Intrinsic activity and consciousness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Traditionally, studies of brain function have focused on task-evoked responses. By their very nature, such experiments tacitly encourage a reflexive view of brain function. While such an approach has been remarkably productive, it ignores the alternative possibility: that brain functions are mainly intrinsic, involving information processing for interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands. I shall argue that the latter view best captures the essence of brain function, a position that accords well with the allocation of the brain's energy resources. Understanding intrinsic activity will require integrating knowledge from cognitive, systems, cellular and molecular neuroscience. Ultimately, understanding conscious awareness will require an appreciation of the fundamental role played by intrinsic activity in brain function.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCharacterizing Consciousness
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Cognition to the Clinic
EditorsStanislas Dehaene, Yves Christen
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameResearch and Perspectives in Neurosciences
ISSN (Print)0945-6082


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