A role for dopamine in visual consciousness
|Date||28 November 2014|
|Time||16:00 - 17:00|
It is well known that despite the complexity and processing power of the brain, its capacity is severely limited. This capacity limitation is most clear in conscious perception where only a small fragment of all visual information that meets the eyes will be the content of our consciousness. A famous example of this is the 'gorilla experiment' in which about half of the participants who are asked to attend a basketball game fail to consciously perceive a gorilla that strolls into the middle of the action, faces the camera and thumps its chest. Together with other phenomena such as binocular rivalry in which the content of conscious perception alternates between the image presented to the eyes rather than having two conscious percepts simultaneously, this illustrates that the content of visual consciousness is selected from all available visual information. In this presentation I will present a selection model for the content of consciousness. The selection model is based on a limbic loop with an important role for dopamine as a modulator of the dynamics of the model. As a first step to validate the model we therefore recently started to target the relation between dopamine and visual consciousness. During this presentation I will present the results of a first line of experiments in which we tested this relation with different methods.