How does the Brain become Conscious? (BSP 90)

Episode 90 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of Self Comes To Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio. Damasio's book focuses on the answer to two key questions: How does the brain generate the Mind? and How does the Brain generate Consciousness? His approach is unusual because many scientists and writers treat the Mind and Consciousness as identical. In contrast, Damasio argues that Mind proceeds Consciousness. Listen to this podcast to learn how the Mind becomes Conscious.

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Christof Koch returns to the Brain Science Podcast

Christof Koch, PhDThe scientific study of consciousness was once viewed with skepticism, but this has changed dramatically in recent years. According to pioneering neuroscientist Christof Koch, "the great thing is we’re not condemned to just sort of philosophical speculation, but we can make some predictions, and then go out and measure them.  And those are the things I talk about in this book, Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist." In Brain Science Podcast #84 Koch reflects on the progress that has been made since I interviewed him back in 2007 (BSP 22), and he also talks about the latest initiatives at the Allen Institute for Brain Research, where he as recently become the chief science officer. 

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Episode Transcript (Free PDF)

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Thomas Metzinger explores Consciousness (BSP 67)

The free podcast version of Brain Science Podcast 67 is now available. It is an interview with German philosopher Thomas Metzinger, author of The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self and Being No One. Dr. Metzinger argues that any credible model for how the brain generates the mind must incorporate unusual human experiences, such as so-called out of body experiences (OBE), and psychiatric conditions. In this interview we explore how OBE and virtual reality experiments shed light on how the brain generates the sense of self that characterizes normal human experience. listen-to-audio Listen to Episode 67 Click here for information about Premium Versions Subscribe to the Brain Science Podcast: itunes-badge-30 zunelogo-70 feed-icon32x32 mail-sticker-tiny Click here for detailed show notes and episode transcripts.
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Brain Science Podcast celebrates its 1st Anniversary (BSP 27)

brainscience-logo1.jpg Episode 27 is a look back on the first 26 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast. I look back on some of the main topics that we have explored including memory, consciousness, emotions, decision-making, body maps, and plasticity. Then I talk a little about what I hope to do in the covering year. This episode is a little more personal than most, and will mainly be of interest to regular listeners. It includes some ideas about how you can help the Brain Science Podcast grow and prosper. However, in preparing this episode I went back over the past year's episodes and I have prepared a list of all the episodes so far and the main topics. This should help both new listeners and regulars to find episodes that pertain to particular topics. Click here for a brief summary of episode 1-26 with links to the audio files. Go to Brain Science Podcast #27 Share your comments on the Discussion Forum Audience Survey itunes-chicklet.gif Subscribe via iTunes™ Subscribe in a reader or podcatcher Subscribe to Brain Science Podcast with Dr. Ginger Campbell by Email

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Rolf Pfeifer discusses Embodied Intelligence (BSP 25)

howthebodyshapesthewaywethink.jpgHow the Body Shapes the Way We Think, by Rolf Pfeifer and Josh Bongard Brain Science Podcast episode 25 is an interview of author Rolf Pfeifer, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich. The focus of our conversation was the importance of embodiment. Brains (and intelligence) can not be understood separate from their interaction with the body and the physical world. Pfeifer explains how this realization has led the field of artificial intelligence away from a pure computational approach to one he calls embodied artificial intelligence. His interview is spiced with numerous examples that demonstrate why this approach is relevant to those of us who are interested in the human brain. Listen Now. Episode Highlights:
  • A brief overview of artificial intelligence
  • introduction to biorobotics
  • why artificial intelligence and biorobotics are relevant to understand the brain
  • the meaning of complexity and emergence
  • why the close coupling of the sensory and motor systems is essential to intelligence
  • applying design principles to understanding intelligence
  • Numerous examples make these potentially intimidating topics accessible to all listeners
Related Episodes of the Brain Science Podcast: Scientists mentioned in the podcast: Where to learn more about Pfeifer's work: Listen to this episode now. Share your comments on the Discussion Forum Audience Survey itunes-chicklet.gif Subscribe via iTunes™ Subscribe in a reader Subscribe to Brain Science Podcast with Dr. Ginger Campbell by Email

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Christof Koch discusses Consciousness (BSP 22)

questforconsciousness.jpg Listen to the Interview Now Brain Science Podcast #22 is an interview with Dr. Christof Koch of Cal Tech, one of the pioneers in the neurobiological study of consciousness. About two decades ago when Koch and Francis Crick began looking for what they called the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC), such a quest was considered controversial, but now the field is increasing in popularity. In our interview we talked a little about his book, The Quest for Consciousness, as well as his on-going research and his thoughts about what the future might bring. Show Notes Here is a list of some of the topics we discussed:
  • Why Francis Crick was an outstanding mentor and colleague
  • A Working definition of consciousness
  • How consciousness relates to awareness
  • What are neural correlates of consciousness
  • Why vision is the focus of Koch's research
  • The search for the "footprints" of consciousness
  • The role of functional imaging and the use of monkeys
  • Neurons-"the atoms of perception"
  • Why we need a theory of consciousness
  • The role of the frontal lobes in consciousness
  • Is consciousness an emergent property?
  • What about zombies?
  • Why do we need consciousness?
  • Will artificial intelligence become conscious?
  • The hard problem: how does the brain generate subjective experience (qualia)
Links: Christof Koch's homepage The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach (2004) Listen to the Episode Now Share your comments on the Discussion Forum Audience Survey

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