Neurosociological Perspectives on Consciousness within and beyond Sociology: A Case Study of the Selectivity of Consciousness

By Yulia S. Shkurko.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

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This article on the selectivity of consciousness (an example of a neuroscientific idea) considers the issue of the alliance of the sociological and neuroscientific approaches to consciousness. The sociological potential of the concept of the selection of specific neural activity patterns underlying specific conscious experiences and a profound reduction of other potential activity patterns is discussed. Stimuli, spontaneous brain activity, and a set of neural activity patterns selected through evolution and over the course of an individual life contribute to the current selectivity of consciousness. Acknowledging that neural mechanisms play a significant role in the selectivity of consciousness supports the idea that brain activity has an effect on social activities. The binding of regularities of stimuli and neural activity patterns, connected with certain consciousness experiences, restricts the diapason of human subjectivity and hampers the development of human individuality. Moreover, our ability to consciously process only one cognitive task at a time contributes to the serial character of human activities. Based on current research, I discuss the perspectives of neurosociological research concerning consciousness that can be extended to research on other phenomena. I consider the evaluation of the heuristics of neuroscientific concepts within a traditional sociological framework, obligatory for contemporary sociological studies of cognition. Next, the limitations and obstacles of an interdisciplinary approach integrating existing sociological and neuroscientific concepts are considered. The most promising path is connected with overcoming traditional disciplinary limits and the development a new approach—a neurosociology of consciousness that would unite the social and neurocognitive dimensions without a rigid connection with neuroscience and sociology.

Keywords: Consciousness, Selectivity of Consciousness, Neural Correlates of Consciousness Neurosociology

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.41-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 263.419KB).

Dr. Yulia S. Shkurko

University of Russian Academy of Education Nizhny Novgorod Branch, Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation