Abstract: Despite the challenges in unraveling how the nervous system gives rise to consciousness, a consensus has been growing that (a) consciousness is associated with only a subset of all nervous regions and processes, and (b) the primary function of consciousness is to integrate processes/information that would otherwise be independent (the integration consensus). Recent research illuminates the subset of areas and processes that are most closely related to conscious processing. These investigations reveal that consciousness serves to integrate only certain kinds of information/processes. Many forms of integration can occur unconsciously. The peculiar form of integration associated with consciousness involves a form of information broadcasting that is intimately related to what is casually referred to as 'voluntary' action and to the skeletal muscle output system. All these developments are synthesized in Supramodular Interaction Theory (SIT). During this lecture, I will review evidence for the integration consensus, SIT, and other notable contemporary reductionistic approaches.
Morsella, E. (2005). The function of phenomenal states: Supramodular interaction theory. Psychological Review, 112, 1000-1021. LINK:http://bss.sfsu.edu/emorsella/images/MorsellaPsychRev.pdf