What the brain's intrinsic activity can tell us about consciousness? A tri-dimensional view

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64 Citations (Scopus)


Current neuroscience applies a bi-dimensional model to consciousness. Content and level of consciousness have been distinguished from each other in their underlying neuronal mechanisms. This though leaves open the role of the brain's intrinsic activity and its particular temporal and spatial structure in consciousness. I here review and investigate the spatial and temporal features of the brain's intrinsic activity in detail and postulate what I describe as spatiotemporal structure that implies a virtual (e.g., statistically based) spatiotemporal continuity. Such spatiotemporal continuity is supposed to structure and organize the neural processing of the incoming extrinsic stimuli and their potential association with consciousness. I therefore conclude that the current bi-dimensional view of consciousness focusing only on content and level may need to be complemented by a third dimension, the form, e.g., spatiotemporal structure, as provided by the intrinsic activity. In short, I here opt for tri-rather than bi-dimensional view of consciousness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-738
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Consciousness
  • Content
  • Depression
  • Form
  • Intrinsic activity
  • Level
  • Neural correlates
  • Neural predisposition
  • Neural prerequisites
  • Schizophrenia
  • Spatiotemporal continuity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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