Unlocking the Brain

Georg Northoff
Pub date
Feb 2014
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Neuroscience has made considerable progress in figuring out how the brain works. We know much about the molecular-genetic and biochemical underpinnings of sensory and motor functions, and recent neuroimaging work has opened the door to investigating the neural underpinnings of higher-order cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, and even free will. In these types of investigations, researchers apply specific stimuli to induce neural activity in the brain and look for the function in question. However, there may be more to the brain and its neuronal states than the changes in activity we induce by applying particular external stimuli. In Volume 1 of Unlocking the Brain, Coding, Georg Northoff presents his argument for how the brain must code the relationship between its resting state activity and stimulus-induced activity in order to enable and predispose mental states and consciousness. In Volume 2, Consciousness, Georg Northoff addresses consciousness by hypothesizing about the relationship between particular neuronal mechanisms and the various phenomenal features of consciousness.


List of Figures
Introduction to Volume I
Part I: Coding Extrinsic Stimuli: From the Environment to the Brain
Chapter 1: Sparse Coding and Natural Statistics
Chapter 2: Sparse Coding and Neural Inhibition
Chapter 3: Sparse Coding on a Regional Level
Part II: Coding Intrinsic Activity: From the Brain to the Brain
Chapter 4: Spatial Structure of Intrinsic Activity
Chapter 5: Temporal Structure of Intrinsic Activity
Chapter 6: Sparse Coding of Intrinsic Activity
Part III: Coding Intrinsic Predictions: From the Brain to Anticipation
Chapter 7: Predictive Coding and Difference-Based Coding
Chapter 8: Predictive Coding and Social and Vegetative Statistics
Chapter 9: Predictive Coding and the Brain's Intrinsic Activity
Part IV: Coding Extrinsic Activity: From the Brain to the Environment
Chapter 10: Stimulus-Stimulus Interaction and Neural Coding
Chapter 11: Rest-Stimulus Interaction and Difference-Based Coding
Chapter 12: Rest-Stimulus Interaction and GABA
Epilogue: A Quick Guide to the Brain
Appendix: Theoretical Reflections
Appendix I: Neuro-Empirical Remark: Resting State Activity versus Stimulus-Induced Activity and the Continuity Hypothesis
Appendix II: Neuro-Theoretical Remark: Localizationism versus Holism
Appendix III: Neuro-Conceptual Remar: Concept of "Difference"
Appendix IV: Neuro-Epistemological Remark: Brain versus Observer
List of Figures
Introduction to Volume II
Part V Spatiotemporal Continuity and Consciousness
Chapter 13: Midline regions and 'Stream of Consciousness'
Chapter 14: Slow cortical potentials and 'width of presence'
Chapter 15: Temporal nestedness and 'duration bloc'
Chapter 16: Functional Connectivity and 'Inner space consciousness'
Chapter 17: Glutamate, GABA, and 'Inner time and space consciousness'
Part VI Spatiotemporal Unity and Consciousness
Chapter 18: Resting state and Pre-Phenomenal Unity
Chapter 19: Gamma and Phenomenal Unity
Chapter 20: Natural statistics and 'environment-brain unity'
Chapter 21: Unity and Subjectivity
Chapter 22: Unity and subjectivity in schizophrenia
Part VII Spatiotemporal Organisation and Consciousness
Chapter 23: Resting state and Self-specificity
Chapter 24: Self-Specificity and Self-perspectival organisation
Chapter 25: Resting state and pre-intentional organisation
Chapter 26: Neuro-Phenomenal Evidence - Dreams and Mind wandering
Chapter 27: Neuro-Psychiatric Evidence - Schizophrenia and Depression
Part VIII Spatiotemporal Quality and Consciousness
Chapter 28: Resting state and Qualia
Chapter 29: Rest-Stimulus interaction and Qualia
Chapter 30: Neuronal transfer and Qualia
Chapter 31: Affect and Qualia
Chapter 32: Body and Qualia
Epilogue: Keyholes in the brain's door to consciousness
Appendix: Related Issues
Appendix to Introduction/Appendix 1: Brain and Consciousness
Appendix to Part I/Appendix 2: Brain and Time
Appendix to Part II/Appendix 3: Brain and Unity
Appendix to Part III/Appendix 4: Brain and Self

About the author: 

Georg Northoff, Ph.D., is Director of Research Unit for Mind, Brain imaging and Neuroethics, Canada Research Chair, and EJLB-Michael Smith Chair for Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Institute of Mental Health Research, University of Ottawa.

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