The vast majority of mental processes are outside of conscious awareness. These processes can impact thinking, feeling, and behavior despite the lack of conscious awareness. Consciousness can be thought to include two elements: awareness and sentience, the quality of the experience. Each form of consciousness has intrigued philosophers and scientists for many years and various theories have been proposed to explain these phenomena. Little is known about the basic mechanisms that underlie the sentient experience of consciousness. Phenomenal awareness has been the focus of active research and has yielded some basic ideas about the role of consciousness in cognition. One essential issue is that the effective processing of mental representations does not require conscious awareness. However, the intentional, strategic alteration in patterns of processing may necessitate the involvement of consciousness in order to achieve a new outcome. Thus, consciousness is not required for most processes, but its involvement allows for a qualitatively different result in representational transformations. One example of this is in memory processing in which explicit memory requires focal, conscious attention or awareness in order to encode events into explicit form. Such representations are later available for conscious retrieval when they can be examined and transformed for intentional purposes, such as the recollection of facts or autobiographical knowledge.
[...] prefrontal cortex and its role in working memory. Working memory serves as the chalkboard of the mind and representational processes that become linked to the activity in this region are then a part of the attentional spotlight of conscious awareness. Based on a biological assessment of brain function, Gerald Edelman's theory describes two forms of consciousness that derive from the resonant interactions between groups of neurons. In his model primary consciousness stems from the interaction between perceptual categorizations and conceptual categorizations. [...]
[...] States of mind are the primary mechanism by which the brain organizes its activity. Healthy mental functioning may depend on a flow of states of mind through time that are adaptive to the ever-changing environment and allow the individual to draw freely from the learning from past experience. Chaos theory suggests that nonlinear complex systems must move continually towards maximizing the complexity of the system. Achieving such a goal requires a balance between the elements of continuity, familiarity, and predictability with those of flexibility, novelty, and uncertainty. [...]
[...] Left hemispheric processes manipulate the verbal meaning of words, known as digital representations, in a logical analytical mode of processing. A generalization from a number of studies is that the right hemisphere tends to note the patterns in the world and creates contextual meaning; the left hemisphere can only make a rationalization of the details of what it perceives in order to create a sense of meaning from a logical view that lacks context and thus may actually seem like a discontinuous and irrational set of data. [...]
[...] The deficits may result from learned behavior, inherent cognitive abnormalities in thought or language, or deviations in social cognitive functioning. Deviations from normal discourse can be a general finding in need of further assessment. Abnormal discourse is clinically evident in psychosis, specifically in schizophrenia. Narrative is a broad domain ranging from the literary study of fiction to the developmental psychology investigations of the origin of autobiographical accounts. From a cognitive point of view narrative is important in understanding the relations of language, memory, consciousness, mental models, self-schemata, and social cognition. [...]
[...] In selectionist theory, the billions of neurons become clustered into groups that have similar functions and when activated become reinforced. Neuronal groups that are not activated die off; those that are activated survive. The brain, as in species in nature, generates a diversity of activity that can then be selected by interaction with the environment. In addition, the brain has value systems that selectively reinforce the activity of neuronal groups that enhance survival. In this way the brain's neuronal groups compete and differentiate within the brain and create an ongoing living system perpetually evolving or developing through time. [...]
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