Despite the advancements in the study of sleep, many doubts still remain with regard to the phenomenal aspects of dreaming. Sleep mentation seems to lack a solid evolutionary explanation and we have no precise mapping of the phenomenal aspects of dreaming onto the neural activity of the sleeping brain. In order to address these issues, we propose to adopt Predictive Processing (PP), an emerging theoretical framework for cognitive science that aims to unify perception, action and cognition under a single mechanism (Clark 2013, in press; Hohwy 2013). The core idea is that brains are predictive machines with a hierarchical structure, continuously in the business of predicting their own sensory inputs. Applied to the study of dreaming (Hobson & Friston 2012, Hobson, Hong & Friston 2014), PP highlights the continuity and the differences of dreaming with other waking mental states, grounding them on the very same cognitive architecture. However, PP doesn't precisely account for the phenomenological aspects and how we come to experience anything in the first place (the “hard problem” of consciousness). We argue that if a second theory proves to be efficient in explaining the phenomenal aspect of dreaming, then PP could be integrated with it for a more comprehensive explanation of cognition. Our theory of choice is Integrated Information Theory (IIT) (Tononi 2012, Oizumi, Albantakis & Tononi 2014). According to IIT the quantity of consciousness of a system is equal to the amount of integrated information generated by its elements, while the quality of experience is defined in relation to maximally irreducible conceptual structures (MICS), i.e. constellation of concepts in the “qualia space”. Phenomenal consciousness is hence defined on the basis of the informational relationships generated by the system's repertoire of internal states, which characterizes conscious experience in both the waking and dreaming state. After the introduction on PP, IIT and the specific issues surrounding dreaming, we procede to explain how PP and IIT can be merged in order to explain the cognitive mechanism behind the emergence of dream phenomenology, focusing on the conceptual similarity between the two theories' vocabularies. Finally, we illustrate a few critical points and some implications of a more general merging of the theories.

Grasso, M., Bucci, A. (2015). The phenomenology of dreaming: a multi-theoretical approach. Merging Predictive Processing and Integrated Information Theory.

The phenomenology of dreaming: a multi-theoretical approach. Merging Predictive Processing and Integrated Information Theory.

GRASSO, MATTEO;
2015-01-01

Abstract

Despite the advancements in the study of sleep, many doubts still remain with regard to the phenomenal aspects of dreaming. Sleep mentation seems to lack a solid evolutionary explanation and we have no precise mapping of the phenomenal aspects of dreaming onto the neural activity of the sleeping brain. In order to address these issues, we propose to adopt Predictive Processing (PP), an emerging theoretical framework for cognitive science that aims to unify perception, action and cognition under a single mechanism (Clark 2013, in press; Hohwy 2013). The core idea is that brains are predictive machines with a hierarchical structure, continuously in the business of predicting their own sensory inputs. Applied to the study of dreaming (Hobson & Friston 2012, Hobson, Hong & Friston 2014), PP highlights the continuity and the differences of dreaming with other waking mental states, grounding them on the very same cognitive architecture. However, PP doesn't precisely account for the phenomenological aspects and how we come to experience anything in the first place (the “hard problem” of consciousness). We argue that if a second theory proves to be efficient in explaining the phenomenal aspect of dreaming, then PP could be integrated with it for a more comprehensive explanation of cognition. Our theory of choice is Integrated Information Theory (IIT) (Tononi 2012, Oizumi, Albantakis & Tononi 2014). According to IIT the quantity of consciousness of a system is equal to the amount of integrated information generated by its elements, while the quality of experience is defined in relation to maximally irreducible conceptual structures (MICS), i.e. constellation of concepts in the “qualia space”. Phenomenal consciousness is hence defined on the basis of the informational relationships generated by the system's repertoire of internal states, which characterizes conscious experience in both the waking and dreaming state. After the introduction on PP, IIT and the specific issues surrounding dreaming, we procede to explain how PP and IIT can be merged in order to explain the cognitive mechanism behind the emergence of dream phenomenology, focusing on the conceptual similarity between the two theories' vocabularies. Finally, we illustrate a few critical points and some implications of a more general merging of the theories.
Grasso, M., Bucci, A. (2015). The phenomenology of dreaming: a multi-theoretical approach. Merging Predictive Processing and Integrated Information Theory.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/298909
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