Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

It is likely that multiple error correction and negative feedback systems are in place to ensure that small changes are not chaotically amplified to cause gross mental changes after a few seconds,

On the other hand, the above may be precisely how consciousness operates!

Picture a system that traverses through many different states as "chaotic attractor" cycles, and outside stimuli act to nudge the system between grossly different chaotic attractors. You have a system that needs to be exquisitely tuned to subtle input changes, yet also robust in the face of other types of changes (damage, etc.)

In the brain, these "state trajectories" would be neuronal firing patterns and synaptic chemical gradients. Determining the chaotic attractors themselves would be neuronal morphology and ion channel types and locations.

The "short-term" information about a brain might not need to be stored in order to reconstruct a brain. That is, individual neuron on-off states and synaptic chemical gradients may be "how you feel and what you are thinking this moment"--but discarding (or not measuring) this info might only mean the reconstructed brain would start from some "blank" state. Chaotic attractor dynamics would "pull" the system into one of the aforementioned chaotic cycles and the system as a whole would eventually recreate the short-term firing patterns and chemical gradients needed for normal functioning.

(The above might be wrong in particulars, but I strongly suspect the concept of small changes perturbing a chaotic system to shift between chaotic attractors will play a role in the ultimate explanation of how neuronal processes give rise to conscious experience.)


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