Internal narratives: Brain networks and levels of awareness

Senses are physiological capacities of organisms. Good examples of (advanced) sense organs are eyes and ears.

With the help of the sense organs the organism receives data from its environment and can thereby increase its chances to survive.

This data information is processed by special neurons inside the organism, usually brought together in a brain.

Even an animal like the roundworm C. elegans has a brain (consisting of around 300 neurons). The brain of a jellyfish consists of around 800 neurons, fruit flies have ca. 100,000 neurons, modern humans 86,000,000,000 neurons. But don’t believe we humans have the most neurons. The African elephant has no less than 267,000,000,000 neurons (so in a way God seems to love elephants more than He loves us humans, although we are created In Imaginem Sui, in His image).

BTW, you can find more information about the number of neurons in different species here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_by_number_of_neurons

What all these neurons have in common is that they belong to different neural processing networks inside our brains.

In this blog post (I’m now reblogging) three major networks are described: (1) the central executive, (2) the default mode, and (3) the salience network. (Salience can here be translated to “Relevance”.)

Here’s a quote from the reblogged article; in it the special functions of these three networks are described:

The executive network is “responsible for high-level cognitive functions, notably the control of attention and working memory”, the default network is “an integrated system for self-related cognitive activity, including autobiographical, self-monitoring and social functions”, and the salience network “mediates attention to the external and internal worlds”. (END OF QUOTE)

The information process in our brains can also be described as consisting of at least three components. Those are (a) a detecting and discerning process (a.k.a. perception); (b) a process that brings different perceptions together (a.k.a. the associative process or, simply, associations); and finally (c) the process of trying to interpret or explain what processes (a) and (b) mean, or result in.

This third interpretative process involves inventing, or contriving, an idea that formulates the perception, and its caused associations, mentally, which is called conceptualization.

In other words, to conceptualize is to try to receive an interpretation, a.k.a. explanation, that the conscious you can feel content with and accept as the “real” explanation of what started the whole process (i.e. what your eyes and ears just reported/signaled to the thalamus and from there was forwarded to different networks in the brain).

It’s important to stress that all these networks in the brain support both unconscious and conscious awareness, that is, representations – or conceptualizations – can, and does, often operate below the level of awareness. And because all these representations always (in a healthy brain) become tagged with emotional tags (for example fear), and because they always start at a subconscious level, it’s correct to say that they are, always, in one way or another, a result of priming.

This latter process means you are prone to interpret what you see or hear in a way that coincides with your own cognitive belief paradigm systems.

That’s why Christian God believers (and UFO disbeliever) often think they see angels, demons or ghosts, while an atheistic UFO believer is convinced he/she instead sees an alien being or an extraterrestrial spaceship, from another (exo)planet.

BTW, here’s a very good article explaining the process of priming: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priming_(psychology) .

With all this said, now, at last, it’s time for you to read the article I just reblogged.

Emergent Cognition Project

In what waysis awareness related to information processing? Although we can be aware of our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we are not directly aware of the activity involved in generating them. Those activities, including Perception, Association, and Conceptualization, function at levels prior to conscious awareness. However,it is possible that conscious, subconscious, and unconscious awareness represent another hierarchy oflevels within an emergent cognitive system.

In their article about a large-scale brain networks framework of cognition, Bressler and Menon describe three major networks: central executive, default mode, and salience. The executive network is “responsible for high-level cognitive functions, notably the control of attention and working memory”, the default network is “an integrated system for self-related cognitive activity, including autobiographical, self-monitoring and social functions”, and the salience network “mediates attention to the external and internal worlds”. These networks supportconscious and subconscious awareness, while perceptual, associative, and conceptual levels of cognition generateunconscious…

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Internal narratives: Brain networks and levels of awareness

  1. very interesting links, thanks for sharing 😀

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