👉🎙NEW EPISODE of our Podcast On Consciousness with Bernard J Baars -- EPISODE 16 "GLOBAL WORKSPACE THEORY: Origins & Evidence - Part I" 👉🎙
Student Interviewers Alea Skwara and Ilian Daskalov join our host, Bernard J Baars, in our podcast series to unpack the origins of Global Workspace Theory as well as some of its features, namely widespread integration and broadcasting.
This is Part I in a series of fun and interesting episodes where we dive deeper into the scientific evidence each time.
"Ilian, this might kind of pull us into - "What are the features of GWT?" - and that next phase, because I think one of the major features is this Limited Capacity. But, what is it about this ability to be consciously aware of a limited percentage of what's happening in our mind, or what's happening in our sensory environment, that's so advantageous that it makes it worth missing what we're not consciously aware of?"
"Exactly right. And so, the hypothesis, the GW hypothesis was, there has to be a compensatory event in the brain happening, and the most plausible one, for various reasons, including other people's work, of course, was that there's some kind of very wide recruitment of brain resources that happens as a function of becoming conscious of something. So we're only conscious of, let's say a single star on a dark night, but that fact - that we are only conscious of that conscious of, let's say a single star on a dark night, but that fact - that we are only conscious of that -has immense consequences in the brain.
And today we can actually see that happening. I called that the broadcast hypothesis. And now, of course, we know that it's a resonant broadcast because the brain system that is involved, huge brain system that's involved - the cortex and the thalamus - that only has bidirectional wiring, basically. So if you send out a broadcast, you can get feedback right away from that, and what that means, given the fact that they're both excitatory neurons, that means that you can get an explosion of activity. And the only trouble with that is, why doesn't your brain blow up? Right!"
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