Consciousness Lost and Found: A Neuropsychological Exploration
The phenomenon of "consciousness" is intrinsically related to one's awareness of one's self, of time, and of the physical world. But what if something should happen to impair one's awareness? What do we make of "consciousness" in those people who have suffered brain damage, such as amnesia? This is the intriguing question explored by Lawrence Weiskrantz, a distinguished neuropsychologist who has worked with such patients over 30 years.
Contrary to the perception that many have about brain-damaged patients, it has been discovered that many of these individuals retain intact capacities of which they are unaware, in what is known as `covert' processing. A blind patient, then, may actually be able to "see," without having knowledge of such success, while an amnesiac patient can be shown to learn and retain information that he or she does not realize is memory--nor can be made to realize. In fact, in every major class of defect in which patients lose cognitive ability--from perception, to meaning, to memory, to language--examples of preserved capacities can be found of which the patient is unaware. Weiskrantz starts with his research into this phenomenon, known to neuropsychologists but unfamiliar to many layreaders, and uses it as a springboard toward a philosophical argument which, combined with the latest brain imaging studies, points the way to specific brain structures which may be involved in conscious awareness. Weiskrantz takes his argument further, too, asking whether animals who share much the same brain anatomy as humans share awareness--and how that impacts our assumptions about evolution as well as our moral and ethical decision making. Written in an engaging and accessible style, Consciousness Lost and Found provides a unique perspective on one of the most challenging issues in science today.
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The unseen and the unknown
Deficits degradation and dissociations
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acknowledged awareness activity amnesia amnesic patients amnesic subjects amnesic syndrome animal apparendy argued Barbur behaviour blind field blind hemifield blindsight subject brain damage Chapter classical conditioning cognitive colour commentary keys commentary stage complex connexions cortical areas Cowey deficits demonstrated detection direcdy discrimination dorsal stream double dissociations evidence example experience explicit field defect hemisphere hippocampus human imaging impaired implicit implicit memory input intact hemifield learning lesions light memory monkey Nakamura and Mishkin nervous system neural neurones neuropsychological normal subjects oil refinery pathways perception performance possible prefrontal cortex priming processing prosopagnosia psychophysical question recendy recognition region reported residual capacity residual function retina retrograde amnesia saccadic seen semantic sensitivity sensory shown spatial stimuli Stoerig striate cortex structures superior colliculus target task temporal lobe thought ventral stream verbal visual awareness visual cortex visual events visual field visual stimuli Warrington wavelength Weiskrantz words Zihl