Knowing the Brain to Know Yourself
Consciousness: It's the centerpiece for all human thought. Interpreting the world around us and attempting to attain the most accurate representation of self-awareness. With disorders and our own personal struggles though, our perception of ourselves and our reality may become distorted.
This article, though discussing mainly those who enter a vegetative or comatose state, reiterates the importance of the neurotransmitter dopamine in helping an individual create consciousness and self-awareness. Even in an unconscious state, doctors were still able to track the brain activity of a patient through a fMRI (brain scan) when asked to imagine herself playing tennis. This disruption of dopamine supply within the brain is linked to both vegetative state as well as mental disorders we may experience, meaning that treatment of this neurotransmitter can lead to improvement of consciousness and self-awareness.
Our dopamine supply is controlled through a part of the brain called the ventral tegmental area (VTA). There is only so much about the brain scientists and neurologists understand, however, discovering the role and cause-and-effect of important neurotransmitters like dopamine allow us to target regions of the brain that will aid in our development of consciousness.
If you want to learn more about the role of dopamine on our consciousness, read the main article here: https://theconversation.com/consciousness-how-the-brain-chemical-dopamine-plays-a-key-role-new-research-165498
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