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Review
. 2010 Jun;9(2):123-52.
doi: 10.1142/s021963521000241x.

Perceptual Qualia and Local Network Behavior in the Cerebral Cortex

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Review

Perceptual Qualia and Local Network Behavior in the Cerebral Cortex

Roger D Orpwood. J Integr Neurosci. .

Abstract

This paper explores the implications of a recently published theory that relates the experience of qualia to the attractor activity in networks of pyramidal cells in the cerebral cortex. The paper builds on this theory, and aims to link activity in different networks to the nature of the qualia experienced. Some basic links between network activity and qualia experiences are initially presented, showing the importance of learning, and the paper then proceeds to relate these mechanisms to the qualia experienced during sensory perception. The paper argues that attractor behavior in networks of layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons could underpin the vivid sensory qualia of perception, and attractor behavior in networks of layer 5A pyramidal neurons could have a role in the more understanding kind of perceptual qualia. Communication between these networks is explored to suggest their involvement in putting incoming sensory information into the context of all prior experience, and the understanding that could result.

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