Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 234–238 | Cite as

Consciousness and the brain

  • P. V. Simonov


Following the advice of I.P. Pavlov to the effect that “it is important to understand psychologically before translating a phenomenon into physiological language”, the author defines more precisely the content and origin of consciousness as a phenomenon of human higher nervous activity. The necessity of distinguishing two fundamentally different phenomena in the sphere of unconscious mental activity, defined as subconsciousness and superconsciousness, is substantiated. The emotional languages of superconsciousness are described, namely, the senses of beauty, humor, and conscience. The contradictory nature of objectively determined behavior along with subjectively experienced freedom of choice are regarded from the points of view of their initial supplementarity. It is asserted that the activity of superconsciousness, recombining previously accumulated experience, underlies the so-called self-determination of behavior, as a result of which decision options may arise that have never been encountered previously. In other words: the freedom that is maximally available to man is manifested in his creative activity.


Nervous Activity Mental Activity Creative Activity High Nervous Activity Decision Option 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. V. Simonov
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and NeurophysiologyRussian Academy of SciencesMoscow

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