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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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Hierarchical experiences.(A): Higher-order feature detectors extract a hierarchy of patterns                                (edges, features, and faces) from a retina-like grid. (B): A                                schematic depiction of the quale generated by the hierarchy; since                                each pattern-detector contains many elements and connections, the                                actual quale will be vastly more complicated than the simple cartoon                                shown here. The actual repertoires generated along two q-edges are                                shown. First, consider the clockwise q-edge. The cyan connections                                – targeting the edge detectors – specify that                                the image presented to the retina contains certain edges. The edge                                and feature detectors taken together specify that the edges coalesce                                into features such as a mouth, nose and eyes. Finally, all the                                connections in the hierarchy specify the particular face that is                                shown to the retina. Going around anti-clockwise, the                                “face” connections on their own specify that the                                retina-grid was presented with a face-like object, however, the                                details of the face are unspecified, since the concepts for mouth                                etc. are not generated by the face-neurons. Engaging the connections                                targeting the feature-neurons fills out some of the details of the                                face, the broad outlines of how the nose, mouth and eyes appear.                                Finally, adding connections targeting the edge-neurons specifies the                                face precisely. The informational relationships generated by neurons                                in a tangled quale cannot be described in isolation.
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pcbi-1000462-g017: Hierarchical experiences.(A): Higher-order feature detectors extract a hierarchy of patterns (edges, features, and faces) from a retina-like grid. (B): A schematic depiction of the quale generated by the hierarchy; since each pattern-detector contains many elements and connections, the actual quale will be vastly more complicated than the simple cartoon shown here. The actual repertoires generated along two q-edges are shown. First, consider the clockwise q-edge. The cyan connections – targeting the edge detectors – specify that the image presented to the retina contains certain edges. The edge and feature detectors taken together specify that the edges coalesce into features such as a mouth, nose and eyes. Finally, all the connections in the hierarchy specify the particular face that is shown to the retina. Going around anti-clockwise, the “face” connections on their own specify that the retina-grid was presented with a face-like object, however, the details of the face are unspecified, since the concepts for mouth etc. are not generated by the face-neurons. Engaging the connections targeting the feature-neurons fills out some of the details of the face, the broad outlines of how the nose, mouth and eyes appear. Finally, adding connections targeting the edge-neurons specifies the face precisely. The informational relationships generated by neurons in a tangled quale cannot be described in isolation.

Mentions: Consider the diagram in Fig. 17A. Feature detectors in a primary cortical area specify that there may be some edges in some locations of the retina grid. Tangled “horizontally” in a topographic manner, meaning with connections afferent to other neurons in the same area, they specify a certain contour. In Q, as illustrated schematically in Fig. 17B (clockwise q-edge of the quale), this contour information provides a natural context on top of which to tangle, “vertically,” the contribution of neurons in a higher area whose connections specify the presence of eyes, nose, and mouth. On top of this richer context, “face” neurons in even higher areas are tangled, again vertically, to specify a face.


Qualia: the geometry of integrated information.

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

Hierarchical experiences.(A): Higher-order feature detectors extract a hierarchy of patterns                                (edges, features, and faces) from a retina-like grid. (B): A                                schematic depiction of the quale generated by the hierarchy; since                                each pattern-detector contains many elements and connections, the                                actual quale will be vastly more complicated than the simple cartoon                                shown here. The actual repertoires generated along two q-edges are                                shown. First, consider the clockwise q-edge. The cyan connections                                – targeting the edge detectors – specify that                                the image presented to the retina contains certain edges. The edge                                and feature detectors taken together specify that the edges coalesce                                into features such as a mouth, nose and eyes. Finally, all the                                connections in the hierarchy specify the particular face that is                                shown to the retina. Going around anti-clockwise, the                                “face” connections on their own specify that the                                retina-grid was presented with a face-like object, however, the                                details of the face are unspecified, since the concepts for mouth                                etc. are not generated by the face-neurons. Engaging the connections                                targeting the feature-neurons fills out some of the details of the                                face, the broad outlines of how the nose, mouth and eyes appear.                                Finally, adding connections targeting the edge-neurons specifies the                                face precisely. The informational relationships generated by neurons                                in a tangled quale cannot be described in isolation.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pcbi-1000462-g017: Hierarchical experiences.(A): Higher-order feature detectors extract a hierarchy of patterns (edges, features, and faces) from a retina-like grid. (B): A schematic depiction of the quale generated by the hierarchy; since each pattern-detector contains many elements and connections, the actual quale will be vastly more complicated than the simple cartoon shown here. The actual repertoires generated along two q-edges are shown. First, consider the clockwise q-edge. The cyan connections – targeting the edge detectors – specify that the image presented to the retina contains certain edges. The edge and feature detectors taken together specify that the edges coalesce into features such as a mouth, nose and eyes. Finally, all the connections in the hierarchy specify the particular face that is shown to the retina. Going around anti-clockwise, the “face” connections on their own specify that the retina-grid was presented with a face-like object, however, the details of the face are unspecified, since the concepts for mouth etc. are not generated by the face-neurons. Engaging the connections targeting the feature-neurons fills out some of the details of the face, the broad outlines of how the nose, mouth and eyes appear. Finally, adding connections targeting the edge-neurons specifies the face precisely. The informational relationships generated by neurons in a tangled quale cannot be described in isolation.
Mentions: Consider the diagram in Fig. 17A. Feature detectors in a primary cortical area specify that there may be some edges in some locations of the retina grid. Tangled “horizontally” in a topographic manner, meaning with connections afferent to other neurons in the same area, they specify a certain contour. In Q, as illustrated schematically in Fig. 17B (clockwise q-edge of the quale), this contour information provides a natural context on top of which to tangle, “vertically,” the contribution of neurons in a higher area whose connections specify the presence of eyes, nose, and mouth. On top of this richer context, “face” neurons in even higher areas are tangled, again vertically, to specify a face.

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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