Prefrontal neural dynamics in consciousness.

Umberto León Domínguez, José León-Carrión

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) is one of the principal brain regions studied in consciousness. Previous investigations suggest that the PFC is an important neural hub in both awareness and the manipulation of the content of consciousness. Despite a consensus in the scientific community regarding PFC function in cortico-cortical networks, there is still intense debate as to its role in the thalamocortical network and the formation of content of consciousness. The objective of this research is to provide a comprehensive review of the possible implications of PFC activity in awareness, with a focus on thalamic neural pathways that could explain perceptual alterations in the content of consciousness. We posit that the PFC and its connection with nonspecific thalamic nuclei could be responsible for the functional integration of sensory perception into a unique conscious content. This cortico-thalamocortical neural loop would denote a small closed-loop subnetwork within the thalamocortical system that organizes the flow of temporal and spatial information to maintain a subjective stream of consciousness. In particular, attentional top-down mechanisms between the PFC and the reticular thalamic nucleus could influence the formation of the content of consciousness through their capacity to regulate thalamic activity. Summarizing, the PFC acts as a dynamic and multifunctional neural hub that recalibrates global neural dynamics and regulates interactive brain processes associated with consciousness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-41
Number of pages17
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume131
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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