Space, self, and the theater of consciousness
Topics:Neural Correlates of Consciousness
Keywords:Consciousness; Retinoid system; Egocentric space; Self; Attention; Illusion; Perspectival experience; Cognition; Brain; Imagery
Deposited by:Dr. Arnold Trehub
Date of Issue:2007
Journal/Publication Title:Consciousness and Cognition
Abstract:Over a decade ago, I introduced a large-scale theory of the cognitive brain which explained for the first time how the human brain is able to create internal models of its intimate world and invent models of a wider universe. An essential part of the theoretical model is an organization of neuronal mechanisms which I have named the Retinoid Model [Trehub, A. (1977). Neuronal models for cognitive processes: Networks for learning, perception and imagination. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 65, 141-169; Trehub, A. (1991). The Cognitive Brain: MIT Press]. This hypothesized brain system has structural and dynamic properties enabling it to register and appropriately integrate disparate foveal stimuli into a perspectival, egocentric representation of an extended 3D world scene including a neuronally tokened locus of the self which, in this theory, is the neuronal origin of retinoid space. As an integral part of the larger neuro-cognitive model, the retinoid system is able to perform many other useful perceptual and higher cognitive functions. In this paper, I draw on the hypothesized properties of this system to argue that neuronal activity within the retinoid structure constitutes the phenomenal content of consciousness and the unique sense of self that each of us experiences.