See Also: Book Notes, (me), Notes on Consciousness, Seth: Being You, Dehaene: Consciousness and the Brain, Haidt: Happiness Hypothesis, Barrett: 7.5 Brain Lessons, Barrett: How Emotions Are Made, Sterling: Allostatis, Human: Makes Us Unique, Consciousness: Confessions, Blank Slate, Neuroscience of Human Relationships, Thinking, Fast and Slow

The Deep History of Ourselves:

The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains
Joseph LeDoux

Website. Viking 379 pages text, 10 pages index, over 100 figures, 18 pages of bibliographic key. LeDoux assumes no author has 2 papers in the same year, nor is there a tight coupling between assertions and references. But, for things that grabbed me, it was fairly easy to find the source. He tries to make each chapter "self contained". In the first half of the book, it causes some redundancy, but, in the second half, I did not notice it. The first half traces evolution. It's well done and interesting, but, I made no notes. One could start at cognition and not lose much.
Ginger's Great Interview! NOTE! this page represents things I want to refer to later and if NO WAY a summary.

#1: LeDoux presents a coherent and detailed model of how conscious emotional experience (consciousness) is the product of a hierarchy of brain networks regions with the Frontal Pole acting as the conductor. He does not declare it as a Theory of Consciousness (ToC) but rather as extra constraints to supplement the theory of Higher Order Thought to make it a multistate hierarchical model.

#2: LeDoux specifically describes schemas (mental models) in the context of working memory and how these are used in predictive coding and to inform the prefrontal higher-order network.

#3: LeDoux describes a hierarchy of consciousness consisting of phenomenal, noetic, and auotnoetic consciousness. Phenomenal consciousness is the representation of phenomena in the brain. Noetic consciousness is subjective experience. And...

p.372 - "Autonoetic consciousness (the ability to mentally model one's self in relation to time) is the essence of who each of us is, or at least of what we consciously know about ourselves. It is the basis of the conceptions that underlie our greatest achievements as a species—art, music, architecture, literature, science—and our ability to appreciate them."
image Figure 57.1 pfc hierarchy

Frontal Pole Hierarchy

I was not really aware of the Frontal Pole as a brain region. LeDoux puts it at the top of the hierarchy in the prefrontal higher-order network (Figure 65.2), which integrates information from lower level regions. (Figure 57.1)

p.360 - "The goal of this chapter is to explore how these various states are used in the neural assembly of autonoetic emotional experiences by the higher-order prefrontal network. But to do this, we have to also include a second 'prefrontal network involving medial areas (orbital, anterior cingulate, ventromedial, and dorsomedial) and the anterior insula. These additional prefrontal areas receive many of the same inputs as, and connect with, the higher-order network. They are thus sources of complex cognitive representations that can, like perceptual, mnemonic, and conceptual representations, be used in the assembly of conscious experiences by the higher-order network (figure 65.2)."

p.252 - "Within the lateral prefrontal areas, a gradient of processing from the posterior to anterior end exists, with processing becoming less stimulus-specific and more abstract in progressively more anterior regions. The gradient is defined by the bottom-up inputs to the prefrontal cortex. The more posterior areas of prefrontal cortex primarily receive inputs from unimodal secondary sensory areas. Intermediate regions, like the dorsal lateral and ventral lateral prefrontal cortex, receive a combination of unimodal and multimodal inputs; these areas exert top-down control over their posterior inputs. The most anterior region, the frontal pole, only receives inputs from multimodal convergence zones, and creates the most abstract conceptual representations in the brain; it allows maintenance of long-term goals for future planning, and contributes to reasoning and problem solving. It interacts with the dorsal and ventral lateral prefrontal regions, and these together allow executive control over both unimodal (sensory) and multimodal (conceptual) processing in posterior areas, as well as control of deliberative behavior by way of connections to the motor cortex."
image Figure 57.1 pfc hierarchy

Mental Models

New idea: pattern completion, a name for that aha moment. There must be a little squirt of dopamine then. Perhaps it means the prediction error / model update cycle stabilizes. Mental models are stored in the brain regions that use them. Visual Objects live in IT (Inferior Temporal lobe).

p.231 - "Schema work their magic by taking advantage of the ability of the brain to complete patterns from partial information, a process called pattern completion. For example, the opening phrase of a piece of music is sufficient to bring to mind the overall sound of the song, the genre of music, the artist, where you were when you heard it first, and so on."

p.227 - "Deliberation is said to utilize mental models. Perhaps the best-studied example of a mental model is a spatial map acquired by accumulating knowledge about the relationship between particular landmarks. Many animals, including bees, birds, and mammals, use such maps when foraging for food, avoiding danger, or simply getting around. But in deliberate cognition, these maps are not simply passively followed. They can also be used to generate and compare options. For example, with deliberation a route can be planned by mentally simulating both what might be the most efficient and the safest choice. Within mammals, primates have deliberative facilities that other mammals lack. Humans take it to another level altogether, in part due to the benefits that accrued from having evolved a more sophisticated brain, including the cognitive boost to the human brain conferred by language. "

p.366 - "Recent studies by Lisa Barrett and others have begun to demonstrate the importance of top-down control, predictive coding, and active inference in emotional processing and experience. And, as I have noted previously, the idea that top-down predictions and inferences influence conscious emotions can be viewed as compatible with a higher-order view. For example, in a higher-order account, especially a HOROR account [see below], missing body feedback representations can be thought of as absent lower-order states that are made up for by a top-down nonconscious conceptualization in the form of a mental model/schema. "

p.353 - "Your fear schema, for example, is the collection of memories of things that you have learned about threats, harm, danger, and fear itself, including your personal relation to them throughout your life. In the presence of a threat, your fear schema is activated (pattern-completed). The schema then provides a semantic and episodic emotional template that allows top-down conceptualization of the bottom-up, lower-order brain and body states that are also being worked with by cognitive systems memory. The template is a basis for predictive models (expectations) and scripts (possible courses of action) that are typical of such situations."

p.292 - "I tend to agree with the top-down enthusiasts, and view top-down effects on perception in terms of schema or mental models that guide pattern completion and separation. They can be said to provide the "priors" underlying the unconscious predictions/inferences that, in turn, complete the patterns from limited sensory cues. An obvious advantage is that unnecessary bottom-up computational work can be bypassed, saving brain energy and other resources. The downside, of course, is that predictions can be wrong. But if the system is constantly updating predictions based on error corrections, the errors are small and rapidly compensated for. "

p.252 - "in an active state in the secondary visual cortex while the object is being constructed via bottom-up processing. In this way, bottom-up processing is facilitated by narrowing the focus of processing. But in addition, the prefrontal cortex also receives inputs from multimodal areas that store conceptual representations and can use them to anticipate what the object identity is likely to be, and thereby facilitate pattern completion of that identity in the secondary areas faster than would be possible by bottom-up processing alone. In some cases, such top-down processing may be necessary. Charan Ranganath offers the example that a glass of apple juice and a glass of beer (once it settles) can look very similar. If you are visiting your child in a nursery school, however, you do not see beer, while if you are in a bar, you do.* Recent studies suggest that even the primary visual cortex is influenced by top-down control. " p.247 - "We can recognize the thing we know as an apple by its appearance or taste, and even its smell or the way it feels in our hand, because we have a broad concept of "apple" stored in our brain. Such concepts are formed by the accumulation of experiences with apples through different sensory modalities and the fusion of the features across sensory modalities in convergence zones that receive inputs from different unimodal areas, especially late secondary sensory areas that combine unimodal features within their given modality. Key convergence zones include the areas surrounding the superior temporal sulcus, parietal temporal junction, and temporal pole (figure 48.5). These zones form abstract conceptual memories, including aspects of schema, and make available multimodal conceptual representations that enhance and supplement processing by unimodal areas. The temporal pole is especially interesting, as it constitutes a conceptual hub that integrates information from the other multimodal areas. Another important multimodal area is the prefrontal cortex, which we will discuss in the next two chapters. "
image LeDouxFig65_2x800.jpg

Conscious Emotional Experience

p.200 - "For me, the subjective experience—the feeling—is the emotion. These are not hardwired states programmed into subcortical circuits by natural selection, but rather cognitive evaluations of situations that affect personal well-being. They thus require complex cognitive processes and self-awareness. Much of the rest of this book is concerned with the roots and origins of human cognition and consciousness. This will set the stage for me, at the very end, to present my cognitive view of emotions as conscious experiences. "

P.365 - "To summarize, my proposal is that a conscious emotional experience typically results from the processing of various nonconscious, lower-order ingredients by the prefrontal higher-order network:
(1) perceptual information about the triggering event;
(2) retrieved semantic and episodic memories;
(3) conceptual memories that add additional layers of meaning;
(4) self-information via self-schema activation;
(5) survival circuit information;
(6) brain arousal and body feedback consequences of survival circuit activation; and
(7) information about what kind of emotional situation might be unfolding as a result of activation of one's personal emotion schema. "

p.311 - "At a minimum, a theory of consciousness ultimately has to account for at least the following kinds of states:
those that are about fleeting and meaningless perceptual events (events such as a flash of light or a brief sound);
lasting but still meaningless perceptual events (an unfamiliar stimulus in isolation, such as a street sign in a foreign language);
meaningful perceptions shaped by memory (recognition of a common object alone or in the context of a scene, such as an apple in a bowl with other fruits, or a song from its opening line);
absorbing episodes of daily life (a conversation with a friend, an unpleasant encounter with a superior, the taste of a delicious dessert, an engaging piece of music or a painting, contemplation of one's own existence);
consuming illness (chronic pain, pathological fear, anxiety, or depression);
and perhaps many others. We are still in the early days of research on consciousness. At this point no theory is safe from being eliminated by future research. Of all the theories currently on the table, I believe that global workspace and higher-order theory are most likely to account for the full range of conscious experiences we have, from relatively simple perceptual states to highly complex ones involving our memories and emotions. And of these two approaches, my money is on a higher-order account, especially one along the lines of the multistate hierarchical model proposed here."

p.355 - "The popular idea of unconscious emotions needs further elaboration. As I stressed throughout this book, emotions can't be unconscious. On the other hand, because nonconscious schema are building blocks of conscious emotional experiences, feelings can seem to reflect nonconscious emotions. And since schema also influence behavior, actions can seem to have been driven by a nonconscious emotion. But emotion schema are not emotions—they are the cognitive launchpads of emotions. "

Language shapes thought

p.235 - "Recall, the Greeks sought to carve nature at its joints by classifying the natural world. They could do this because they had language. Much later, Benjamin Whorf wrote: "We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages. . . . Observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar." Whorf is partly responsible for the most famous idea about the relation of language to thought. The Whorf-Sapir hypothesis, for example, emphasized the role of language in shaping perceptual experience. This idea fell out of favor under the scrutiny of Noam Chomsky, the powerful and opinionated linguist, and his influential student, Steven Pinker. Jerry Fodor, who provided a philosophical foundation for cognitive science in its early days, also rejected the idea that natural language is the language of thought, and instead introduced the idea of "mentalese," a kind of nonconscious universal language in which we do our thinking. But with some modifications made in light of new findings, Whorf's notion that language and culture shape thought and experience is currently thriving again in psychology. Language allows thoughts to wander in novel directions and yet stay connected as a "train." It provides words to label external objects and to characterize and recognize our perceptions, memories, concepts, thoughts, beliefs, desires, and feelings. The words individuals use reflect the things of significance in their culture. For example, Whorf made famous the notion that people living in snowy environs have names for and can recognize more kinds of snow than those not living under such conditions, because snow is important for their ability to survive and thrive. "

p.235 - "Language allows thoughts to wander in novel directions and yet stay connected as a "train." It provides words to label external objects and to characterize and recognize our perceptions, memories, concepts, thoughts, beliefs, desires, and feelings. The words individuals use reflect the things of significance in their culture. For example, Whorf made famous the notion that people living in snowy environs have names for and can recognize more kinds of snow than those not living under such conditions, because snow is important for their ability to survive and thrive. "

p.238 - "A strong position is also taken by Evan MacLean on the role of social factors in human cognitive evolution. He argues that what sets human cognition apart is our ability to transcend competitive impulses and engage in cooperation, to reason about the intentions and desires of others of our kind, and to communicate with one another linguistically. This capacity, he says, is not hardwired by genes, but depends on the accretion of incremental learning across generations; in other words, culture. "

Other Notes

p.206 - "One of the offshoots of cognitive science, and its early connection to computer science, was the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Some argue for what is called strong AI—the idea that cognition, and even consciousness, can result from information representation in artificial systems. I tend to go with a weaker version—that similarities between human cognition and information processing in artificial systems can be valuably exploited for research purposes to help understand human cognition. In other words, the flow of electrons in electronic devices can shed light on cognition but is not sufficient to create it "

p.233 cognitive branching
p.246 Fig 48.4 Information Flow from Sensation to Memory: Vis Cortex split
- 1) Dorsal Stream -> occipital parietal visual area -> Parahippicampal cortex --> Hippocampus [ Spatial processing / Episodic Memory ]
- 2) Ventral Stream -> occipital temporal visual areas -> Peririnal cortex -> Hippocampus [ Object Processing / Sematic Memory ]
p.247 Temporal Pole --
p.256 granule cells
p.266 post-decision rationalization
Cognitive Dissonance Theory Fig 51.2 - conflict between knowledge/believe and action - options: 1) change belief, 2) change action, 3) change perception of action.
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Bradley Postle

A higher-order theory of emotional consciousness Joseph E. LeDoux and Richard Brown
"This revised HOT involves a HOR of a representation, and is thus called HOROR" - that is Higher Order Representation Of a Representation

A First Principles Approach to Subjective Experience Brian Key, Oressia Zalucki, Deborah J. Brown

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