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The evolutionary origins of the Global Neuronal Workspace in vertebrates

Zacks, Oryan and Jablonka, Eva (2023) The evolutionary origins of the Global Neuronal Workspace in vertebrates. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2023 (1). ISSN 2057-2107

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Identification Number: 10.1093/nc/niad020


The Global Neuronal Workspace theory of consciousness offers an explicit functional architecture that relates consciousness to cognitive abilities such as perception, attention, memory, and evaluation. We show that the functional architecture of the Global Neuronal Workspace, which is based mainly on human studies, corresponds to the cognitive-affective architecture proposed by the Unlimited Associative Learning theory that describes minimal consciousness. However, we suggest that when applied to basal vertebrates, both models require important modifications to accommodate what has been learned about the evolution of the vertebrate brain. Most importantly, comparative studies suggest that in basal vertebrates, the Global Neuronal Workspace is instantiated by the event memory system found in the hippocampal homolog. This proposal has testable predictions and implications for understanding hippocampal and cortical functions, the evolutionary relations between memory and consciousness, and the evolution of unified perception.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Date Deposited: 24 May 2024 13:03
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2024 05:03

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