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A three stage model of awareness: formulation and initial experimental support

Taylor, J G.1,2,5; Jäncke, L1,3,6; Shah, N J.1; Nösselt, T4; Schmitz, N4; Himmelback, M4; Kalenscher, T1; Müller-Gärtner, H-W1

Auditory and Vestibular Systems

THE various components which together make up the complex state of consciousness require neural support involving a connected network of many brain areas at differing levels. At the lowest level is non-aware processing, of which there is not direct awareness. There are also modules involved in processing with awareness but without focussed attention. Finally there must be a set of modules involved in directing attention in a controlled manner. We expect to be able to dissociate the various components of the three-stage network by using different levels of attention. The results of an auditory experiment performed under three different levels of awareness and attention are analysed to show support for the three-stage model of awareness. The relevant auditory areas are delineated.

1Institute of Medicine, Research Centre Juelich, D-52425 Juelich, Germany

2Centre for Neural Networks, Department of Mathematics, King's College London, UK

3Institute of General Psychology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Germany

4Institute of General Psychology, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany.

5Corresponding Author and Address: J. G. Taylor, Institute of Medicine, Research Centre Juelich, D-52425 Juelich, Germany

6Corresponding Author and Address: L. Jäncke, Institute of Medicine, Research Centre Juelich, D-52425 Juelich, Germany

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This study was supported by a grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to L.J. The guest scientists (M.H., T.K., L.J., T.N., N.S., J.G.T.) would like to thank the Research Center Jülich for providing the facilities that made this work possible and Dr Stefan Posse for help and advice in data analysis.

Received 3 March 1998; accepted 8 March 1998

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.