A neural correlate of sensory consciousness in a corvid bird

  title={A neural correlate of sensory consciousness in a corvid bird},
  author={Andreas Nieder and Lysann Wagener and Paul Rinnert},
  pages={1626 - 1629}
Consciousness shared Humans have tended to believe that we are the only species to possess certain traits, behaviors, or abilities, especially with regard to cognition. Occasionally, we extend such traits to primates or other mammals—species with which we share fundamental brain similarities. Over time, more and more of these supposed pillars of human exceptionalism have fallen. Nieder et al. now argue that the relationship between consciousness and a standard cerebral cortex is another fallen… 

Consciousness without cortex

  • A. Nieder
  • Biology, Psychology
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology
  • 2021

Birds do have a brain cortex—and think

On page 1626 of this issue, Nieder et al. show that the bird pallium has neurons that represent what it perceives—a hallmark of consciousness.

Awareness and consciousness in humans and animals – neural and behavioral correlates in an evolutionary perspective

It was found that the neural markers from studies in humans could also successfully be applied to the mammal and bird data suggesting that species in these animal groups can become subjectively aware of and conscious about perceived stimuli.

Behavioural and Neural Evidence for Conscious Sensation in Animals : An Inescapable Avenue towards Biopsychism?

  • V. Lamme
  • Psychology, Biology
    Journal of Consciousness Studies
  • 2022
Findings from sleep, anaesthesia, blindsight, masking, and rivalry present unequivocal evidence for a conscious–unconscious contrast in monkeys and — surprisingly — possibly insects.

Animal Consciousness: The Interplay of Neural and Behavioural Evidence

The relationship between neural and behavioural evidence for animal consciousness is considered, and two recent studies are critically examined, revealing a sense in which Neural and behavioural research rely on each other.

An Evidence-Based Critical Review of The Mind-Brain Identity Theory

In the philosophy of mind, the causal relationship between phenomenal consciousness, mentation and brain states has always been a matter of debate. On the one hand, material monism posits

High associative neuron numbers could drive cognitive performance in corvid species

The hypothesis that large absolute numbers of associative pallial neurons contribute to cognitive flexibility and complexity and are key to explain why crows are smart is supported.

The search for the neural correlate of consciousness: Progress and challenges

Several methodological shifts are proposed that may help to advance the quest of the NCC program, while remaining uncommitted to any specific theory: the currently prevalent "contrastive method" should lose its monopoly in favor of methods that attempt to explain the phenomenology of experience.

Disentangling perceptual awareness from nonconscious processing in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

A well-established cross-over double dissociation between nonconscious and conscious processing is harnessed, which makes it feasible to disentangle conscious visual awareness from nonconscious processing in nonhuman species and can be used to strip away ambiguity when exploring the processes governing intelligent behavior across the animal kingdom.



Animal consciousness: a synthetic approach

The threshold for conscious report: Signal loss and response bias in visual and frontal cortex

This work investigated the fate of weak visual stimuli in the visual and frontal cortex of awake monkeys trained to report stimulus presence and proposed a model in which stimuli become consciously reportable when they elicit a nonlinear ignition process in higher cortical areas.

Towards a true neural stance on consciousness

  • V. Lamme
  • Psychology, Philosophy
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2006

Inside the corvid brain—probing the physiology of cognition in crows

  • A. Nieder
  • Biology, Psychology
    Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
  • 2017

Abstract rule neurons in the endbrain support intelligent behaviour in corvid songbirds.

This work explores the neuronal foundation of corvid cognition by recording single-unit activity from an association area known as the nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL), suggesting that intelligence in vertebrates does not necessarily rely on a neocortex but can be realized in endbrain circuitries that developed independently via convergent evolution.

Neural correlates of consciousness: progress and problems

Recent findings showing that the anatomical neural correlates of consciousness are primarily localized to a posterior cortical hot zone that includes sensory areas, rather than to a fronto-parietal network involved in task monitoring and reporting are described.

Birds have primate-like numbers of neurons in the forebrain

It is shown that the brains of parrots and songbirds contain on average twice as many neurons as primate brains of the same mass, indicating that avian brains have higher neuron packing densities than mammalian brains.

The avian ‘prefrontal cortex’ and cognition

Large-scale network organization in the avian forebrain: a connectivity matrix and theoretical analysis

Using graph theory, the first large-scale “wiring diagram” for the forebrain of a bird is presented and it is shown that the pigeon telencephalon is organized along similar lines to that of a mammal.