The neural correlates of consciousness: an analysis of cognitive skill learning

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1998 Nov 29;353(1377):1889-901. doi: 10.1098/rstb.1998.0341.


This paper presents a functional brain-imaging strategy designed to isolate neural correlates of consciousness in humans. This strategy is based on skill learning. In the example presented (rapidly generating verbs for visually presented nouns), a cognitive skill is examined before and after practice. As shown, there are marked qualitative differences in the neural circuitry supporting performance of this task in the naive and practised state that include, importantly, both increases and decreases from the baseline activity of the brain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Neurological
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed