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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): Aschematic depiction of the quale generated by the hierarchy; sinceeach pattern-detector contains many elements and connections, theactual quale will be vastly more complicated than the simple cartoonshown here. The actual repertoires generated along two q-edges areshown. First, consider the clockwise q-edge. The cyan connections– targeting the edge detectors – specify thatthe image presented to the retina contains certain edges. The edgeand feature detectors taken together specify that the edges coalesceinto features such as a mouth, nose and eyes. Finally, all theconnections in the hierarchy specify the particular face that isshown to the retina. Going around anti-clockwise, the“face” connections on their own specify that theretina-grid was presented with a face-like object, however, thedetails of the face are unspecified, since the concepts for mouthetc. are not generated by the face-neurons. Engaging the connectionstargeting the feature-neurons fills out some of the details of theface, the broad outlines of how the nose, mouth and eyes appear.Finally, adding connections targeting the edge-neurons specifies theface precisely. The informational relationships generated by neuronsin 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): Aschematic depiction of the quale generated by the hierarchy; sinceeach pattern-detector contains many elements and connections, theactual quale will be vastly more complicated than the simple cartoonshown here. The actual repertoires generated along two q-edges areshown. First, consider the clockwise q-edge. The cyan connections– targeting the edge detectors – specify thatthe image presented to the retina contains certain edges. The edgeand feature detectors taken together specify that the edges coalesceinto features such as a mouth, nose and eyes. Finally, all theconnections in the hierarchy specify the particular face that isshown to the retina. Going around anti-clockwise, the“face” connections on their own specify that theretina-grid was presented with a face-like object, however, thedetails of the face are unspecified, since the concepts for mouthetc. are not generated by the face-neurons. Engaging the connectionstargeting the feature-neurons fills out some of the details of theface, the broad outlines of how the nose, mouth and eyes appear.Finally, adding connections targeting the edge-neurons specifies theface precisely. The informational relationships generated by neuronsin a tangled quale cannot be described in isolation.

Mentions: Consider the diagram in Fig.17A. Feature detectors in a primary cortical area specify that theremay be some edges in some locations of the retina grid. Tangled“horizontally” in a topographic manner, meaning withconnections afferent to other neurons in the same area, they specify acertain contour. In Q, as illustrated schematically in Fig. 17B (clockwise q-edge of the quale),this contour information provides a natural context on topof which to tangle, “vertically,” the contribution ofneurons 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 aface.


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): Aschematic depiction of the quale generated by the hierarchy; sinceeach pattern-detector contains many elements and connections, theactual quale will be vastly more complicated than the simple cartoonshown here. The actual repertoires generated along two q-edges areshown. First, consider the clockwise q-edge. The cyan connections– targeting the edge detectors – specify thatthe image presented to the retina contains certain edges. The edgeand feature detectors taken together specify that the edges coalesceinto features such as a mouth, nose and eyes. Finally, all theconnections in the hierarchy specify the particular face that isshown to the retina. Going around anti-clockwise, the“face” connections on their own specify that theretina-grid was presented with a face-like object, however, thedetails of the face are unspecified, since the concepts for mouthetc. are not generated by the face-neurons. Engaging the connectionstargeting the feature-neurons fills out some of the details of theface, the broad outlines of how the nose, mouth and eyes appear.Finally, adding connections targeting the edge-neurons specifies theface precisely. The informational relationships generated by neuronsin a tangled quale cannot be described in isolation.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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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): Aschematic depiction of the quale generated by the hierarchy; sinceeach pattern-detector contains many elements and connections, theactual quale will be vastly more complicated than the simple cartoonshown here. The actual repertoires generated along two q-edges areshown. First, consider the clockwise q-edge. The cyan connections– targeting the edge detectors – specify thatthe image presented to the retina contains certain edges. The edgeand feature detectors taken together specify that the edges coalesceinto features such as a mouth, nose and eyes. Finally, all theconnections in the hierarchy specify the particular face that isshown to the retina. Going around anti-clockwise, the“face” connections on their own specify that theretina-grid was presented with a face-like object, however, thedetails of the face are unspecified, since the concepts for mouthetc. are not generated by the face-neurons. Engaging the connectionstargeting the feature-neurons fills out some of the details of theface, the broad outlines of how the nose, mouth and eyes appear.Finally, adding connections targeting the edge-neurons specifies theface precisely. The informational relationships generated by neuronsin a tangled quale cannot be described in isolation.
Mentions: Consider the diagram in Fig.17A. Feature detectors in a primary cortical area specify that theremay be some edges in some locations of the retina grid. Tangled“horizontally” in a topographic manner, meaning withconnections afferent to other neurons in the same area, they specify acertain contour. In Q, as illustrated schematically in Fig. 17B (clockwise q-edge of the quale),this contour information provides a natural context on topof which to tangle, “vertically,” the contribution ofneurons 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 aface.

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