Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Do multiple cortical–subcortical interactions support different aspects of consciousness?

Daniel Collerton a1 and Elaine Perry a2
a1 Northumberland, Tyne, and Wear NHS Trust, Bensham Hospital, Gateshead NE8 4YL, United Kingdom;
a2 Wolfson Research Centre, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE4 6BE, United Kingdom.

Article author query
collerton d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
perry e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Merker's core idea, that the experience of being conscious reflects the interactions of actions, targets, and motivations in the upper brainstem, with cortex providing the content of the conscious experience, merits serious consideration. However, we have two areas of concern: first, that his definition of consciousness is so broad that it is difficult to find any organisms with a brain that could be non-conscious; second, that the focus on one cortical–subcortical system neglects other systems (e.g., basal forebrain and brainstem cholinergic systems and their cortical and thalamic target areas) which may be of at least equal significance.

(Published Online May 1 2007)