:740–746PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schluter ND, Krams M, Rushworth MFS, Passingham RE (2001). Cerebral dominance for action in the human brain: the selection of actions. Neuropsychologia 39:105–113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schwoebel J, Boronat CB, Coslett HB (2002) The man who executed “imagined” movements: evidence for dissociable components of the body schema. Brain Cogn 50:1–16PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sergent C, Baillet S, Dehaene S (2005) Timing of the brain events underlying access to consciousness during the attentional blink. Nat Neurosci 8:1391–1400Google Scholar
  46. Shapiro KL, Arnell KM, Raymond JE (1997) The attentional blink. Trends Cogn Sci 1:291–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Shapiro KL, Hillstrom AP, Husain M (2002) Control of visuotemporal attention by inferior parietal and superior temporal cortex. Curr Biol 12:1320–1325PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shinba T (1999) Neuronal firing activity in the dorsal hippocampus during the auditory discrimination oddball task in awake rats. Cogn Brain Res 8:241–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Shoemaker (1968) Self-reference and self-awareness. J Philos 65:556–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Taylor JG (1996) Breakthrough to awareness. Biol Cybern 75:59–72Google Scholar
  51. Taylor JG (1999) The race for consciousness. MIT Press, Cambridge MassGoogle Scholar
  52. Taylor JG (2000) Attentional movement: the control basis for consciousness. Soc Neurosci Abstr 26, 2231#839.3Google Scholar
  53. Taylor JG (2002a) Paying attention to consciousness. Trends Cogn Sci 6(5): 206–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Taylor JG (2002b) From matter to mind. J Conscious Stud 6:3–22Google Scholar
  55. Taylor JG (2003a) Consciousness, neural models of In: Arbib MA (eds) The handbook of brain theory and neural networks. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 263–267Google Scholar
  56. Taylor JG (2003b) Paying attention to consciousness. Prog Neurobiol 71:305–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Taylor JG (2003c) The CODAM model and deficits of consciousness. Proc conference of knowledge-based expert systems, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  58. Taylor JG (2004) A review of brain-based cognitive models. Cogn Process 5(4):190–217Google Scholar
  59. Taylor JG (2005) From matter to consciousness: towards a final solution? Phys Life Rev 2:1–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Taylor JG (2006) The mind: a user’s manual. Wiley, LondonGoogle Scholar
  61. Taylor JG, Freeman W (1997) Special issue of neural networks. Neural Netw Conscious 10(7):1173–1343Google Scholar
  62. Taylor JG, Rogers M (2002) A control model of the movement of attention. Neural Netw 15:309–326PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Taylor JG, Fragopanagos N (2003) Simulation of attention control models of sensory and motor paradigms. Proc IJCNN’03Google Scholar
  64. Todd JJ, Marois R (2004) Capacity limit of visual short-term memory in human parietal cortex. Nature 428:751–754PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vogel FK, Luck SJ, Shaprio K (1998) Electrophysiological evidence for a postperceptual locus of suppression during the attentional blink. J Exp Psychol 241:1656–1674Google Scholar
  66. Vogel EK, Machizawa MG (2004) Neural activity predicts individual differences in visual working memory capacity. Nature 428:748–751PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wearing D (2005) Forever today. Random House Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  68. Wolpert DM, Ghahramani Z (2000) Computational principles of movement neuroscience. Nat Neurosci 3:1212–1217PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Woodman GF, Luck SJ (1999) Electrophysiological measurements of rapid shifts of attention during visual search. Nature 400:867–869PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zahavi D (1999) Self-awareness and alterity. North-Western University Press, Evanston, ILGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsKing’s CollegeLondonUK

Personalised recommendations