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Qualia: the geometry of integrated information.

Balduzzi D, Tononi G - PLoS Comput. Biol. (2009)

Bottom Line: Both active and inactive elements specify a quale, but elements that are inactivated do not.In principle, different aspects of experience may be classified as different shapes in Q, and the similarity between experiences reduces to similarities between shapes.Finally, specific qualities, such as the "redness" of red, while generated by a local mechanism, cannot be reduced to it, but require considering the entire quale.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.

ABSTRACT
According to the integrated information theory, the quantity of consciousness is the amount of integrated information generated by a complex of elements, and the quality of experience is specified by the informational relationships it generates. This paper outlines a framework for characterizing the informational relationships generated by such systems. Qualia space (Q) is a space having an axis for each possible state (activity pattern) of a complex. Within Q, each submechanism specifies a point corresponding to a repertoire of system states. Arrows between repertoires in Q define informational relationships. Together, these arrows specify a quale -- a shape that completely and univocally characterizes the quality of a conscious experience. Phi -- the height of this shape -- is the quantity of consciousness associated with the experience. Entanglement measures how irreducible informational relationships are to their component relationships, specifying concepts and modes. Several corollaries follow from these premises. The quale is determined by both the mechanism and state of the system. Thus, two different systems having identical activity patterns may generate different qualia. Conversely, the same quale may be generated by two systems that differ in both activity and connectivity. Both active and inactive elements specify a quale, but elements that are inactivated do not. Also, the activation of an element affects experience by changing the shape of the quale. The subdivision of experience into modalities and submodalities corresponds to subshapes in Q. In principle, different aspects of experience may be classified as different shapes in Q, and the similarity between experiences reduces to similarities between shapes. Finally, specific qualities, such as the "redness" of red, while generated by a local mechanism, cannot be reduced to it, but require considering the entire quale. Ultimately, the present framework may offer a principled way for translating qualitative properties of experience into mathematics.

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Learning to distinguish new experiences enriches the shape of thequale generated by a system.(A): A system of elements, containing two detectors(AND-gates that respond to >1 spike) andfour sensors, on which we focus attention. The sensors haveall-to-all connections with the detectors. Both detectors arefiring, which occurs for any of the sensor patterns 1011, 1010 and0011 (amongst others): “wine”. (B): The qualegenerated by the system. The maroon and gray submechanisms(containing 4 connections targeting each detector) generate asingle q-arrow due to the redundancy of theall-to-all connectivity. The system generates the same quale inresponse to three different sensor patterns:“rosé wine” (1011), “redwine” (1010) and “white wine” (0011).(C): The system learns to distinguish between types of wine bypruning three connections; as before detectors areAND-gates, however, since their inputs differ theyare no longer redundant. (DEF): The three sensor patterns generatethree different qualia. Moreover, each quale is richer than in panelB: the single q-arrow has split into 4 q-arrows, reflecting theincreased richness in how the taste of differentwines is specified.
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pcbi-1000462-g014: Learning to distinguish new experiences enriches the shape of thequale generated by a system.(A): A system of elements, containing two detectors(AND-gates that respond to >1 spike) andfour sensors, on which we focus attention. The sensors haveall-to-all connections with the detectors. Both detectors arefiring, which occurs for any of the sensor patterns 1011, 1010 and0011 (amongst others): “wine”. (B): The qualegenerated by the system. The maroon and gray submechanisms(containing 4 connections targeting each detector) generate asingle q-arrow due to the redundancy of theall-to-all connectivity. The system generates the same quale inresponse to three different sensor patterns:“rosé wine” (1011), “redwine” (1010) and “white wine” (0011).(C): The system learns to distinguish between types of wine bypruning three connections; as before detectors areAND-gates, however, since their inputs differ theyare no longer redundant. (DEF): The three sensor patterns generatethree different qualia. Moreover, each quale is richer than in panelB: the single q-arrow has split into 4 q-arrows, reflecting theincreased richness in how the taste of differentwines is specified.

Mentions: Fig. 14A shows the qualegenerated by a system where 2 detector elements receive identicalconnections from all 4 sensors. For 3 different input patterns (sayrosé, red, and white wines) the responses of the detectors is thesame: both elements are firing, indicating the detection of wine as opposedto water (in which case they would be silent). The quale reflects theredundancy of the concepts generated by the elements: the 2 submechanismsconsisting of connections targeting the two detectors are redundant andgenerate a single q-arrow in the quale onto which all 3 wine patternscollapse: the experience is an undifferentiated one of wine (as opposed towater; we are assuming here that the quale is much larger than what isactually drawn, including all the context necessary to specify that theseare gustatory experiences having to do with liquids).


Qualia: the geometry of integrated information.

Balduzzi D, Tononi G - PLoS Comput. Biol. (2009)

Learning to distinguish new experiences enriches the shape of thequale generated by a system.(A): A system of elements, containing two detectors(AND-gates that respond to >1 spike) andfour sensors, on which we focus attention. The sensors haveall-to-all connections with the detectors. Both detectors arefiring, which occurs for any of the sensor patterns 1011, 1010 and0011 (amongst others): “wine”. (B): The qualegenerated by the system. The maroon and gray submechanisms(containing 4 connections targeting each detector) generate asingle q-arrow due to the redundancy of theall-to-all connectivity. The system generates the same quale inresponse to three different sensor patterns:“rosé wine” (1011), “redwine” (1010) and “white wine” (0011).(C): The system learns to distinguish between types of wine bypruning three connections; as before detectors areAND-gates, however, since their inputs differ theyare no longer redundant. (DEF): The three sensor patterns generatethree different qualia. Moreover, each quale is richer than in panelB: the single q-arrow has split into 4 q-arrows, reflecting theincreased richness in how the taste of differentwines is specified.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2713405&req=5

pcbi-1000462-g014: Learning to distinguish new experiences enriches the shape of thequale generated by a system.(A): A system of elements, containing two detectors(AND-gates that respond to >1 spike) andfour sensors, on which we focus attention. The sensors haveall-to-all connections with the detectors. Both detectors arefiring, which occurs for any of the sensor patterns 1011, 1010 and0011 (amongst others): “wine”. (B): The qualegenerated by the system. The maroon and gray submechanisms(containing 4 connections targeting each detector) generate asingle q-arrow due to the redundancy of theall-to-all connectivity. The system generates the same quale inresponse to three different sensor patterns:“rosé wine” (1011), “redwine” (1010) and “white wine” (0011).(C): The system learns to distinguish between types of wine bypruning three connections; as before detectors areAND-gates, however, since their inputs differ theyare no longer redundant. (DEF): The three sensor patterns generatethree different qualia. Moreover, each quale is richer than in panelB: the single q-arrow has split into 4 q-arrows, reflecting theincreased richness in how the taste of differentwines is specified.
Mentions: Fig. 14A shows the qualegenerated by a system where 2 detector elements receive identicalconnections from all 4 sensors. For 3 different input patterns (sayrosé, red, and white wines) the responses of the detectors is thesame: both elements are firing, indicating the detection of wine as opposedto water (in which case they would be silent). The quale reflects theredundancy of the concepts generated by the elements: the 2 submechanismsconsisting of connections targeting the two detectors are redundant andgenerate a single q-arrow in the quale onto which all 3 wine patternscollapse: the experience is an undifferentiated one of wine (as opposed towater; we are assuming here that the quale is much larger than what isactually drawn, including all the context necessary to specify that theseare gustatory experiences having to do with liquids).

Bottom Line: Both active and inactive elements specify a quale, but elements that are inactivated do not.In principle, different aspects of experience may be classified as different shapes in Q, and the similarity between experiences reduces to similarities between shapes.Finally, specific qualities, such as the "redness" of red, while generated by a local mechanism, cannot be reduced to it, but require considering the entire quale.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.

ABSTRACT
According to the integrated information theory, the quantity of consciousness is the amount of integrated information generated by a complex of elements, and the quality of experience is specified by the informational relationships it generates. This paper outlines a framework for characterizing the informational relationships generated by such systems. Qualia space (Q) is a space having an axis for each possible state (activity pattern) of a complex. Within Q, each submechanism specifies a point corresponding to a repertoire of system states. Arrows between repertoires in Q define informational relationships. Together, these arrows specify a quale -- a shape that completely and univocally characterizes the quality of a conscious experience. Phi -- the height of this shape -- is the quantity of consciousness associated with the experience. Entanglement measures how irreducible informational relationships are to their component relationships, specifying concepts and modes. Several corollaries follow from these premises. The quale is determined by both the mechanism and state of the system. Thus, two different systems having identical activity patterns may generate different qualia. Conversely, the same quale may be generated by two systems that differ in both activity and connectivity. Both active and inactive elements specify a quale, but elements that are inactivated do not. Also, the activation of an element affects experience by changing the shape of the quale. The subdivision of experience into modalities and submodalities corresponds to subshapes in Q. In principle, different aspects of experience may be classified as different shapes in Q, and the similarity between experiences reduces to similarities between shapes. Finally, specific qualities, such as the "redness" of red, while generated by a local mechanism, cannot be reduced to it, but require considering the entire quale. Ultimately, the present framework may offer a principled way for translating qualitative properties of experience into mathematics.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus