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Psychology's ‘binding problem’ and possible neurobiological solutions

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Given what we know about the segregated nature of the brain and the relative absence of multi-modal association areas in the cortex, how percepts become unified is not clear. However, if we could work out how and where the brain joins together segregated outputs, we would have a start in localizing the neuronal processes that correlate with conscious perceptual experiences. In this essay, I critically examine data relevant for understanding the neurophysiological underpinnings of perception. In particular, I examine the possibility that 40 Hz. oscillatory firing patterns in cortex are important lower-level neuronal events related to perceptual experiences. I suggest that ‘binding’ - understood as a process of hooking together disparate psychological units - reduces to a property inherent in the structure of our brain's firing patterns. However, this reduction may not reflect the firing rates of individual cells, but instead a ‘higher level’ order superimposed on individual cells’ activity.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0126, USA., Email:

Publication date: January 1, 1994


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