Seminar Series

Dissociable Neural Information Dynamics for Conscious Contents and Cognitive Control

At any given moment, we experience a perceptual scene as a single whole and yet we may distinguish a variety of objects within it. This phenomenon instantiates the integration and differentiation properties of conscious perception. For different contents in mind when the same scene is presented (bistable perception), the integrated percept was associated with an increase in information integration and a decrease in information differentiation across frontoparietal regions, whereas the opposite pattern was observed for the differentiated percept. These patterns of dissociation were convergent in scalp EEG and intracranial recordings (LFPs) in humans. This reconfiguration of large-scale brain networks is seen in the different contents of consciousness when the external world does not change. Convergently, we have also observed a neural information reconfiguration when in a cognitive control task the stimuli does not change but the level of alertness wanes. The brain markers of conflict resolution change from local processing to distributed information processing with drowsiness but the behavioral markers remain the same. We propose that the flexibility of brain systems may have different strategies to solve internally driven versus externally driven challenging situations.