The chief undertaking in the studies of consciousness is that of unravelling the neural correlates of consciousness. To this day, this crusade remains at an impasse, with a clash of two main theoretical stances: the Global Neuronal Workspace and the Recurrent Processing. Yet, cellular and neurophysiological studies of consciousness have been mostly dissociated from the two. Herein, a theoretical review will be put forth with the aim to change that. In its first half, I will cover the hard available evidence on the neurophysiology of consciousness, and in its second half, I will weave a theoretical model that reconciles the all-or-none cortical ignition (P3b) and graded recurrent processing (VAN) theories on the basis of neurophysiological evidence. As should be made clear, this Neural Hierarchy model substantiates and expands on a novel take on conscious awareness: the levels of processing approach, partitioning the conscious architecture into lower- and higher-order, graded and nonlinear.
Keywords: GNW; NCC; P3b; VAN; all-or-none; apical dendrite; burst firing; consciousness; cortical ignition; graded; levels of processing; nonlinear; recurrent processing.
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