Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
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The neuronal basis for consciousness

R. Llinás

R. Llinás

Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA

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,
U. Ribary

U. Ribary

Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA

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,
D. Contreras

D. Contreras

Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA

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and
C. Pedroarena

C. Pedroarena

Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA

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Published:https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.1998.0336

    Attempting to understand how the brain, as a whole, might be organized seems, for the first time, to be a serious topic of inquiry. One aspect of its neuronal organization that seems particularly central to global function is the rich thalamocortical interconnectivity, and most particularly the reciprocal nature of the thalamocortical neuronal loop function. Moreover, the interaction between the specific and non-specific thalamic loops suggests that rather than a gate into the brain, the thalamus represents a hub from which any site in the cortex can communicate with any other such site or sites. The goal of this paper is to explore the basic assumption that large–scale, temporal coincidence of specific and non–specific thalamic activity generates the functional states that characterize human cognition.