What is consciousness and how can a brain, a mere collection of neurons, create it? In Consciousness and the Social Brain, Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano lays out an audacious new theory to account for the deepest mystery of them all. The human brain has evolved a complex circuitry that allows it to be socially intelligent. This social machinery has only just begun to be studied in detail. One function of this circuitry is to attribute awareness to others: to compute that person Y is aware of thing X. In Graziano's theory, the machinery that attributes awareness to others also attributes it to oneself. Damage that machinery and you disrupt your own awareness. Graziano discusses the science, the evidence, the philosophy, and the surprising implications of this new theory.
Michael S. A. Graziano, Professor of Neuroscience at Princeton University, is an internationally renowned scientist and an award-winning novelist. His books include the popular science book God, Soul, Mind, Brain and the short novels The Divine Farce, The Love Song of Monkey, and Death My Own Way.
Part I: The Theory ; Chapter 1: The magic trick ; Chapter 2: Introducing the theory ; Chapter 3: Awareness as information ; Chapter 4: Being aware versus knowing that you are aware ; Chapter 5: The attention schema ; Chapter 6: Illusions and myths ; Chapter 7: Social attention ; Chapter 8: How do I distinguish my awareness from yours? ; Chapter 9: Some useful complexities ; Part II: Comparison to previous theories and results ; Chapter 10: Social theories of consciousness ; Chapter 11: Consciousness as integrated information ; Chapter 12: Neural correlates of consciousness ; Chapter 13: Awareness and the machinery for social perception ; Chapter 14: The neglect syndrome ; Chapter 15: Multiple interlocking functions of the brain area TPJ ; Chapter 16: Simulating other minds ; Chapter 17: Some spiritual matters ; Chapter 18: Explaining the magic trick