Art and the Conscious Mind- Lecture 1

The first theory that struck me was the supposed relationship between the mind and the world. Human consciousness is a very unknown topic which means there are many opposing theories. The first hypothesis that interested me was Nicholas Humphrey’s argument “that human consciousness evolved to facilitate social integration and aid survival by creating a common mental space populated by many colluding introspecting agents. The creature with a capacity for introspection was able to project that same capacity into other similar creatures so that it could, in Humphrey’s words, ‘get inside other people’s skins.'” Humphrey, 1983, pg.53

This aspect of a shared social mind is what drew me to this, especially in relation to my practice. Does society’s lack of individuality stem from a shared conscious.

The next area that particularly interested me was the hollow mask  illusion.

This is surreal considering how set in its ways the brain is. It is a very manipulated organ.

The next discussion was about a patient suffering from agnosia. This is essentially the loss of ability to recognize objects. The image below shows a line drawing of an owl and next to it the patient’s copy of this drawing. The patient could only attempt to mimic the lines, he could not recognize the owl. “In general, his case supports the view that ‘perceptual’ and ‘recognition’ processes are separable, because his stored knowledge required for recognition is in tact.”

fnhum-05-00084-g010This is essentially “showing that the first set of processes can continue to function when the second set is all but obliterated.”

Could this in research undervalue our brains, are they as individual as we think or more collective than we would like to think.


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