Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 15, Iss. 3, July, 2011, pp. 359-375
@2011 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Phenomenology of Consciousness from Apprehension to Judgment

F. Tito Arecchi, University of Firenze and CNR-INO, Italy

Abstract: We explore two different moments of human cognition, namely apprehension (A), whereby a coherent perception emerges by recruitment of large neuron groups and judgment (B), whereby memory retrieval of different (A) units coded in a suitable language and comparison of them leads to the formulation of a judgment. The first one has a duration around 1 sec (from 0.5 to 3 sec), it appears as an a-temporal present and its neural correlate is a wide synchronization in the EEG gamma band. It may be described as an interpretation of sensorial stimuli in terms of some stored algorithm, via a Bayes procedure. The second one entails the comparison of two apprehensions acquired at different times, coded in a given language, and retrieved by memory. It lasts around 3 sec and requires self-consciousness, as the judging agent must be well aware that he/she is the same one who faces the two coded apprehensions under scrutiny in order to extract a mutual relation. At variance with (A), (B) does not presuppose an algorithm, but it rather builds a new behavioural model by an inverse Bayes procedure. It will be shown how this build up of a novel model is related to creativity and free will.

Keywords: neural synchronization, apprehension, judgment, Bayes inference, inverse Bayes