Reportage on a research team who are studying conscious thought in Geneva, Switzerland. The researchers use electroencephalography on a person looking at a geometrical shape in order to measure brain activity at the moment when the person perceives a change of perception in this same shape. The recordings allow the various cerebral micro-states to be detected. Dr Britz, a neuroscientist at the University of Geneva and the Lausanne Federal Polytechnic School, has brought to light an important characteristic of conscious thought. Using neuroimagery methods and mathematical analysis, she has shown that conscious thought can be broken down into a succession of cerebral micro-states, or ḋ thought atoms Ṡ . The temporal sequence of these micro-states is chaotic. This chaotic organisation of cerebral activity seems to be the key to allowing the brain to react quickly to unexpected events. Each micro-state corresponds to a particular configuration of neuron activity in the brain. Researchers have brought to light four micro-states which correspond to visual, auditory, introspective and attentional aspects of thought. A thought is therefore an alternating series of visual, auditory, introspective and attentional components. The organisation of these micro-states is modified in people suffering from schizophrenia, Alzheimer and in the weeks following a CVA, or stroke.
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