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Discuss the Statement All Processing Beneath Conscious Awareness is Carried Out by Sub Cortical Structures - Essay Example

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Discuss the statement, 'all processing beneath conscious awareness is carried out by sub cortical structures Consciousness is a term that lacks static definition because of its complexity. The term can be explained in terms of its characteristics such as the experiences we encounter in our life though our senses…
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Discuss the Statement All Processing Beneath Conscious Awareness is Carried Out by Sub Cortical Structures
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Discuss the ment, 'all processing beneath conscious awareness is carried out by sub cortical structures Consciousness isa term that lacks static definition because of its complexity. The term can be explained in terms of its characteristics such as the experiences we encounter in our life though our senses. The functioning of consciousness has remained a problem in science as well as in other disciplines. Philosophers and scholars in science have posited that consciousness is not an objective phenomenon and; therefore, it is not known whether it should be relied upon in scientific research. The cerebral cortex is a neutral pad of tissue that is in the outer part of the cerebrum in the brain of mammals. The cerebral cortex is said to play a key role in thought processes including consciousness. In this paper, we examine the statement that all processing beneath conscious awareness is carried out by sub cortical structures. Consciousnesses in human beings include awareness of the past, the present, and by extension the prediction into the future.1 The sub cortical structures are divided into sections which deal with different sense experiences that constitute conscious processes. For example, the sense of light, sound, warmth, or sweetness sends a stimulus at our sense organs that give rise to physiological activities in sub cortical structures. This flow of sensation gives rise to familiar experiences like warmth, color blue, or pain in the skin.2 Since we are not aware of some processing in our brains, even though they happen within the shortest time than we can perceive, this route surpasses the cortex and thus sub cortical structures could be responsible. It is also hypothesised that conscious awareness of some phenomena requires numerous processing. For instance, we perceive a unified world from different processes of our senses. Suppose you come across an accident where people have lost lives. In this case, the feeling of sorrow or empathy, the sight of red liquid, which is immediately perceived as blood, and identification of the two cars involved in the accident are separately processed in various sections of sub cortical structures or nervous system. There is no evidence that there is a specific place in the brain where all this information is gathered to generate a conscious awareness of the event.3 There are some scientific research and cases which prove the hypothesis such as prosopagnosia, backward masking and masked priming using words.4 However, these cases do not apply to all situations and; therefore, they are subjectively founded. On the other hand, it is not provable that all processes beneath conscious are carried out by sub cortical structures. There are some processes that we are not conscious of and are not carried out by sub cortical structures. They include involuntary processes that happen without our conscious awareness like; heart beats, intestinal peristalsis et cetera, but their process path passes through the cortex.5 Moreover, people are often not aware of processes that happen in their brain before a thought.6 When we voluntarily will for an action, the action is initiated prior to our awareness of the decision to make the movements. In addition, some sub cortical structures of the brain may be damaged yet we are conscious of some senses we may not interpret them. An example is the damage of the interior and posterior temporal lobe of the brain that causes prosopagnosia disorder.7 People affected can perceive when they see an object, but they have no conscious of the familiarity of the object.8 Moreover, our conscious awareness can be misled by illusions, hallucinations and other false sensations.9 The other reason that makes the statement subjective lies in the processing that happens in the fear system. For instance, in fear system, sub cortical pathway is the shortest path of conscious that surpasses cortical.10 There is a second possibility where this processing of fear awareness passes through cortex. The shorter sub cortical path carries less information that misleads our consciousness. That is why one can “jump at the shadow” only to realise that it was harmless.11 To add to that, there are some unconscious processing that can be carried out by cortical structures like our growth, temperature balance, homeostasis et cetera, and although we are not aware of these processes, they are caused by cortical structures. In conclusion, it can not be singled out that all processing beneath conscious awareness is carried out by sub cortical structures. This position is ruled out in the cases of fear processing that can be sub cortical or cortical. The processes, which we may not be aware of, are carried out in the cortical. Finally, this position is disputed by the presence of illusions that mislead our conscious awareness in our daily experiences. End Notes Read More
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