A Plastic Temporal Brain Code for Conscious State Generation

Neural Plasticity 2009:1-15 (2009)
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Abstract

Consciousness is known to be limited in processing capacity and often described in terms of a unique processing stream across a single dimension: time. In this paper, we discuss a purely temporal pattern code, functionally decoupled from spatial signals, for conscious state generation in the brain. Arguments in favour of such a code include Dehaene et al.’s long-distance reverberation postulate, Ramachandran’s remapping hypothesis, evidence for a temporal coherence index and coincidence detectors, and Grossberg’s Adaptive Resonance Theory. A time-bin resonance model is developed, where temporal signatures of conscious states are generated on the basis of signal reverberation across large distances in highly plastic neural circuits. The temporal signatures are delivered by neural activity patterns which, beyond a certain statistical threshold, activate, maintain, and terminate a conscious brain state like a bar code would activate, maintain, or inactivate the electronic locks of a safe. Such temporal resonance would reflect a higher level of neural processing, one that is independent from sensorial or perceptual brain mechanisms.

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Birgitta Dresp-Langley
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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