Pilot Study for Testing Global Neuronal Workspace (GNW) and Integrated Information (IIT) theories of consciousness in animal models


Director: Shawn Olsen

Institution: Allen Institute

This pilot project uses electrophysiology and behavioral task development to ensure the success of the main project: “Testing Global Neuronal Workspace (GNW) and Integrated Information (IIT) Theories of Consciousness in Animal Models.”

In the project, scientists will test divergent predictions of two prominent theories of consciousness in the brain of non-human primates and mice. Animal models allow researchers to investigate the neural correlates of consciousness at higher spatiotemporal resolution (and with causal manipulation) than that possible in the parallel human project using an fMRI and EEG to test GNW and IIT.

The project has two main goals:

  1. In two non-human primate labs led by Yuri Saalmann and Theofanis Panagiotaropoulos, it will set up a Neuropixels probe to develop electrophysiological recordings.
  2. In labs led by Maria Geffen and Shawn Olsen, it will develop the behavioral task that will be used for studying consciousness in mice using Neuropixels recordings and optogenetics.


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