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Unlocking the BrainVolume 2: Consciousness$
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Georg Northoff

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199826995

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826995.001.0001

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Slow Cortical Potentials and “Width of Present”

Slow Cortical Potentials and “Width of Present”

(p.27) Chapter 14 Slow Cortical Potentials and “Width of Present”
Unlocking the Brain

Georg Northoff

Oxford University Press

The book turns to the phenomenological philosopher Edmund Husserl and his description of what it calls “inner time consciousness.” One hallmark of our “inner time consciousness” is that we experience events and objects in succession and duration in our consciousness; following Husserl, this amounts to what he calls the “width of present.” The concept of the “width of present” describes the extension of the present beyond the single discrete time point, such as when perceiving different tones as a melody. The book now hypothesizes the degree of the “width of present” to be directly dependent on and thus predisposed by the degree of the temporal differences between two (or more) discrete time points as they are encoded into neural activity. He therefore concludes that the SCPs and their encoding of neural activity in terms of temporal differences must be regarded a neural predisposition of consciousness (NPC) as distinguished from a neural correlate of consciousness (NCC).

Keywords:   slow cortical potentials, low-frequency fluctuations, resting state, slow wave activity, NREM sleep, difference-based coding, “going beyond,” statistically based coding, temporal continuity, width of present, neural correlates of consciousness, neural predisposition of consciousness

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