Wednesday 4 September 2013

The Quest to Understand Consciousness

Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness — that is a marvelous fact — but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self.

This TED talk is by Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist who is most well known for his book, Descartes Error, and his research on the importance of emotions to cognition.  In the talk, Damasio describes consciousness as the combination of your mind, which is a flow of mental images, and the self, i.e. your “you.”  Consciousness occurs when “self comes to mind” (see screenshot from the talk below), which just happens to be the name of his most recent book, Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain.

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