Why Red Doesnt Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the feel of consciousness

A Journey Into the Animal Mind
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mygaytrip.com/meilleur-prix-azithromycine-250mg-kopen.php Sensory plasticity has further been investigated using radically new modes of interaction, for example with a belt providing a tactile indication of the magnetic north e. Kaspar et al. Subjects wearing such a sensory augmentation device report changes of spatial experience associated with the use of the device, demonstrating an attunement to the new sensorimotor contingencies. A remarkable success of the sensorimotor theory is in the domain of color experience, where the theory has inspired a new approach to color experience.

The sensorimotor approach instead takes the stance that the quality of color experience must be constituted by the laws that govern the way colored surfaces change the light reflected into the eye as those surfaces are moved around under different illuminants — or as differently illuminated parts of a surface are sampled with the eyes. A mathematical analysis then shows that these laws can be accurately described by 3 x 3 matrices.

Focusing on the dynamics of our sensorimotor engagement with colored surfaces thus helps to explain key aspects of color experience. Further support for a sensorimotor approach to color experience comes from experiments suggesting that the experience of color is also partially constituted by the way color sampling changes as a colored patch is seen in central vs. The sensorimotor approach offers guidance for research aiming towards systems with artificial consciousness. No additional ingredient is required.

This implies that, for example, the creation of artificial life the synthesis of organizational principles of life would be useful for artificial consciousness only to the extent that it enables a range of sensorimotor capacities. Second, sensorimotor theory provides an outline of an answer to the question concerning which sensorimotor capacities are required for perceptual consciousness.

As explained above, engagement with sensorimotor dependencies is not sufficient for perceptual consciousness because engagement with sensorimotor dependencies can remain unconscious. The sensorimotor account therefore proposes further criteria to guarantee perceptual consciousness: we only ascribe consciousness when a system is able to make use of its grasp of sensorimotor dependencies in more advanced abilities such as verbal report or planning. Thus research aimed at artificial consciousness should aim for robotic systems with such more advanced capacities.

In turn, making robotic implementations will help us delimit more precisely the properties of systems to which we are willing to ascribe consciousness. That the sensorimotor theory offers a successful research program is evident from the empirical work mentioned above.

In addition, there are theoretical developments worth pointing out. One development concerns the notion of space. Biological agents possess spatial skills allowing them to navigate and perceive the location of objects in space, and much research has concerned the fine-tuning of such spatial skills.

How is this possible, given that a priori the only information available to brains is undifferentiated neural spike trains? These distinctions can facilitate detailed investigations of the contribution to perceptual development of particular aspects of our sensorimotor engagement with the environment. For example, our sensorimotor environment puts constraints on perceptual development, and the existence of systematic patterns of sensorimotor coordination can have important implications for perceptual development, because it introduces biases in the opportunity to get attuned to particular sensorimotor patterns.

The notion of sensory presence has also been developed in some detail. Consider that when we look at an object we have a sense of its back side. A tomato for example appears to us as a three-dimensional object whose parts seem present to us even if they are currently out of view. The idea is that this sense of presence reflects our capacity to bring unseen features into view: we have a sense of presence of the backside of objects because they are available to us for exploration. The same even applies to elements of the scene which are in view , since whatever we attend to, there is always more detail available, and more ways of attending to it.

The notion can be applied to other perceptual modalities as well e. More about neural processes in the section below. While much research has focused on the laws describing perceptual interactions, the sensorimotor approach has also been extended to address atypical phenomena such as synesthesia and phantom limb experiences. Similarly, to describe phantom limb experiences, the sensorimotor theory must appeal to sensorimotor relations defining the spatial presence of a limb which need not involve motor action of the limb itself, since one might have the experience as of a paralyzed limb.

A key issue then is why such experiences do not always adapt away, while in other cases e. Another issue that has been addressed by sensorimotor theory concerns similarities between vision and visual imagery. Thomas To the extent that the perceptual systems of a subject are active as if the subject is interacting with the environment, the experience of imagery will be similar to perception. Just as is the case for our perceptual capacities, capacities of imagery also derive from, and can be made sense of in terms of our attunement to the sensorimotor patterns characterizing active engagement with the environment e.

The vividness of experience during imagery or dreaming can be understood from the same perspective. To the extent that, during imagery or dreaming, our brains can be active as if we are engaging with the world, our experience may be as vivid as when we are actually engaging with the world.. Moreover the sensorimotor theory has an edge on traditional theories, because it can additionally explain why imagery typically does not completely feel like real seeing: the theory explains this in terms of the lack of bodiliness, grabbiness and insubordinateness involved in the interaction we have with the world when we are imagining.

In short, the sensorimotor account generates testable predictions and it provides a fruitful perspective for the investigation of experience. While the ramifications of this perspective for neuroscience are still largely to be explored, progress is being made on key aspects of the theory, which is maturing to capture an increasing range of applications. Along the way, we may expect offshoots of the account to develop into semi-autonomous domains of research, raising the continuing challenge to maintain conceptual coherence in accounting for a plethora of phenomena.

Hopes are that the fundamental commitments of sensorimotor theory continue to provide unity in an expanding research program. There are two major challenges for developing sensorimotor theory, and these are closely related. One is to make links to the development of perceptual capacities. The other is to specify the neural processes enabling our attunement to sensorimotor dependencies. As such the theory is not committed to any particular account of how our perceptual capacities come into being.

Below we address development first, then we turn to the brain. We end the section pointing at some experiences that are not addressed by the present sensorimotor theory. The developmental question concerns how sensorimotor dependencies are actually learnt: what kind of learning and reinforcement mechanisms are at play? How do the statistics of environmental stimulation influence learning?

And of course a full account of perceptual development would address ontogenesis of perceptual capacities as well as the factors at play over evolutionary timescales the latter explaining constraints on ontogenesis.

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The guidance sensorimotor theory can give here is to provide an account of what it is that develops, namely a skillful engagement with the environment, which avoids representationalist presuppositions. For some steps towards a theory of the development of perceptual sensorimotor capacities, see Di Paolo et al. Another challenge for sensorimotor theory is to specify what neural processes enable conscious perceptual engagement with the environment. Present sensorimotor theory primarily aims to clarify the problem to be solved, leaving proposals for specific neural mechanisms still largely to be worked out or to be brought into connection with the sensorimotor framework.

While the sensorimotor theory offers the outlines of a descriptive account of the contrast between conscious and unconscious, the neural processes explaining or correlating to these descriptive features remain to be given.

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According to neural workspace theories, some neural activity has a larger impact on further processes in the brain — thus potentially resulting in an impact on deliberate action, further thought and verbal report — and this neural activity is proposed to be particularly relevant to consciousness e. Sensorimotor theory can appeal to such theories as a way of implementing neurally the differences between the modes of engagement with the environment that the theory considers to correspond to conscious and non-conscious engagement see also the relation to the Multiple Drafts Model below.

But note that workspace theories tend to explicate perceptual consciousness in terms of the availability of information to brain subsystems. For compatibility with the sensorimotor theory, this availability would have to be cashed out in terms of the degree to which these subsystems come under the influence of potential interactions with the environment. The sensorimotor theory then additionally provides an account of why this availability is accompanied by an experiential quality: the phenomenal character of experience corresponds to the particular skills involved in the ongoing engagement with the environment.

The workspace theories, because they only talk about brain availability, have difficulties making the link with phenomenal quality. Second, consider the particular quality of experience. If, as the sensorimotor theory claims, phenomenal quality derives from attunement to particular sensorimotor dependencies, the question then becomes how neural activity could enable this attunement. Importantly, being attuned to the sensorimotor dependencies pertaining to a situation need not be understood as involving active simulation of the sensory consequences of all possible movements.

To be attuned to an environmental property e. An idea then is to regard development of a sensitivity to a particular set of sensorimotor dependencies as an increasing insensitivity to differences within the set of dependencies. A possible neural correlate to this desensitization to changes in viewing conditions might consist in convergence of sensory responses on an internal process. Such a convergence is proposed for example by predictive processing accounts of perception, which appeal to hierarchical structures of interactions within the brain e.

Friston ; Clark ; more on this approach below. Another important point for the sensorimotor theory concerns the relation between phenomenal experience and ongoing neural activity. The possibility of bodily exploration of the environment by touch, visual exploration, etc.

While the phenomenal character of sensory experience depends on is partly described by such structural features of our temporally extended engagement with the environment, we should not project these features onto any moment of the exploratory activity. It would therefore be a mistake to propose particular neural mechanisms relating to a continuous buzzing sense of presence, for such mechanisms may simply not exist. Further issues may be raised about the scope of the theory, in particular concerning the range of experiential phenomena addressed.

Sensorimotor theory has been developed as an account of perceptual consciousness and it has been applied to derivative experiences like imagery and synesthetic experiences. It remains an open question as to how, or to what extent, the approach can be applied to other experiences such as emotional experiences joy, anger, sadness etc. However, such dependencies arguably fail to explain the crucial affective aspects of the experiences. A more natural way to develop a sensorimotor perspective to apply to some of the experiences mentioned above seems therefore to describe the experiences as modulations of our sensorimotor engagement with the environment.

Different emotions , sensations and bodily conditions all imply different behavioral tendencies, they may come with different bodily postures and changes in our sensitivities to the environment. Arguably, sensorimotor theory thus provides what is lacking in the Multiple Drafts Model, and it does so without committing to a Cartesian Theater or a questionable notion of qualia as something that becomes disconnected from what we say and do. Ecological approaches e.

Gibson and active perception approaches e. Ballard stress the active exploration of the environment. There is also an important difference in emphasis between ecological approaches and sensorimotor theory: ecological approaches rightly stress the importance of dynamic invariants in allowing agents to act in an adaptive way in their environments. Sensorimotor theory explicitly addresses the phenomenal quality of conscious experience. The enactive focus on bodily engagement with the environment has strong affinity with the phenomenological work of for example Husserl and Merleau-Ponty But what kind of body is required for conscious engagement?

Thompson Sensorimotor theory need not be committed to this necessity claim: it implies that if life is necessary, it is so only because without life we would not have the appropriate sensorimotor capacities necessary for perceptual consciousness. Sensorimotor theory emphasizes capacities rather than committing to representationalism content-carrying vehicles or to computational functionalism trafficking in contents.

In fact, sensorimotor theory has particularly important antecedents in the work of Hurley, stressing that perception and action are interdependent and that both are dependent on sensorimotor dynamics Hurley ; Like sensorimotor theory, higher order theories appeal to cognitive capacities to characterize the contrast between conscious and not conscious. Sensorimotor theory differs from this approach.

It stipulates that for us to be conscious of something in the environment or of our way of interacting with the environment , the thing must play a role in subsequent thought or behavior for example, when we reflect on something in the environment we are conscious of the thing in the environment, as may be evident from our subsequent behavior. Furthermore, sensorimotor theory claims that the phenomenal character of the experience is then explained by our implicit grasp of sensorimotor regularities. Sensorimotor theory appeals to different activities defining the difference between conscious and not-conscious, contrasting for example making use of something in planning on the one hand, with fleeting responses leaving no recognizable trace in further thought or action on the other see the Multiple Drafts Model.

Higher order theories would claim that making use of a perceptual state in deliberate planning necessitates a higher order state accessing the perceptual state, if the resulting behavior is to count as evidence for conscious perceptual experience. The sensorimotor theory is not committed to such a model of the difference between conscious and not conscious: given that sensorimotor theory claims that what is fundamental for accounting for consciousness are the different capacities implied by conscious experience compared to unconscious engagement, it does not need to make the additional assertion that conscious experience involves or must involve higher order access to otherwise unconscious mental states.

Sensorimotor theory differs from standard approaches stressing the relevance of action-related signals, such as familiar from Helmholtz and classically-interpreted Bayesian approaches to perception, including predictive processes accounts of perception e. Clark Note that while perceptual development may be described by Bayesian models, this does not imply the existence of such Bayesian models within the brain. However, from the perspective of sensorimotor theory, the focus of theorizing about experience should never be the content ascribed to such models, but always the patterns of engagement they enable.

Auvray, M. Baars, B. A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bach-y-Rita, P. The relationship between motor processes and cognition in tactile vision substitution. In Prinz, P. Berlin: Springer. Vision substitution by tactile image projection. Nature , , — Block, N. On a confusion about a function of consciousness.

Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 18 2 , — Bompas, A. Evidence for a role of action in colour perception. Perception , 35 1 , 65— Buhrmann, T. A dynamical systems account of sensorimotor contingencies. Chalmers, D. Oxford University Press. Clark, A. Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 36 03 , — Degenaar, J.

Perception from the phenomenal stance. Logique et Analyse , , — Through the inverting glass: first-person observations on spatial vision and imagery. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences , 13 2 , — Workspace and sensorimotor theories: complementary approaches to experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies , 16 9 , 77— Dehaene, S. Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: basic evidence and a workspace framework. Cognition, 79 , 1— DeValois, K. Color vision. Scholarpedia , 6 4 Di Paolo, E. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience , 8, Friston, K.

Hierarchical models in the brain. PLoS Computational Biology 4 11 e Helmholtz, H. The facts in perception with notes and comments by Moritz Schlick , in Cohen, R. Hermann von Helmholtz: Epistemological Writings , And yet, our hands are converted fins, our hiccups the relics of gill-breathing.

Their inability to see far in their murky environment is sometimes thought to be a cognitive impairment. But new evidence indicates that fish have minds rich with memories; some are able to recall associations from more than 10 days earlier. They also seem to be capable of deception. We have high-definition footage of grouper fish teaming up with eels to scare prey out of reefs, the two coordinating their actions with sophisticated head signals.

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This item:Why Red Doesn't Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the feel of consciousness by J. Kevin O'Regan Hardcover $ Kevin O'Regan is director of one of France's most influential experimental psychology laboratories. In his book, Why Red doesn’t sound like a bell, J. Kevin. Why Red Doesn't Sound Like a Bell. Understanding the feel of consciousness. J. Kevin O'Regan. Provides the definitive account of the.

This behavior suggests that fish possess a theory of mind, an ability to speculate about the mental states of other beings. A more troubling set of behaviors has emerged from experiments designed to determine whether fish feel pain. One of the most intense states of consciousness, pain is something beyond the mere detection of damage. Even the simplest of bacteria have sensors on their external membranes; when the sensors detect trace amounts of dangerous chemicals, the bacteria respond with a programmed flight reflex.

But bacteria have no central nervous system where these signals are integrated into a three-dimensional experience of the chemical environment. Fish have many more kinds of sensors than bacteria do. Their sensors flare when the water temperature spikes, when they come into contact with corrosive chemicals, when a hook rips through their scales and into their flesh. In the lab, when trout lips are injected with acid, the fish do not merely respond at the site. These behaviors cease when the fish are given morphine.

Read: How much pain should animals endure for science? Such actions call the ethics of the research itself into question. But the experiences of lab fish are nothing compared with those endured by the trillions of aquatic animals that humans yank, unceremoniously, out of oceans and rivers and lakes every year.

Fish pain is something different from our own pain. In the elaborate mirrored hall that is human consciousness, pain takes on existential dimensions. But we would do well to remember that our perspective can make our pain easier to bear, if only by giving it an expiration date. The Jains tell a story about Neminath, a man from deep antiquity who is said to have been sensitive to the distress calls of other animals. He developed his unusual fondness for animals while tending cattle in pastures on the banks of the Yamuna River, in his home village of Shauripur, which I reached four hours after leaving Delhi.

One is said to have floated perfectly still in the womb, sending not so much as a ripple through the amniotic fluid, to avoid harming his mother. Only a few Fordmakers are confirmed historical figures, and Neminath is not one of them. The Jains say Neminath left his village for good on the day of his wedding. That morning, he mounted an elephant, intent on riding it to the temple where he was to be wed. On the way, he heard a series of agonized screams, and demanded to know their origin.

This moment transformed Neminath. Some versions of this story say he freed the surviving animals, including a fish that he carried, in his hands, back to the river. Others say he fled. All agree that he renounced his former life. Rather than marry his bride, he set out for Girnar, a sacred mountain in Gujarat, 40 miles from the Arabian Sea. M y own ascent up Girnar began before dawn. It followed the usual topography of enlightenment. I was to climb 7, steps, all built into the mountain, by nine in the morning, so as not to be late for a ritual at an ancient temple near the peak.

Even today, the Asiatic lion still ranks among the rarest of the large feline predators, rarer even than its neighbor to the north, the snow leopard, which is so scarce that a glimpse of one padding down a jagged Himalayan crag is said to consummate a spiritual pilgrimage. Daylight brought langur monkeys onto the trailside boulders. One watched a vendor set up his stall to offer food and water to passing Jain pilgrims. Monkeys that spotted a stalking cat let out a specific call. On the hike up Girnar, barefoot women kept passing me, wearing iridescent saris in bright shades of orange, green, or pink.

Their delicate silver anklets tinkled as they went. When I reached a trail marker that said I was still 1, steps from the temple, I removed my pack and hopped up onto a wall, letting my legs dangle. Two switchbacks below, an aged Jain monk in a white robe was struggling up the steps. He looked lonely, and seemed to be having trouble breathing. When Jain monks and nuns renounce worldly life, they sever all family ties. They embrace their children one last time, and vow never to see them again, unless chance brings them together on the rural back roads where the monks and nuns wander for the rest of their lives, carrying all their possessions on their back.

The monk and I had the trail to ourselves for a moment. All was silent but for a buzzing sound that I traced to a spindly black wasp bobbing above a dense clump of bougainvillea. The last ancestor this wasp and I shared likely lived more than million years ago. The elongated shape and micro-tiled matte finish of its eyes made it seem too alien to be conscious.

But appearances can deceive: Some wasps are thought to have evolved large eyes to observe social cues, and members of certain wasp species can learn the facial features of individual colony members. Wasps, like bees and ants, are hymenopterans, an order of animals that displays strikingly sophisticated behaviors. Ants build body-to-body bridges that allow whole colonies to cross gaps in their terrain.

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If one picks up a novel nectar-extraction technique, surrounding bees may mimic the behavior, causing it to cascade across the colony, or even through generations. In one experiment, honeybees were attracted to a boat at the center of a lake, which scientists had stocked with sugar water. Other scientists were not able to replicate this result, but different experiments suggest that bees are capable of consulting a mental map in this way. Andrew Barron, a neuroscientist from Macquarie University, in Australia, has spent the past decade identifying fine neural structures in honeybee brains.

He thinks structures in the bee brain integrate spatial information in a way that is analogous to processes in the human midbrain. Fruit flies have only , neurons, and they too display complex behaviors. Read: Bees love getting high on caffeine. Many invertebrate lineages never developed anything beyond a rudimentary nervous system, a network of neurons dispersed evenly through a wormlike form.

But more than half a billion years ago, natural selection began to shape other squirming blobs into arthropods with distinct appendages and newly specialized sensory organs, which they used to achieve liberation from a drifting life of stimulus and response. The first animals to direct themselves through three-dimensional space would have encountered a new set of problems whose solution may have been the evolution of consciousness. Take the black wasp. But these information streams arrived in its brain at different times.

To form an accurate and continuous account of the external world, the wasp needed to sync these signals. And it needed to correct any errors introduced by its own movements, a difficult trick given that some of its sensors are mounted on body parts that are themselves mobile, not least its swiveling head. Merker says that consciousness is just the multisensory view from inside this model.

The syncing processes and the jangle and noise from our mobile bodies are all missing from this conscious view—some invisible, algorithmic Stanley Kubrick seems to edit them out. Nor do we experience the mechanisms that convert our desires into movements. When I wished to begin hiking up the mountain again, I would simply set off, without thinking about the individual muscle contractions that each step required.

Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness

When a wasp flies, it is probably not aware of its every wing beat. It may simply will itself through space. It may have been colorless and barren of sharply defined objects. It may have been episodic, flickering on in some situations and off in others. It may have been a murkily sensed perimeter of binary feelings, a bubble of good and bad experienced by something central and unitary. To those of us who have seen stars shining on the far side of the cosmos, this existence would be claustrophobic to a degree that is scarcely imaginable. W h en the monk arrived at the wall where I was resting, the wasp flew away, rising up toward the sun until I lost it in the light.

The monk was wearing a white mask like those that some Jains wear to avoid inhaling insects and other tiny creatures. I nodded to him as he passed, and lay back against the warm stone of the mountain. The monk was a white dot some six switchbacks up by the time I hopped off the wall and continued the climb, my legs stiffened by the break.

I reached the entrance to the temple complex with only 15 minutes to spare. Its marble courtyard shone brilliant white, as though bleached by the mountain sun. Forty Jains were sitting on the floor in neat rows, their legs crossed in the lotus position. The men were dressed in all white. I wedged into a spot in the back. We faced a dark, tunnel-like space lined by two sets of columns.

At the far end, candlelight illuminated a black marble statue of a seated male figure. Its barrel chest was inlaid with gemstones, as were its eyes, which appeared to float, serenely, in the dark space, inducing a hypnotic effect, broken only when the man sitting next to me tugged my shirt. It was here on this mountain that Neminath is said to have achieved a state of total, unimpeded consciousness, with perceptual access to the entire universe, including every kind of animal mind.

Jains believe that humans are special because, in our natural state, we are nearest to this experience of enlightenment. The pilgrims started singing, first in a low hum and then steadily louder. Two others bashed cymbals together. Men and women walked in from opposite doors, converging, in two lines, on either side of the tunnel. A woman wearing an orange sari and a gold crown crossed in front of Neminath, lifted a vessel over his black-marble head, and poured out a mixture of milk and blessed water.

When she finished, a white-robed man from the other line did the same. The singing grew louder until it verged on ecstatic. The pilgrims raised their arms and clapped overhead, faster and faster. A climax seemed to loom, but then it all dropped away. The drums and the bells and the cymbals went quiet, leaving a clear sonic space that was filled by a final blow on a conch.

It rang out of the temple and over the ancient peaks. As it trailed off, I wondered whether, in the centuries to come, this place might become something more than a Jain house of worship. Maybe it will become a place to mark a moment in human history, when we awakened from the dream that we are the only minds that nature brought into being.

Maybe people will come here from all corners of the Earth to pay their respects to Neminath, who is, after all, only a stand-in for whoever it was who first heard animal screams and understood their meaning. The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives. In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence.

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My childhood neighbor was a varsity student-athlete, the president of the junior class, and the most popular girl in school. One day in September , a car crash took her life. She had been driving home on the freeway when her car went across the median and collided with one going the opposite direction, killing both drivers. A third vehicle was said to have struck her car moments before, causing her to lose control.

The police put out a call for information, apparently without success. But at the time, it felt like a basically unavoidable tragedy. In our small city in Michigan—like almost everywhere in America—driving is the price of first-class citizenship. We never stopped to ask whether a different bargain was possible. Since her passing, approximately 1 million more Americans have been killed in car crashes. Great wealth insulates people from consequences, but not always, absolutely, or forever.

Last Saturday, the billionaire and registered sex offender returned from a trip to Paris only to be arrested. The U. In and , Epstein—once a reliable companion of the well connected—faced extensive, detailed allegations that he paid multiple minors for sexual contact and for their services in procuring other minors. Most people, hammered with that kind of evidence, would spend the rest of their lives in prison. But Epstein could afford the lavish attention of a defense team staffed by legal luminaries such as Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr.

Most of us hope an attorney will defend us competently at trial, but the superrich can afford to go on the offense. Former U. In the early grades, U. The results are devastating, especially for poor kids. A t first glance, the classroom I was visiting at a high-poverty school in Washington, D.

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The teacher sat at a desk in the corner, going over student work, while the first graders quietly filled out a worksheet intended to develop their reading skills. As I looked around, I noticed a small girl drawing on a piece of paper.