There are questions the answers to which are the greatest.the minds of the planet are not looking for the first century. So, the question that such a consciousness excites not only philosophers, but also physicists, however, there is still no single definition of consciousness, and approaches to studying it and studying those who have this very consciousness are constantly changing, because scientists are still not sure whether all animals or only representatives of Homo sapiens are endowed with consciousness. The results of a new study suggest going even further, because for the first time in history, physicists have succeeded in ... measuring the consciousness of a fruit fly! The authors of the scientific work claim to have discovered a way to quantify consciousness. Sounds like science fiction, so let's get it right.
Are insects conscious?
If you, like me, don’t really like insects,this may seem a little creepy: according to a 2016 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, insects are conscious. According to a group of researchers from Macquarie University in Australia, flies and fleas are capable of “subjective experiences,” which are one of the main forms of consciousness.
Scientists came to this conclusion by studying brain imagesflies made in the midbrain area, which is located inside the folds of the cerebral cortex. Using these images, they compared the brain of a fly with the brain of other animals and found that the brain of a fly has similar structures to the human brain. This, the authors of the article write, allows them to simulate the world in the same way as we do. Well, no wonder the protagonist of the movie "Fly" was so inspired by his um ... rebirth.
People and other vertebrates have goodevidence that the midbrain is responsible for subjective experience. The cerebral cortex determines a lot of what we are aware of, but this is primarily due to the midbrain. He does this very rudely, forming a single integral picture of the world from a single point of view.
Lead author of the study, Colin Klein, in an interview with Discovery News.
Moreover, Klein and his team concludedthat flies are also egocentric because they selectively pay attention to certain things - this helps them survive. Agree, against this background, the news about the recording of consciousness of flies does not look so surprising.
Study published in the journal PhysicalReview Research, has led to a new approach to measuring consciousness, which potentially changes our understanding of complex neurological problems. The work describes how, with the help of physics, scientists were able to measure the level of consciousness in fruit flies. Flies that are commonly used in biological research appear to have different, quantifiable levels of consciousness that could be captured in neural recordings.
Read even more fascinating articles about what consciousness is and how it is studied, read on our channel in Yandex.Zen. There are regularly published articles that are not on the site!
A new approach to the study of consciousness
Research Group from Monash UniversityNAO Tsuchiya found a way to measure the level of conscious excitement in fruit flies using complex signals produced by the brain. The new technique allows us to distinguish between flies that were under anesthesia and those that were not, calculating the time complexity of the signals, the researchers said in an official press release.
“This is a very important study because itemphasizes an objective way of measuring conscious excitement by connecting to a small area of the brain, and not to many parts of it, ”the authors of the scientific article write. This also suggests that there is a clear sign of conscious arousal in the brain that is independent of specific external stimuli. The researchers also concluded that applying a similar analysis to other data sets, in particular to human EEG data, may lead to new discoveries regarding consciousness.
Potentially, the new technique is applicable to people and reflects a growing interest in new theories of consciousness, which today can be tested experimentally.
In the course of work, the research team studiedbrain signals produced by 13 fruit flies during wakefulness and under general anesthesia. Then they analyzed the received signals to understand how complex they are. Essentially, the complexity of the neural signals of the flies was related to the level of their conscious excitement. Awake flies had more brain activity than those under anesthesia and these signals could serve as a basis for future research.
Measure human consciousness significantlyharder - in the brain of a fly about 100,000 cells, and in the human - 86 billion. Nevertheless, the researchers hope that in the future their work will advance in the study of the human mind and brain. And what do you think, what is consciousness and can it be measured? We will wait for the answer here!
See also: What is consciousness and how did it appear?
As the portal Futurism notes.com, one of the main problems of neurology is the difference between unresponsive vegetative patients and those who suffer from a condition called "locked-in syndrome" - when a human being is aware of everything, but cannot move or communicate verbally due to complete paralysis of almost all the muscles in the body.