Professor Min Byoung-kyong discovers the principles of human consciousness from the perspective of brain science.
The first paper to demonstrate experimental evidence that human conscious perception is related to the inhibitory dynamics of the thalamus.
Research findings are published in the internationally renowned journal NeuroImage.
▲ Prof. Min Byoung-kyong, Department of Brain and Cognitive Engineering
Professor Min Byoung-kyong (Graduate School of Brain and Cognitive Engineering) has published the results of experiments showing that human conscious perception is caused by the inhibitory dynamics of the thalamus, the brain of the brain.
As previous studies were limited to animal research, this is the first paper to demonstrate experimental evidence that the conscious perception of humans is related to the inhibitory dynamics of the thalamus. The research results were published online on June 18 in the internationally renowned journal NeuroImage.
To study the conscious perception of human beings, Professor Min designed an experiment in which rapid flickering of red and green colors are shown to participants whose brainwaves are then analyzed when they perceived this as orange, a mixture of the two colors. The color orange is not actually present or physically visible to the participants. It is an illusion that is formed only in the mental realm of the human brain, and this is the reason for selecting this method as an interesting and decisive design for studying the functions of conscious perception.
For this research, a key experimental study of human conscious perception, Professor Min participated as the first author and correspondent author, and conducted the analysis for the research in cooperation with Dr. Kim Hyun-seok of the KU Institute of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research (the USA), and City, University of London (the UK). This is the first research that demonstrates the relationship between human conscious perception and the inhibitory dynamics of the thalamus through both experimental results and theoretical modelling. It is especially meaningful in that it provides experimental support for the theoretical hypothesis of thalamus-centered human perception which Professor Min had published in a journal related to BMC modelling 10 years ago.
Research on consciousness is a long-standing core challenge in relation to the brain and mind. It is the most advanced function of human cognitive perception, and the neurophysiological principles of human consciousness have not yet been discovered. However, this research overcame the limits of the existing neuroimaging technology and offered experimental proof that human conscious perception is heavily influenced by the thalamus – the brain of the brain – which is wrapped with the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), a thin film similar to an apple peel.
A. Model for interaction between the thalamus and cerebral cortex when human conscious perception occurs.
B. The result of a strong interaction between the thalamus and cerebral cortex when the two flickering colors are perceived as orange. (Dark blue indicates a strong inhibitory effect and red indicates a strong excitatory effect, which signifies that the visual cortex of the occipital lobe may consciously respond according to the active inhibitory functions of the thalamus in the center of the brain.)
C. The result of a weak interaction between the thalamus and cerebral cortex when the flickering red and green colors are perceived as individual colors.