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Medical Moving consciousness inside the brain

  1. Sep 28, 2005 #1
    Is it possible to move ones own consciousness inside the brain?
    For example is it possible to move it to the left or right a little bit, or to the back, or even down the brainstem?
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  3. Sep 28, 2005 #2


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    I don't quite know what you mean. Can you explain more clearly?
  4. Sep 28, 2005 #3
    Right now u have the feeling that u, ur consciousness, is inside ur head. U feel as if u are an observer watching from within the head through 2 eyes. And u dont feel that u are doing this from inside ur feet for example.

    Is it possible to change the position of this consciousness, so that it seems to be somewhere else than where it normally is?
  5. Sep 28, 2005 #4


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    If you believed that your heart was the organ that did the thinking, would you still feel as an observer inside a head? I don't share your feeling that conciousness has a location. I know that it is created by brain processes, but i don't percieve it as having a location within me. I think your own imagination is coming into play here.
  6. Sep 28, 2005 #5
    Thats what i want to know. I tried to do such a thing a few times by closing my eyes and imagining that my consciousness was inside my feet, but it didnt work and i couldnt convince myself. I wonder if its possible and also if such a state can be maintained for long periods.
  7. Sep 28, 2005 #6
    I think that if consciousness=awareness, it would be in more than one part of your brain at once at any given time (Although it may never have a precise location?)....because you're aware of a LOT of things at any given time right? That's just what I think...You could maybe try and convince yourself that you were conscious somewhere other than your brain...but I think that no matter where we believe consciousness exists it will usually exist, at least to some degree, in the brain and in only in the brain...but that's just my personal belief, I'm sure some people believe that consciousness could exist in places other than the brain...

    Hypothetically, you could think anything (Eg that your consciousness is in your heart) and/or feel anything (Eg that you are not an observer inside your head) but thinking and feeling things won't necessarily change what reality is/make our perception of reality more accurate because we can have inaccurate feelings/thoughts about reality at any given time

    Of course I think that somebody could make you feel like you weren't an observer inside your head through virtual reality or something

    sorry if that got too off-topic
    Most of that was just my opinion which I'm not saying is fact

    I think in order to change the ACTUAL (Not just "believed") position of consciousness, you would need to change the location of the brain processes that (in my opinion) create consciousness. I believe that you could inaccurately believe/feel that consciousness exists anywhere at any given time through for example virtual reality etc

    Anyways, sorry I'm not sure what parts of that was opinion and what parts of that was fact. Sorry if there were spelling mistakes etc in that I'm kind of in a hurry

    Of course it may be possible that an infinite amount of consciousnesses/types of consciousnesses do/could exist....I mean a lot of things would depend on your definition of consciousness...again just my opinion...If we proved that there was more than one universe I'm sure that debates about consciousness could become far more complex as a result..
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2005
  8. Sep 28, 2005 #7
    I think that the idea of consciousness being in your head derives mainly from the fact that this is where most of your sensing organs are located. It would only make sense that your conscious perspective would seem to be situated in that location.

    It raises another interesting question though. Your sense organs are located so close to your brain because transfer of sensory information is better that way. What if our brains were in our chest though? Would the resulting lag in information transfer due to lack of proximity give us the sense that our minds/brains are located elsewhere? And would we have any sensation that may lead us to guess it's true location?
  9. Sep 29, 2005 #8


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    Frankly, I don't feel as if my consciousness has one location. My visual field feels like it is located in my head, but the tactile sensations that result from my typing feel like they are in my fingertips. Both are a part of my consciousness.
  10. Sep 29, 2005 #9
    I seem to recall thinking it was weird to suppose thinking took place inside the head the first time some teacher told us this. Before that I probably located it in the general torso area, if I thought about it at all.
  11. Sep 29, 2005 #10
    Interesting answers. Perhaps there is also a matter of prioritizing sensory information. Most people are more visually and/or audially oriented. Maybe some people that are more tactilely oriented will perceive their consciousness differantly. I've also heard of neural like activity in the heart but never have never found out just how true this claim is. Does anyone know anything about this?
  12. Sep 30, 2005 #11


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    This is a natural thing to think-- that (at least some) conscious experiences seem to be located in or around the head as a simple consequence of the fact that that's where many of our sensory organs are located-- but in fact I think it's more complex than that. It's important to bear in mind that pretty much everything about how we experience is dictated by various complex and interacting brain mechanisms.

    If a clever neurosurgeon from the distant future were to rearrange someone's neural circuits in the appropriate way, I would not be surprised to find that one could experience something that seems absurd and even paradoxical, such as experiencing vision as if it were coming from the stomach rather than the eyes. Of course, the visual information would have to correspond to a perspective from the eyes rather than lower on the body. But the point here is that it's likely that our visual experience does not seem to be located behind the eyes just because that's where our eyes actually are-- the brain most probably needs to do certain things above and beyond computing the visual scene to give us the impression that this scene is being observed from behind the eyes, as opposed to some other location.

    We could say similar things for other "located" experiences, such as the conscious experience one has of one's own body. We feel that the tactile/kinesthetic/etc. experience we have of our bodies are bounded just at the edge of the skin simply because that really is the natural boundary of our bodies, right? Or simply because that's where our sensory nerves end? Ideas like that are appealing to common sense but in all likelihood they are false. Experienced body image is actually relatively prone to various kinds of distortions-- one can feel as if one's limbs are suddenly larger or smaller, or distended rather than attached to the torso, or belong to someone else rather than to one's self, or one can even feel the boundary between body and environment dissolve altogether. One can also have out of body experiences where the body seems to be left behind altogether. So there's lots of room for fluidity here simply because the natural body images we take for granted everyday are not givens but are actually complex constructions.

    Similar things could be said about vision in principle, although distortions in where vision seems to be located are probably rarer than body distortions. At least one well documented example is a certain class of out of body experience where it seems as if visual consciousness is not behind the eyes of one's body but rather is floating somewhere in space, usually above the body.
  13. Sep 30, 2005 #12


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    I think loseyourname's post is pertinent here. Do you ever really experience the totality of your consciousness in any one place? Typically one reports the conscious experiences one regards as belonging to oneself as being spread out across the whole body. What would it mean exactly to move your consciousness into your feet? You can certainly focus your attention on your feet so that you are more vividly aware of sensations coming from that area, but I don't know if that's what you're getting at. I can't really say much more until you give a clearer account of what exactly you're trying to get at here.
  14. Sep 30, 2005 #13
    I don't have the experience of seeing from "behind" the eyes at all. I definitely see "from" the eyes, or "with" the eyes.

    The imagination of visual images seems to take place vaguely behind the eyes, though.
  15. Sep 30, 2005 #14


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    Not sure how you're differentiating "behind" and "from." "From" is basically what I meant.
  16. Sep 30, 2005 #15
    If at all it can move, why to confine it within your body? Try feeling that your conscious lies in space.
  17. Sep 30, 2005 #16


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    but it will only a thought and a virtual reality.
    Attention may be focused on quite all parts of body. It is not consciousness but awareness. :wink:
  18. Sep 30, 2005 #17
    There is a very interesting East Indian Neuroscientist that takes difficult cases, and I am truly sorry I don't remember his name. But I saw a demonstration of the "body map" that exists in an area of our brain somewhat across the top, and it is bilateral, there is a map for each side of the body.

    This Doctor helps people deal with phantom pain from lost limbs by using a mirror box, that helps people re-establish conscious contact with lost limbs that feel pain. What happens (as I recall), is that the body map registers the loss and pain, and can't let go of it because the part is no longer there to communicate with. So the mirror box helps to establish contact with the body part in the map on the opposite side of the brain and the dialogue is established that erases the pain symptoms. This does work, at least in the case I watched.

    As far as seeing from behind the eyes, we all see from behind the eyes, and we really do not "see", what we "see". Everything we see is strictly interpreted by the brain. For instance, we can't see straight lines, or tall buildings that conform to the ideation of symmetry and perspective. We see though bi-ocular fish eye lenses, and the world is really bowed in our true vision. We make up every rectilinear scenario. That is why the city is so stressing, and the country is relaxing. We don't have to work as hard to see nature, and it is in the relaxation of western standards of visual measurement, we find some relaxation. At least that is one of the components of leisure.

    There have been all kinds of interesting experiments with human vision. One group put glasses on students for a week that made the world seem upside down. Within one week, the glasses didn't do that any more. When the glasses were removed then the world was upside down with natural vision, until the effect was reversed in a few days. Our perceptual skills are extremely varied, fluid, and individual.
  19. Sep 30, 2005 #18
    I've also herd some things about these mirror boxes. The patient with the missing limb, a forearm and hand in this case, complained of pain where there hand was when it was attached. They described the pain as a clenching sensation and an ache, as if they were unable to relase the pressure in their hand.

    The mirror box had two sides. The arm was put into one side and the end of the limb was put on the other, as if it were an actual arm. The mirror box transposed the image of the actual arm to the other side of the box. The patient would open and close their physical hand and see both the physical and phantom hands opeining and closing. Seeing this relieved the clenching sensation and the phantom pain from the patient.

    In this case the patient seems to have been experiencing sensations that originate from outside the body without any connection to sensory organs at all. Whatever body map was stored in his brain recalls that arm. I think it could be said that a part of his consciousness extends beyond his body, atleast while he experiences these phantom pains.
  20. Sep 30, 2005 #19


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    The pains aren't actually originating from outside the body, the person's mind is causing the pain, it's psychosomatic. When the person "saw" the missing hand become unclenched, his mind believed it and stopped the pain.

    I saw this demonstrated on the tv documentary about it, it was interesting.

    edit:I believe this is also what Huck was saying, we're just saying it differently. The person does think the pain is in the missing limb.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2005
  21. Sep 30, 2005 #20


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    Going back to the topic, many ancient people thought that the heart was the organ for feeling and thought, they thought the brain was unimportant.

    Think about it "heartsick" heartbroken", "you've ripped out my heart", "heartfelt", "heartwarming", "cold hearted", "dear to my heart", the heart was thought to be the seat of emotion.
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