Understanding Consciousness: Insights from Christof Koch
This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Christof Koch - How are Brains Conscious?" by Closer To Truth
TLDR Conscious vision is a complex and unconscious process, and studying brain pathologies can provide insights into consciousness.
Vision is the most dominant sensory system for humans, occupying one-third of the brain, and yet we are unaware of the complex visual processing that occurs.
"There are many cortical areas that take up ultimately one third of all of the cerebral cortex that are all involved in various aspects of vision, seeing moving things in depth and color and faces and objects and where they are with respect to other things."
Vision doesn't happen in the eyes, as the character of the nerve cells in the retina are very different from conscious seeing.
The brain cleverly edits our visual experience, cutting out moments of blackness and splicing together continuous vision, creating the illusion of constant perception.
Our brain cleverly interpolates information to fill in blind spots, making us perceive things that aren't physically there.
The fraction of neural activity directly associated with consciousness is minute, as we are only conscious of very few things at any given point in time.
Our conscious thoughts and actions are not the result of a step-by-step process, but rather a complex and unconscious computation.
"What about trauma, what about loss of function? Can we learn about Consciousness by seeing brains that have certain strokes or wounds or pathologies like epilepsy?" - Christof Koch raises the question of whether studying brain pathologies can provide insights into consciousness.