Notes on Consciousness inspired by Baars 2013: Dynamic Global Workspace See Also: Book Notes.

Global Workspace Theory CorticoThalamic Animation

All CorticalThalamic Connections

This animation shows the brain regions and connections that activate for a series of 3 ideas. It is a schematic representation of the CorticoThalamic Complex. The inner circles are thalamic nuclei. The outer circle is the cerebral cortex. The ovals in the outer circle are cortical patches or parcels. The lines connecting them are, for the most part, white matter, altho, some represent functional connections. The whole thing takes few seconds.

The script for the 3 ideas is simple: You are standing by the side of the road. You 1) notice something, you focus your attention, but, it is gone, you 2) remember a butterfly from childhood and then 3) a red Ferrari zooms by. At each idea, the outer circle flashes. See more below.

The goal is to convey the concepts of brain networks interconnecting, building coalitions and a neuronal avalanche.

This Animation is a work of Science Fiction (Faster, Slower)

The networks and brain regions are real - and something like this actually happens - and this is plausable. Over half of the details are from research papers, but, some embellishments were made. And, some severe simplification.

The two main methods for identifying networks are 1) structural, tracing physical connections or using DTI and 2) functional, looking at Resting State Networks using fMRI.

The four networks in this animation: Visual System (green), Dorsal Attention (purple), Auditory (red), Default Mode (blue). And: All Connections. Data files: pathsAttention.txt, pathsVisual.txt, pathsAuditory.txt, pathsDMN.txt, v10_nuclei.txt and v10_patches.txt. A 600 line python script cobbles it together. Let me know if you are interested.

The visual system is based partly on van Essen. [[ to do! be more explicit about real paths from research and "pretty paths" ]]

The thalamic nuclei connections in this animation come from the Supplemental Tables of this paper: Functional topography of the thalamocortical system in human (2015) Rui Yuan, Xin Di, Paul A. Taylor, Suril Gohel, Yuan-Hsiung Tsai, Bharat B. Biswal

The brain regions are real and are also referred to as patches and parcels. The Thalamic Nuclei are real. However the timings and connections were originally based on real data, but, they have been embellished to tell a story.

You can Single Step thru 24 frames. Frame 8 is Noticing, Frame 15 is Remembering, Frame 23 is the Ferrari. In addition to the 24 times slices, there are three speeds of the animation (lower right) and five network images (upper left). The links are not that apparent. Next time...

The flash in the outer circle signifies an idea becoming conscious. We really only have one conscious idea at a time. The next "thought to be" is one of several preconscius, or preattentive, coalitions. One coalition "snowballs", gathering enough regions to cause a "neuronal avalanche" or a global ignition represented by the color flash. This allows the global broadcast of Global Workspace Theory to recruit the whole brain to participate in the new idea. Also, at least in bottom up avalanches, there is a wave of inhibitory firings called the P300 wave.

So much more to say. Same color == resonate, cyan color means networks have merged, fire together, wire together. Ignition == Avalanche, preconscious... Fast

Thalamic Nuclei from Yuan 2015 and Cortical Regions
The human thalamus is an integrative hub for functional brain networks

What's Next for Consciousness Visualization?

This is a schematic version. I hope to do a WebGL version, so, you can see the thalamic nuclei and cortical regions in context.

Bernard Baars's ideas for Future Directions.

YouTube: Organization of the cortico-thalamic connections from the Allen Brain Institute. Show the contections from the cortex to the thalamus in 3D.

Wikipedia: CT resonance


2015-07-25 jch