An article on Giulio Tononi‘s work on the brain basis of consciousness has just been published in Science & Consciousness Review. Henri Montandon reviews some of the recent publications by Tononi. Excerpt from the article:
“Tononi’s writings are noteworthy for his grounding in phenomenology, and his lucid style of presentation. He has noticed three aspects of conscious experience:
- given any definition of “conscious state”, the brain produces an infinity of them;
- each conscious state is prime, rather in the sense of a prime number; it cannot be deconvoluted into lesser states. Tononi terms this characteristic the “integration” of a state;
- conscious experience unfolds in well defined intervals, about 100 to 200 milliseconds to develop a fully formed sensory experience, about 2 to 3 seconds for a single conscious moment.
It is these three observations which Tononi seeks to understand in his information integration theory of consciousness. He discusses two hypotheses:
- consciousness corresponds to the capacity of a system to integrate information
- the quality of consciousness is determined by the informational elements of a complex, which are specified by the values of effective information among them.”