Recent experiments involving electrical stimulation suggest that there exists a brain center in humans, called the claustrum, that integrates our experience of the world. We already know that consciousness is not an ethereal concept, but a brain function that can be switched on and off – and now it looks like this center can be switched off by an electrical stimulation.
The late Francis Crick, the Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, proposed that this is the area where conscious experience is integrated:
“a rose is a rose because it has a specific scent and feel, and it is red. The neurons for olfactory, tactile and visual responses are spread out in the brain. What then integrates our experience of a rose? …the claustrum relates to processes that give rise to integrated conscious percepts.”
Crick further argued that the claustrum is ideally located to receive signals from different regions of the brain’s cortex and overlap and integrate them. In this way the claustrum functions like a conductor in an orchestra, where all the musicians are the brain’s cortical regions. In an orchestra as in the brain, synchrony is all. Without the claustrum, everything becomes cacophonous, but with it we can enjoy the complete symphony of life. Read more about the discovery here:
The academical abstract and article here: