Vcen s USA wyznaczeni, mozok lyudin scho Mauger razvivatsa as, than perelachaise to tsogo.
— he sees a fetus in the womb
— when the child develops consciousness
— what part of the brain responsible for consciousness
Towhich the earliest childhood memory you have? Elementary school? The children’s garden? Fuzzy images of toys and cousins? What about memories of the womb — is this possible?
Despite the fact that man is considered to be the smartest creature on the planet, so far we only studied when man becomes man, as the fetus is formed by the perception of the outside world and at what stage you receive the consciousness (if we ever find out what it is).
Recently, scientists from the United States has determined that the organs of the fetus begin to perceive the light a little earlier than expected. Oddly enough, depend on that control mood and emotion of the child, not to mention his understanding of the time of day, day and night.
Such studies are extremely important for modern science: before you can create complex hardware and software based on the principles of neurons in the human brain, and also come to develop a full artificial intelligence we first need to understand how these neurons work, and what in essence is our consciousness.
Learned American neuroscientists?
Recently a group of scientists from the University of California at Berkeley published a study on the coding of light in the developing retina. It turned out that the fetus can perceive light to the second trimester of his development before he can fully see the image.
Neuroscientists have discovered that photosensitive cells in the developing retina can communicate with each other. This allows the brain to perceive more light and has a direct impact on its development.
Only 3% of retinal ganglion cells, which send signals to the brain through the optic nerve, are sensitive to light. But scientists have determined that there are about six of these cells, which are responsible for signal transmission in different areas of the brain and control its most important functions.
For example, some of them “communicate” with suprachiasmatic nucleus in the anterior region of the hypothalamus and are responsible for setting our internal clock on the perception of day and night. Other areas transmit a signal of bright light to the brain, after which our pupils shrink. And some of these cells can even affect mood and emotions.
Previous studies of the brain of mice and monkeys confirmed that ganglion cells in the animals also communicate with each other via gap junctions — electrical impulses that carry information between cells. Now scientists are trying to figure out how these cells can influence brain activity, circadian rhythms, and even problems with brain activity, caused by an excess of received light.
“We thought that the mouse and human fetus were blind at this stage of development. It was assumed that the ganglion cells were in the developing eye that they are associated with the brain but was not associated with most of the rest of the retina. Now, we find out that they are related to each other that was amazing,” says the study’s author, Professor of molecular and cell biology Marla Feller.
Feller explores the developing retina about 20 years, but its most important components — photosensitive ganglion cells (ipRGCs), found only 10 years ago.
Found in the new study, six types of ipRGCs has allowed scientists to talk about how the brain is formed neural network in fetuses of mammals, as the perception of light by the retina affects the development of the brain and how the light in General is associated with the condition of the body.
“The repulsion of light which the fruit develops very early, depending on its intensity. We don’t know which of these subtypes of ipRGCs in the retina of newborns does affect the behavior, so it will be very interesting to see what is the role of these cells,” says study co-author Franklin Kaval-Hill.
According to neuroscientists, the intensity of the received light also affects the development of blood vessels in the retina. This proves that light-sensitive ganglion cells encode much more information than previously thought, scientists.
As sight is connected with consciousness?
Despite the early development of complex brain activity of a fetus, the perception of light by the retina, etc., consciousness in children appears much later. That is why the vast majority of people there are no memories from early childhood.
According to a Professor of cognitive and behavioral biology at the California Institute of technology Christof Koch, even infants can not determine its state, emotions and motivation. Yes, immediately after birth, the children can watch on you smart look to build a grimace, muttering and crying, but it is still unknown exactly when and owing to what children have consciousness.
Furthermore, Koh believes that infants visual acuity is at the primary level, and they at first can only see spots. Later, visual and auditory stimuli are determined by the environment, and children begin to copy what they see and hear around.
“But when does the magical journey of consciousness? Consciousness requires a sophisticated network of highly interconnected components, nerve cells. Its physical substrate, the thalamo-cortical complex that provides consciousness its very complicated contents, begins to act between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. About two months later synchrony of the electroencephalographic (EEG) rhythm in both hemispheres of the cortex indicates the beginning of the global integration of neurons,” explains Christoph Koch.
In other words, the neurons begin to transmit information in all the areas of the brain just after birth. Although most of the brain circuit elements required for the formation of consciousness, ready by the third trimester of pregnancy, in the womb the child is in a state of sleep: the body is supported by the placenta, which pumps blood, nutrients and hormones in the developing body and brain.
Scientists do not yet know if the fetus can occur any semblance of dreams in the late stages of development. However, experiments with rats and sheep have shown that in the third trimester of development, the fetus is in one of two sleep States — active or relaxing. During restful sleep, he has no breathing, eye movement and any muscular activity, during active, on the contrary, the fetus can breathe, swallow, move their eyes and even licked.
Is the fetus a complete human being is an extremely important issue from a moral and ethical point of view. Authorities in different countries, depending on the level of secularization of society, or its proximity to the Church and religion, you can ban/allow abortion at the legislative level, which directly affects human freedom.
When a child has consciousness?
According to the study, which was conducted in France several years ago, the first signs of consciousness and memory of the child appear at the age of five months. Neuroscientists have analysed the brain activity of about 240 babies with the help of special devices.
Children for a split second, showed a certain face image on the screen. Infants around the age of one year, the brain activity was approximately similar to the rates of adults, but it was three times slower. Discovery was the fact that even five-month-old children had signs of weak brain activity that allow us to speak about their consciousness.
The authors of the experiment believe that the human consciousness as such is directly related to the so-called temporary working memory. The head of research of cognitive neuroscientist Led Kouider from the National center for scientific research of France suggested that the brain activity of infants is not quite similar to the activity in adults, and even children learn quickly at the beginning of its development, “they don’t realize that learning”.
Last year his research on the emergence of consciousness in children published by the Professor of experimental cognitive psychology Stanislas of Degen from the Paris Collège de France. According to him, consciousness occurs when different parts of the brain interact and communicate with each other at a high level.
In contrast to the philosophical approach to understanding consciousness, Dechen using neuroimaging technologies is trying to figure out how to work the human brain when we are awake. Neuroscientist used a special device that represents a combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the electroencephalograph to detect brain activity during an event or process.
In another experiment with images, Stanislas of Degen showed respondents different pictures within fraction of second. When the picture showed very quickly — within 300 milliseconds, the brain has time only to process information but does not allow an adult to consciously see the image. If the display time was increased to 700 MS activated other brain areas and respondents reported conscious perception of the image.
The same experiment was done with children aged from five to 12 months, and got similar results: during a longer display images in children worked the same brain regions that allow adults to consciously perceive the image. But of course, the children could not say or explain what they saw.
“All that we had is brain waves, showing evolution of brain activity as a function of the duration of the stimulus, which in this case was a face. The face is very attractive for babies, so we knew that they would be attracted to this” — said Professor Degen.
The study showed that the more clearly the brain activity, which is associated with consciousness, manifested year-old babies, but some similar signs exist already at five-month-old infants.
What is consciousness?
The debate about the nature of consciousness has been conducted since ancient times, and, as in the case of ban/permit abortion, they are often associated with the alleged divine person. But the scientists on this score is their assumption. Although they are still purely theoretical.
Among the most common are neurobiological theory of consciousness, which suggests that in our brain there is a material substratum that is responsible for consciousness. This substrate allows adults and children to identify and recognize the image for a split second, as in the above described experiment.
Different of these theories state that the human brain is composed entirely of neural correlates that ensure the integrity of our consciousness, on the functional systems of neurons that are synchronized and provide control over all functions of the body, and even nanodevices, which suggests that the neurons in our brain to constantly rebuild and adapt to any external changes directly as a separate integral system.
As can be seen, all such theories are based on activities of neurons. But, the fact that the adult human brain there are about 10 trillion neural connections. Scientists now succeeded in the explanation of how this extremely complex mechanism is responsible for different functions in our body, but consciousness is inconceivable, since it is impossible to determine which particular group of neurons or their total communication answer for him.
Associate Professor of philosophy at the University of Durham in England Philip Goff is confident that science at this stage can not explain what consciousness is. “We can determine, for example, that invisible hunger correlates with the apparent activity in the hypothalamus of the brain. But the accumulation of such correlations is not a theory of consciousness. Ultimately, we want to explain why conscious experience is brain activity. Why such activity in the hypothalamus is accompanied by the feeling of hunger? In fact, we should not be surprised that scientific methods do not work in the definition of consciousness,” writes Goff.
As in the case of quantum mechanics, the study of consciousness rests on the nature of matter. A possible “theory of everything” in the question of the essence of consciousness can be the philosophy of panpsychism — the idea that the entire physical world as a whole and every bit of have consciousness. In his study of panpsychism, Philip Goff came to the conclusion that consciousness can have different complexity, which depends on the complexity of the organism itself. For example, a person has a complex structure of the brain, and therefore his mind is much more complex than the consciousness of any other animal.
Obviously, it is impossible to check whether each particle, including the electron, consciousness, are ideas in our minds a product of any matter, and Vice versa. But the idea that all existing matter, including us, it is the consciousness — another equitable theory about its nature, no less reasoned than the existence of neural correlates or neurodevices.
Why is it important to explore consciousness?
One of the pioneers in the study of consciousness was an English physician and physiologist Benjamin carpenter, who almost 200 years ago suggested that for the consciousness in the human brain responds to sensory ganglion — plexus of nerve cells. Carpenter called this neural node “core of consciousness”.
The contemporaries of the carpenter called sensory ganglion of the thalamus and suggested that this internal part of the brain is responsible for mind control, sleep, wakefulness, concentration and many other processes. However, science still can’t answer the question of where consciousness is formed.
A few months ago it was trying to find out a group of neuroscientists from different universities in Europe and the United States. The researchers examined the “neurological imprint of consciousness” and analyzed the neural activity in the brain in 159 people with the help of MRI.
Researchers analyzed data on the brain activity of healthy individuals while performing some mental task and at rest. The results were compared with data about the activity of the damaged brain people who were in a coma, vegetative state or minimal consciousness state.
As expected, in healthy individuals operated a complex system of interaction and coordination between different parts of the brain. Of the respondents, which the brain was damaged and there was no consciousness worked only in some part, with a lower level of interaction between them.
Neuroscientists have come to the conclusion that consciousness is responsible not a single part in the brain, and the interaction of all of its shares and bark. If some of the parts of the brain on the contrary operates in isolation — consciousness, most likely, will not appear or will be at a very low level.
In addition to possible breakthroughs in neuroscience, such as the restoration of damaged areas of the brain, the study of human consciousness is the most important part in the development of advanced hardware and software.
Today’s advanced digital systems called artificial intelligence (AI), although in reality existing computer programs are still very far from obtaining its own intelligence. At this stage we only learned to copy some of the function of neurons in the human brain and their structures to quickly process information in the so-called artificial neural networks.
Full-fledged or “strong” AI will appear when the computer can not only process information, but also to understand its meaning. For example, if the digital assistant Apple Siri will communicate with users not only by their algorithms and the set of predefined commands, and carry on a conversation on General topics and although having their own arguments — in fact, he will gain consciousness and become a strong AI.
The most intelligent modern systems can understand the meaning of the information and enter it into context, but they are doing it based on pre-written algorithms and the array of processed data. From the advent of the computer, which could understand the information as it is understood by people, we are separated by dozens, and possibly hundreds of years.
Faster to endow the computer with consciousness similar to human, we will only study this consciousness, because still we do not know how it is formed and what it represents.