Cognition in some surprising places

Arthur S Reber, František Baluška
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2020 September 16
The most widely accepted view in the biopsychological sciences is that the cognitive functions that are diagnostic of mental operations, sentience or, more commonly, consciousness emerged fairly late in evolution, most likely in the Cambrian period. Our position dovetails with James's below - subjectivity, feeling, consciousness has a much longer evolutionary history, one that goes back to the first appearance of life. The Cellular Basis of Consciousness (CBC) model is founded on the presumption that sentience and life are coterminous; that all organisms, based on inherent cellular activities via processes that take place in excitable membranes of their cells, are sentient, have subjective experiences and feelings. These, in turn, guide the context-relevant behaviors essential for their survival in often hostile environments in constant flux. The CBC framework is reductionistic, mechanistic, and calls for bottom-up research programs into the evolutionary origin of biological consciousness.

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