Neural correlates of consciousness: progress and problems

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 May;17(5):307-21. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.22.


There have been a number of advances in the search for the neural correlates of consciousness--the minimum neural mechanisms sufficient for any one specific conscious percept. In this Review, we describe recent findings showing that the anatomical neural correlates of consciousness are primarily localized to a posterior cortical hot zone that includes sensory areas, rather than to a fronto-parietal network involved in task monitoring and reporting. We also discuss some candidate neurophysiological markers of consciousness that have proved illusory, and measures of differentiation and integration of neural activity that offer more promising quantitative indices of consciousness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons / physiology*