Trial: Consciousness and Awareness Basic Awareness Essay

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Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human's or an animal's perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event. Contents [hide] * 1 Concept * 2 Self-awareness * 3 Neuroscience * 3.1 Basic awareness * 3.2 Basic interests * 3.3 Changes in awareness * 4 Living systems view * 5 Communications and information systems * 6 Covert awareness * 7 Other uses * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links |
Awareness is a relative concept. An animal may be partially aware, may be subconsciously aware, or may be acutely unaware of an event. Awareness may be focused on an internal state, such as a visceral feeling, or on external events by way of sensory perception. Awareness provides the raw material from which animals develop qualia, or subjective ideas about their experience.
Main article: Self-awareness
Popular ideas about consciousness suggest the phenomenon describes a condition of being aware of one's awareness or, self-awareness. Efforts to describe consciousness in neurological terms have focused on describing networks in the brain that develop awareness of the qualia developed by other networks.[1]
Neural systems that regulate attention serve to attenuate awareness among complex animals whose central and peripheral nervous system provides more information than cognitive areas of the brain can assimilate. Within an attenuated system of awareness, amind might be aware of much more than is being contemplated in a focused extended consciousness.
[edit]Basic awareness
Basic awareness of one's internal and external world depends on the brain stem. Bjorn Merker,[2] an independent neuroscientist in Stockholm, Sweden, argues that the brain stem supports an elementary form of conscious thought in infants with hydranencephaly. "Higher" forms of awareness including self-awareness require cortical contributions, but "primary consciousness" or "basic awareness" as an ability to integrate sensations from the environment with one's immediate goals and feelings in order to guide behavior, springs from the brain stem which human beings share with most of the vertebrates. Psychologist Carroll Izard emphasizes that this form of primary consciousness consists of the capacity to generate emotions and an awareness of one's surroundings, but not an ability to talk about what one has experienced. In the same way, people can become conscious of a feeling that they can't label or describe, a phenomenon that's especially common in pre-verbal infants.
Due to this discovery medical definitions of brain death as a lack of cortical activity face a serious challenge.
[edit]Basic interests
Down the brain stem lie interconnected regions that regulate the direction of eye gaze and organize decisions about what to do next, such as reaching for a piece of food or pursuing a potential mate.
[edit]Changes in awareness
The ability to consciously detect an image when presented at near-threshold stimulus varies across presentations. One factor is "baseline shifts" due to top down attention that modulates ongoing brain activity in