Home     Home - english version     Holistic "reflective" science     Meditation     Ethics     "Physiological communication" through food     Contact    

A holistic view of the cerebrum with special consideration of the prefrontal cortex - under supposing of a hierarchical and uniform functioning of the brain, regardless of an association with ectoderm, mesoderm or endoderm arosed organs of the body.


The model presented here seeks to investigate the research on the functioning of the brain from the point of view of symmetry, congruence and wholeness and to summarize it into a comprehensive cortex-function theory. It should be associate possibly without incorporating on the first-person-level own needs, expectations and culture-specific tendencies incorporate in the model - and to recognize and filter out the own subjective parts in the interpretation process as far as possible.

From a historical perspective the brain is seen as an organ especially for thinking and consequently it is looking for a place for it. This premise determined the approach and theory in research from the very beginning. Conscious experience and acting in the environment is thereby attributed a higher priority and dedicated attention as something what will not reveal at first glance, So what is beyond the senses and the voluntary motor. An unbiased neutral search without preconceptions, if it ever is possible, is and was not available.

The procedure in the research comprises a formulating and establishment of hypotheses, with presumptions about the functioning of the brain, which accompanied with the general subjective estimation of the individual and therefore each single researcher on the first-person-perspective. It acts unconsciously in the declaration of brain functions. Generally the brain is attributed both the creation of mental functions and physiological functions, whereby just a complex initial question is being created.

The research has established in their approach to the explanation of the functions of the cortex, especially the prefrontal cortex, hardly detached from the helping-assumption of a homunculus, a human in the person who uses the brain. The integration of concepts such as the "I", "self", "thinking organ", "decision center", or even the idea of neural correlates of the psychic only shifts the homunculus basic assumption. While concepts such as "embodiment" allow the body to play a key role in cognition, they are not a determinative function at the neural level.
If the body is considered for this purpose as a whole, it is striking for the 1st person perspective that there is an a priori weighting of areas of the body in association with its conscious perception in connection with cognitive processes: in ontogenesis all of the three cotyledons develop organs of the body. The ectoderm cotyledon, the outer layer of the embryo from which the sensory organs develop, receives the highest weight in the associated organs, the greatest attention, and is considered neuroscientific for the longest time. The mesoderm cotyledon, the middle layer from which, among other things, the skeleton has formed, is neurologically recognized in the associated organs first with the concept of "embodiment." So far neuroscientific neglected are the endoderm organs developed from the inner layer, which are e.g. digestive organs like the stomach belong. The vagus nerve is afferent connected to the thalamus, so there is in fact an information flow from the periphery to the cerebrum.
The aproiri idea of how the flow of information in the brain can work is thus influenced by the availability of information from an organ for consciousness: the sense of sight, transmitted through the eyes, is given more importance than e.g. the stomach in conjunction with afferent information. There may be of cause a neuronal quantitative significance in accordance with a conscious availability of certain sense organs. This does not allow a conclusion on a qualitative weighting of the individual organs among each other for a cognitive process of the organism in "real time". In my opinion, the actual value is the same for all organs. Why should the organism prefer sound pressure information or information from electromagnetic oscillations to chemical information that provides all information about the outside world just because the former is consciously perceived and the latter is inaccessible to consciousness?

Levels of the analysis of the information process

According to MARR (1982), the choice of the representation decides on the analyzing of the information or on the part of the potentially available information that is perceived afterwards. Here in this script, the second level of MARR, "Representation and algorithm" (p. 25), is to be modified in that the neurophysical processes are separated from the psychophysical processes. It is assumed here, that algorhythms of a purely physical nature (input and output) must first be considered, before statements about the connections between physiological and psychological phenomena can be made. The first level, the "computational theory" according to MARR, is also differently defined here: it assumes that all information of the body, independent of the origin, is equivalent and processed in real time, and thus indeed comes in a computationally detectable direction. Ultimately, the physical body thus presents the "tact", the framework of psychological processes, whereby the experience of the "I" and a superordinate importance of the thought process from the first-person perspective becomes natural, rather imperceptible, limits. On the other hand, the model allows space for an individual development of the personality in a holistic sense, since these (natural) limits in the resulting process dynamics focus and optimize the personality development - so such as a car is best driven on a specially designed highway instead of in an average degree in a maximum of all possible environmental variables.

The cause of these "problems" is located not in the "nature of things", but in the preconceptions about the workings of the brain, which is working in the general personal self-assessment of each individual and therefore each individual researcher; it acts unconsciously in the declaration of brain functions. In general, both the creation of mental functions and physiological functions are attributed to the brain, whereby just is created a complex initial question. A search for neural correlates of psychological functions as a kind of solution of the Descartes' body-soul problem leads, in my opinion, into a dead end.

In my opinion the fault lies in the inadmissible mixing of psychological and physiological functions: in a first step only physiological functions can be explain in the brain, because the body and therefore the brain acts logically as a physical medium with handling in principle only physical information. So first it is to put together in relationship only everything physical; the question of the derivation of (undoubtedly existing) mental functions can only take place in a second step. This procedure avoids in my view the contradiction between the traditional concept of "Repräsentation einer vorgegebenen Welt in einem vorgegebenen Geist" (VARELA et al, 1995, S. 27) so as picture of the outside world in a mental inner world and the cognitive staging of reality.

A "networking" of brain cells here means only the possible connection of all physically available informations through the body of the organism on the cortex-level. Stronger networking means better utilization of existing physical informations. The extent to which there are correlations with mental functions is derived only from this. It could be a conceivable theory, that there is an optimal place for physical information processing for certain mental functions, If it is assumed that physical and psychological correlation does not have to be covering, but must be "learned" in the course of life. Then there is also the possibility of assuming a "false", unfavorable constellation of mental and physical processes acquired by suboptimal developmental conditions, e.g. psychosomatic diseases. I assume that there is a level of networking of all external information accessible to the body at the physical level between the level of the networked nerve cells and the psychological phenomena associated with the brain.

Individual cortical areas can be assigned to different functions and place them in a revised overall context in terms of holism and synchrony. Empirical results can be interpreted differently. I think particularly the prefrontal cortex can be assessed in a very different way; from the effects of the internal organs to the whole activity of the cortex and the behavior of the organism are underestimated in my opinion.

Essentially this is about a theory in which the cerebrum gets informations about the environment of the organism not only through the sense organs and (arbitrariness-) motor skills, but ultimately over the entire body, including internal organs. They will then be represented in cortical centers that probably affect the entire cerebrum in three ways: in a first step primary and in further steps secondary and tertiary: from the abstract level of external information as electromagnetic oscillation, sound pressure, electrical and chemical information to an "objectisation" with the help of temporally preceding stored information.
The active staging of perception about mental processes, which perhaps also affects the physical information processing in parts, is carried out in an additional step, which is considered separately. In the flow of information on the physical level from primary to tertiary the structure of staging is already prepared.

graphical representation of direct and indirect information processing 
based on the cortex

Holism - embodiment incorporating the whole organism

Essential point for this theory is the assumption of an holistic approach. All information the cortex receives are basically equivalent, the entire cortex assimilates all the information he receives from the outside world. One can distinguish between the receipt of direct information to the outside world - via the senses - and indirect information - indirectly mediated outside information through the muscles and internal organs.
This assumption is in an opposite to the theory of FUSTER, which divides the cortex into a post-central part, which is responsible for the processing of perceptual information, and into a precentral part, which is responsible for processing actions, cognitions and emotions (1991, pages 339 ff, also summarized in: AFFENTRANGER, 2006, pp. 76 ff).

In this alternative considerations, there is a part of the cortex, which is located anterior to the central sulcus, replaced by the assumption of a representation and processing of information from the internal organs and muscles. In other words, the processing of indirect, intra-organismic information of the organism. The assessment of the postcentral cortex is the same as in FUSTER, refers accordingly on directly information.

Another difference to the established theories is the uniform assumption of primary processing of physical informations from the physical neurons in the cortex; emotional and cognitive processing are of a secondary way, not more than superimposed of physical processing. The assumption of association centers can be abstained. What is sometimes interpreted in empirical research as "association", can be explained by neural activity within only physiologically generated information. The mereological fallacy, which describes BENNETT & HACKER (2010), may therefore - and even with the following considerations - be avoided.

There is a possibility of explanation with the ontogeny of people: Considering the early development and resulting from the devision of the cotyledons in an ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm one (it refers ectoderm inter alia on sense organs, nervous system, mesoderm inter alia on skeletal muscle system, smooth muscle of the viscera, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, internal genital organs, entoderm among others on the digestive tract, liver, respiratory tract), so the brain relates in the area posterior to the central sulcus to the ectoderm development (Centers for the sense organs), anterior then probably comes the mesoderm assignment (because of proven centers for muscles), may be probably left the attribution of the frontal area for the development of the entoderm cotyledon.

graphic subdivision of the cortex in areas of endoderm, ectoderm
and mesoderm

Another difference to the accepted theories is the adoption of a uniform primary processing of physical information with physical nerve cells in the cortex; the emotional and cognitive processing is secondary and not more than superposed of physical processing. The assumption of association centers may be waived. What is sometimes interpreted in empirical research as "association", can be explained as neural activity within only physiologically-generated information. The mereological fallacy describe BENNETT & HACKER (2010), can therefore - and with the still following considerations - be avoided.

Cognitive staging through physical flow of information from primary to subsequent centers

Another assumption in difference to etablated theories is the assumption of information processing across all areas of the entire cortex mapped across in primary centers, which depict the information directly (e.g., as in the primary visual center each wavelengths of light) and in secondary centers, which allows a specification, further processing of the information within a map center (e.g. secondary visual center with the ability to recognize structures). It is assumed here that this applies to all subdivision Cortex centers.
After secondary processing the stimulus transmission takes place in tertiary cortical centers. In the literature there are, for example, for the visual area the so-called "ventral path" of the visual stimulus forwarding to the "Aera IT", the inferior temporal cortex, where a small proportion of their neurons reacts strongly to pictures of faces (BEAR et al, 2009, p 371).
KARNATH & THIER (2006, p 656) reports for the motor area a "hierarchy" principle, in which tertiary shares of Cortex - in contrast with primary and secondary areas - work in a nonspecific modulation process: automated movements for example saved regardless of the exporting limbin pariofrontalen networks, i.e. an exercise program is independent of whether it executed by the hand or by the foot.

If now the above principle be transferred to other sensory organs, resulting eg for the way from primary to tertiary for the auditory area the information processing of sound pressure oscillations over the perception of sound patterns to the (re-) recognition of linguistic content.

This hierarchical processing at the physical level adopts a psychological staging already anticipated; it includes from the inceasingly primary to tertiary itself a staging. Well-known examples are in the visual perception images, which alternates in the perception from the brain as various objects. The physical information processing uses for itself the jump to the next higher meta-level and thus generates in some ways a pattern, image, in the broadest sense physical cognitive structure as a model for the reflectivity of the whole individual.

As adopted for primary and secondary centers here are also assumed a general information processing of the entire body over all modalities of gathering information from are "outside", including tertiary. Tertiary centers of internal organs as a theoretical construct of a representational meta level are unfortunately hard to imagine. But at a physical level in cognitive processing they could be an important link for a "blueprint" of a cognitive mental structure.
Here lies the key of a theory that mental structures does not firmly anchored in the physique but by this merely as a loose controlled metaphor; with measuring methods can be detected only physical structures. Tertiary centers of internal organs imply as a hypothetical construct of physical staging of body-internal processes on an abstract level a reconciliation to correlative relationships with mental productions. For example, gastric activity: from chemical events (primary level) via structures of chemical events (secondarily, related to specificity of food) to the digestive process of the stomach (tertiary, based on the change process per unit time).

In the "silence"-meditation one learns, after mental activity has decreased through the physical resting, after a meal an increase of mental and emotional activity, depending on the type of food. Certainly the mental activity does not depend solely on the physical digestion - existing psychological stress will generally affect a meditation and physical activity. However, it provides an explanation, in which the physical structure of psychic processes preparing a base, a "blueprint", pretending the psychological level subconsciously in one direction, structure.
Food is also digested in various ways, "processed", not only through the stomach but also by other organs, in other "qualities". On a psychological level events, situations are also processed, so that a person becomes a slightly different attitude to the things of his "world" with increasing duration in unit time.
The above examples were related now only to the reconciliation of ectoderm-related organs, the sensory organs to the endoderm developed organs, therefore the innermost, that are available for digestion, changes per unit time. Yet lacks the consideration of the mesoderm formed organs that ensure a balance, a proportionality of the powers of the organism, e.g. the muscular system or the heart activity. As the body develops from all three cotyledons, should here be assumed, that all three provide through physical primary to tertiary processing and production levels from the scope, the structure for the optimal development of an individual on a psychological level.

The term "representation" is by no means a construct, which seems to cognitivists reserved; in the representation in my opinion it is located the base, the metaphor for effective staging at all. The staging of perception and a self-image as well as an image of the "world" is thus favored by the physical cognitive structure. It is probably the creation of a maximum possible cognitive "mobility" of the individual as well as the greatest achievement of cognitive variability between individuals of the species.
Based on these considerations, the dreams in a sleep are a staging without representation.

Indirect information processing through centers of the inner organs

As an indirect information processing here the recording and conversion of information is called, allowing only indirect conclusions about the outside world: through the muscles, internal organs, and about visceral information. For example, the input from food through the stomach is a source of information about the outside world. This information appears in itself trivial, but receives importance through timely matching with other, directly recorded information in a central merge. In this example, the possibility of distinguishing between good and bad food using information from the sensory organs. In contrast to the cognitive view it is assumed no separate decision-making center independent of physiological processes, but the decision itself is a part of the physiologically based process within the cortex. The "I" appears more even as a part of the physiologically based process and is therefore not necessary for a decision.

It should be assumed that the subdivision occurs simplified in a primary and secondary kind of information processing, which counts for all cortical centers: a direct representation and secondary specialized collection of information gained in direct representation (here to be except of assuming tertiary detection). What is to be understood simply on a visual level, presupposes on the postulated level of the internal organs a higher level of abstraction: while a primary representation easy is to capture the various organs, may a secondary representation be capture a correlation pattern between the different organs.

After all, between the organs essentially there is a coincidence in the sequence of their activities. E.G. ingested food (or their end products) passes from the stomach to the intestine to certain organs in a given period. Food is also a source of information from the outside world. Possibly, each art of food an individual pattern of frequenting certain organs in recording, assimilation and elimination.

The organism may seek to recognize this pattern as early as possible in order to get a prediction about the innervation of himself. The ideal place for this is a cortical center of the inner organs. The consequences of these assumptions are far-reaching: The organism receives - as a result of phylogenetic development - primarily information on the number and the amount of taken various food-organisms (species). Therefore it reaches a wide variety of species-specific patterns of innervation. The information on proportional content such as proteins, fats, vitamins, etc. open up only in a second step. Also, the organism may learn a certain variance: a physiological variance due to natural variation in the food ingested, and a kind of internal variance, wherein the exactly same food is processed differently depending on the state of the organism. The recognition of an inner variance would give the organism conclusions to other physiological states, such as the (physiological) detecting of a slower metabolism and the cognitive inference to psychological causes.

In neurophysiology, there are several evidence to support the central thesis: According to BIRBAUMER & SCHMIDT (2006), 80-90% of all Parasympathetic nerve fibers in the vagus nerve are afferent, i.e. directed towards the central nervous system. The autonomic nervous system in general has afferents from the hypothalamus to the thalamus (not vice versa). Between the hypothalamus and the prefrontal cortex are existing as well connections. The only region of the neocortex, which is connected with the hypothalamus, is the prefrontal cortex (KARNATH & THIER, 2006, p 472). There gives studies that suggest an influence of the intestinal nervous system to the psyche.

An example of the characteristics of a primary center of internal organs could be the assumptions of DAMASIO (1991) about patients with ventromedial injury that should have no relation to internal bodily states and thus can not form somatic markers (DAMASIO, summarized by AFFENTRANGER, 2006, pp. 82ff.).

A secondary center of internal organs I would therefore ascribe a collection of temporal structures and a sense of "process" in the broadest assume, because in some way outside world are detected, converted, assimilated and partially excreted.
These considerations have similarities with the theory of DUNCAN (2000), who postulates in his theory of "Adaptive Neural Coding", that neurons in the frontal cortex adapt to the particular requirements of the information processing and that they are unspecified functional (DUNCAN, summarized by AFFENTRANGER, 2006, pp. 88ff).

It is assumed in this presented theory at last, that the brain all information that it recieves, can be use for an evolutionary advantage and also by using those of interior body conditions at the same level, just as they are in communication with the outside world in many ways. The ideology underlying is different: while in the traditional discretion the individual receives food to make it move around and can go to many places for the exercise of sense perception, the point of view is here, that the individual is permanently in its entirety in a process sequence interaction with the environment.

The theory of the "somatic markers" of DOMASIO (2014, S. 237) describes insofar the importance of physical information processing, in that it takes an automatism in rapid decision-making of the individual. However, I do not believe that feelings from the interior of the body (DOMASIO, 2009, S. 102) are decisive, but the underlying physical algorhythms of themselves. Why they should be subordinated to thought processes are questionable - presumably, this assumption is based on the first-person perspective of the reflective human being, who places his thinking in the center of his considerations (and not only the author).

Lateralization of the brain

Analogous to the model presented here is an explanation for the lateralization of the brain simply the creation of each of two "images" from contemporaneous informations from the outside world, which receives the cortex. They are compared with each other and generate a validation of the assembled information. Probably a larger derogate of the dual "images" of the outside world is accompanied by an inhibition, as the situation is assessed ambiguous and likely additional information is needed by the body. Analogous to the significant information gain of the dual information recording and processing at the level of sensory organs, e.g. enabling spatial vision and hearing by two eyes and ears, the best overall information processing must not lie in a one-to-one image, but just in the comparison of the information processing under different aspects, e.g. total versus detail viewing. An examination of the recovered "images" of the outside world at different levels increases the strength of their validity.
(A similar model of a comparative division of work between the two halves of the brain represents RAMACHANDRAN (1995), but with him, the left hemisphere has the task to monitor a "script" on the congruence of behavior, while the right hemisphere has the task to discover anomalies.)

Therefore it results from this model an information processing of the cortex at four levels: First, primarily through the representative acquisition of the outside world informations about primary brain centers. Then a specification of this informations in (a species-specific meaningful way) a potentially larger number of secondary brain centers. Tertiary would then correspond to the assembly of this informations across the brain centers to a "big picture". Quaternary finally correspond to the comparison of two such "total images".

Ratio physical information to emotional and cognitive information processing

In the established view of cortex he is divided into a heterogeneous plurality of centers, which the various attributes of cortical processing will be awarded, depending on art in physiological, mentally or affective. It is therefore especially subject to the risk of "mereological fallacy", the BENNETT & HACKER describe (2010) in the ascription of psychological properties to a part of the human (brain) rather than the whole organism. I believe that the research has not yet fully liberated from the idea of a "homunculus", presumably because it is more suited in the usual self-perception of a person. Here the cortex should be described as a primarily physiological system, which gathers and interlinked all information standing at his disposal, the outside world relevant physiological information, at two levels (primary and secondary centers).

The viewing angle is evolutionary: starting from the idea of phylogenetic development from simple to complex multicellular organisms which create over their developing brains a more sophisticated, better image of the external world or create a more comprehensive staging to accomplish the self-sustained more effective. An important principle here is the information preservation by food, splitting and assimilation into their own (physiological) system and by the elimination of unusable parts. This coarse-described dynamic principle consists phylogenetically continued on the development from animal to man.

A particular assumption here is the consideration of psychic functions as a superposition of physiological defined centers. Emotional and mental processes therefore require no special centers but they merely overlapped the centers for physiological information, because they represent the same process on an other flat. Of special interest are in my opinion the (secundary) centers, which can set external information across several organs in a temporary context (e.g. the way of the food through stomach, liver kidney, intestine, etc.). They capture a physiological process in relation to a unit of time. Emotional and mental processes therefore require no special centers because they are merely a phylogenetic differentiation of the physiological processes taking place anyway. They represent the physiological processes of information acquisition, conversion, assimilation and elimination on a level of emotional and cognitive processes. This fusion of information is then in secondary centers, which capture the activities of the internal organs cortical instead. Here is nothing to be said about the substance of emotions and cognitions but merely that they are organized in a certain way by a physiologically based dynamic principle. The information stored in the cortex on the dynamic process of interaction with the outside world (in this example, the feeding and processing to the assimilation and elimination) are the physiological "blueprint" for mental information processing environment. The feed conversion, which takes place practically from birth almost continuously in an individual is recorded from the cortex and forms the basis for a similar emotional and cognitive transformation of the external information for a better interaction with the environment.

Mental functions so need no special centers, but the centers are superimposed on physical information, because they represent the same process on a different level. Of particular interest are in my opinion the (secondary) centers, the external information across multiple institutions can put in a temporal context (e.g., the way the food through the stomach, liver, kidney, intestine, etc.). They capture a physiological process in relation to a unit of time. They could be the basis for example for a perception of time and a perceived ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. So functions, that are traditionally ascribed to the prefrontal cortex as a unique position point, but here should be assigned to a secondary center of the inner organs. According to this theory here the internal organs about their cortical centers are the motor of the personal development of an individual. Moreover, this is the basic pattern of cortical physiological basis ("blueprint") for optimal development structure, the individual in the course of his existence ideally learns increasingly align on emotional and cognitive processes.

In my opinion an example of the plasticity of the connection between the physical and the mental level lies in the considerations of the self-theory of METZINGER (2008), in particular the embedding of experiments with mirrors in patients with missing parts of the body of RAMACHANDRAN (1996) about handling and disposal of phantom pain.

Note: In spiritual terms can be set up the theory that man has completed his development as a person, when he brought his mentioned processes at all levels (physiologic, emotional, mental) in line, so he's the ordinary people of his determination to become.

The "I" is itself part of the physiologically based process and therefore not necessary for a decision. The thinking and feelings are not only influenced by physiological processes, but also reflect the same cortical processes at other levels on same locality. The intra physically processing of the environment is the motor or the "blueprint" for the mental processing of the experience in the same, overlapping centers of the cortex. In still other words, man is distinguished from animals not by a unique decision-making center, but only by the occurrence of anyway physiological processes in addition to a different level as a cognitive process.

Heuristic algorithms

In order to describe the nature of the information gathering and processing between the organism and the external world, the concept of heuristic algorhythmy fits in my opinion best on the part of the organism: Heuristic, because the organism thus proceeds with the art of getting probable statements or practical solutions with limited knowledge and little time: "..mit begrenztem Wissen und wenig Zeit [...] zu wahrscheinlichen Aussagen oder praktikablen Lösungen zu kommen" (GIGERENZER, G. & TODD, P.M., 1999, cited in Wikipedia).
Algorhythms because the organism also has clear rules of action based on finitely many, well-defined individual steps, "endlich vielen, wohldefinierten Einzelschritten" (ROGERS, H. Jr., 1971, cited in Wikipedia), Based on the processes at least in primary brain centers, as well as in the following steps of processing in subordinate centers (e.g., visual system: first detection of electromagnetic waves, then further processing in specific brain regions for visual object recognition). Here, however, is meant not only the sensorimotor processing, but all the "input" of the body, both through exoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm developed organs. Each organ has its own specific algorithm; Heuristic is the further processing in the following centers as well as their interaction.
In the artificial separation between physical and psychical processes here, I would assign unique algorhythms to the body on the physical plane alone; Heuristically, I would describe the processes both psychologically and (for the most part) on a physical level. The permanent processes of an algorhythmic kind are, in my opinion, the main structural element in the heuristic of mental processing and the relationship between the two levels: the permanent "experience" of the body thus offers the psyche the framework, the basis and orientation for the change of psychical structures and thus new experiences in qualitative aspects that overcome a meta-level (and retracting lasting and circulating behavioral patterns).

Multiple representation of the body in different brain-levels

graphical display of convergent and divergent representation
in the brain

This model now is the solution of the above considerations. It is assumed that in the context of the staging cognitive information flow the entire body is represented in multiple cases in brain areas, the type of image can be classified under different aspects: in the aspect above in functional representation at the level of the cortex and in somatotopic representation in the insular cortex.
The representation in the cortex is functional in principle: there are, for example, the sensory organs located in their functions, but not their place or spatial extent. In contrast, the empirical results of the insular research related to the localization of physical entities related to the spatial location in the body.
An internal organ (which will be specifically discussed here), such as the stomach is thus represented twice: once as a physical organ in spatial relation to total body set in the insular cortex, and once in his capacity as manufacturing organ in relation to the functions of other parts of the body. In empirical tests organs are therefore ideally at the same time displayed on a specific place in the insular cortex and at a specific location in the cerebrum.

When considering empirical work on the autonomic nervous system, a multiple representation attracts attention on a number of levels in the brain. Concerning not only the cortex and the island cortex, but also other regions within to switching cores (BENARROCH,1997, P. 29 - 60). This now leads here to the assumption, that all of the information passing through the body, can be characterized in their representation in two ways; the algorhythms of information processing are fundamentally different: in divergent representation and in convergent representation

Divergent at the level of the cerebral cortex in the sense of obtaining the great possible variety of information, the production of a myriad of detail to achieve the greatest possible freedom of action in the environment. Convergent at the level of the midbrain and limbic system, to reach an efficient bundling, reduction of information to a few, preferably overarching entities. Significant in the preparation of the organism to fast reactions, e.g. the activation of the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system at the level of the hypothalamus, supported by the secretion of hormones. Or the long-term storage of only major source of environmental information through the activity of the hippocampus. At the level of the brainstem certainly by maintaining homeostatic physical basis functions such as breathing.

Distinction to insular cortex

I believe that the properties of the insular cortex awarded more like general, overlapping nature and that it is not this a region of the detection of primary or secondary information of the internal organs. OTT sees in the anterior insula cortex a meta-representation of the perceived body (2010, p 47). He refers in particular to research results for Vipassana meditation technique, that one can be felt certain regions of the body internally, as well as elaborations by CRAIG (including 2009). One part of the technique of Vipassana is to feel internal spatial structures, where meditators migrate systematically through the body with attention (OTT, 2010, p 65).
CRAIG (2009) sees in the anterior insular cortex a place that provides a neurological substrate for consciousness.

But in the thesis presented here it was sought after centers for certain organs, basically independent of localized place.
The empirical results for the island cortex can also be interpreted quite differently: First of all, the posterior part of the insular cortex is connected via afferent connections, the laminar I thalomocortical pathway, with physically deeper structures. FARB (2013) sees in the posterior insular cortex a primary interoceptive cortex, who regulates visceral functions, e.g. the respiratory rate and the perception of pain. He sees from posterior direction anterior a gradient from interoceptive to exteroceptive representation. The anterior insular cortex thus connects representations of the external world with internal physiological states, which are represented posteriorly. He is credited with connecting afferent physiological signals with higher-quality information embedded in an overall context.

Studies of pain perception are, in my opinion, not so clearly interpretable: whereas BROOKS et al (2005) show a somatotopic representation of pain perception in the posterior insular cortex, it is distributed in posterior and anterior regions in HENDERSON et al (2007). In a study by TSAKIRIS et al (2007) to a "rubber hand illusion", where a subject does not really move his hand, but the feeling of it is generated, was resulted by an activation of the central insula.

In my opinion, the insula is a place that maps the entire body three-dimensionally, in the spatial position of the individual organs to each other. As an evolutionary "by-product", a rudimentary, physiological self-image emerges, which is used in consciousness research. It may be the cortical locality for a neural representative and functional basis for the formation of a self-image according to METZINGER (2008).

Examination of the prefrontal cortex

In the literature the predominant allocation of mental processes is found to the prefrontal cortex . On closer inspection, this assignment can be differentiated: process-oriented with regard to different mental functions and locality-oriented about differences within the prefrontal cortex.

Comprehensive concepts that affect the prefrontal cortex: "executive-control-network", "decision-making", "Cascade model" of information processing and "default mode network"

According to GLÄSCHER et al (12), executive control includes response inhibition, conflict monitoring and switching, localized in the dorsolateral prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex; decision making is then considered as value based and is attributed to orbitofrontal, ventromedial and frontopolar cortex (p. 14681). br />
In so-called "networks" cross-brain activity patterns, CRAIG (09) describes an "executiv-control" network, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

CHRISTOFF (11) explains the medial prefrontal cortex as part of the "default-mode" network, which describes a resting state of brain's inactivity. According to ANDREWS-HANNA et al (10), this network includes the posterior cingulate cortex, the anterior medial prefrontal cortex and the medial temporal lobe. As a function, this resting network is said to be active whenever the individual is inactive (that is, in "default"). Also, with self-related mental tasks as well as empathize somebody ("theory of mind"). According to ANDREWS-HANNA, this network consists of two opposing subsystems: a component along the center of the brain for more spontaneous decisions and a temporal component for memory-based decisions.

CHRISTOFF & GABRIELI (00) distinguish between externally generated information in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and internally generated information in the frontopolar cortex. They assume a three-stage model of prefrontal organization, which results from posterior to anterior an increasing overlap and thus complexity of the information-processing: first ventrolateral a simple repetition and recall of information, then dorsolateral the same plus a control and change of external generated information, finally frontopolar the two processes described plus a control and change of internal generated information.

In another study describes CHRISTOFF et al (09) from posterior to anterior an increasing tendency of the information processing under the aspect of "cognitive control" toward abstractness of information, more precisely: from ventrolateral above dorsolateral to rostrolateral.
Similarly, BADRE (08) assumes a "cascade model" of a representational hierarchy in the field of cognitive control along an axis from rostral to caudal: the highest abstractness, generalization takes place as "branching control" rostral, while at the opposite pole a special action execution "sensory control" is planned caudally.

DOMENECH & KOECHLIN (15) assume 2 different adaptive assessment systems (and neurological pathways) of decision-making: an experience- and memory-based system, which due to probabilities selects a suitable action from a (small) number of action perspectives, and an "online" system, which creates and practices new action alternatives. While the first path should run medial ("medial inference track", from ventromedial to dorsomedial prefrontal cortex), the latter should run lateral ("lateral inference track", from frontopolar to premotor cortex) (p.103).

For the region of the ventromedial (orbitofrontal) cortex, REISCHIES (2002) sees a connection both to emotions and to internal neural correlates: "Besonders der mediale orbitofrontale [...] Kortex bilden eine Zwischenstation zu Hirnstammkernen, die vegetative und affektive Funktionen erfüllen" (S. 91) (Especially the medial orbitofrontal cortex forms an intermediate station to brainstem nuclei, which fulfill vegetative and affective functions).

Last but not least, for the concept of the "theory of mind", the reflecting of the feelings of others, SALLET et al (13) see a locality in the anterior dorsal frontal cortex (p. 12255). <

Reconciliation between models of explanation from empirically generated data and the nowhere presented theory of overlapping physical algorhythms of the organs How can the empirical findings be integrated into a system that describes psychological correlations as a level that should be seen in interaction with an underlying level of networks of physical information?
An explanation might be to attribute a processing of the highest complexity to a primary center of the processing of external information of internal organs: The greatest abundance of external information reaches, first of all, unfiltered primarily into a cortical center, in the highest abstract physical information, that is, As pure chemical information (analogous to the electromagnetic wave information of a primary visual center or the frequencies of the sound pressure in an auditory primary center), which is "objectized" only in subsequent centers - using cortical information that has already been stored in an inactive and focussing way into the inner "world".
Transferred to a model of a pre-arranged process structure of physical flows of cortical information results in the most abstract psychological Information processing at frontopolar locality, which is presumably in the origin a primary center of internal organs. Specifically, the thesis can be put forward, that the primary center of stomach activity is located at the frontopolar position (stomach as the center of an endoderm digestive function) at anterior cortical position - And thus the most external, most intelligible, sense-information of the visual, as opposed to the deepest, most unconscious point of digestive activity. Intermediate, medial, mesodermic centers, whose processes are both partially consciously accessible and external information are not directly preserved (e.g., the skeletal muscle system).

How can the empirical findings for psychic correlation be inserted here? A cascade model with time-delayed activity in a particular locality could be explained as a sequence of primary information flow passing through subsequent centers, as well abstractness versus concrete object-relatedness. For illustration: even in visual centers, the greatest wealth of information and abstractness should be present in the unfiltered information flow of electromagnetic oscillations in the primary center. Visual objects, on the other hand, should have been constructed in subsequent centers and reduced from the input abundance with the help of mnestic functions.

Interesting is the frequently occurring attempt to explain 2 different paths of information processing in the prefrontal cortex. According to the theory presented here it would have exactly 2 such type: on the one hand, the path of "producing" from primary information to subsequent information processing, and on the other, a special endoderm path of downstream processing in downstream organs (e.g., from stomach to liver). The latter would probably be the phylogenetically older processing path, possibly traceable down to the single-cell level. The former, on the other hand, is likely to be a phylogenetically more modern, possibly specifically human achievement, and thus a diverse use of endoderm information.

From this I would like to conclude that somewhere in the area of the frontopolar cortex the primary center of the stomach (as the central station of the digestive activity and the beginning of a subsequent processing in subsequent organs) is located. Subsequent digestive organs are therefore arranged posteriorly medially; subsequent centers of secondary (and tertiary) type are arranged posterior in lateral direction. These relatively banal algorhythms of endogenous cognitive physical information processing then represent the basis, direction and structure of psychic processing on a different level of consideration by same locality. However, it is contrary to the general human self-image not to place mental processes at the center of cognitions, but to present them as something subordinate, cognitive in a greater context.

Empirical derivation of cortical centers of internal organs

An empirical evidence of cortical centers of the internal organs is certainly very difficult. One possibility could be the comparison of data derived from imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fRMI) of groups of people with previously identified defects of certain organs. The abnormalities also have within each group of people be homogeneous as possible. In addition, the size of the population must be, based on the expected variance by above uncertainties, as high as possible.

Enabling alternative diagnostic methods of body

The assumption of a theory of the localization of all the internal and external organs on the cortex level means in consequence, that the whole body is represented in various operation in the cerebrum. This interfers the option of developing new diagnostic methods: the simultaneous and preferably precise acquisition of all physical localizations of the individual body organs in the cortex, detected over a kind of hood with the aid of a powerful portable computer. Longitudinal section can be detected then the deviations of an individual image of a person cortex from an average of a certain population in comparison to a unit of time, possibly in addition, under certain situational conditions.
Then could be detected for example more the dysfunction of an organ instead of a "dys-anatomy", a somatic abnormality in a visual imaging across reaper-making process. Or possibly psychosomatic links in the cortex under situational stress conditions, or vice versa, the neurophysiological evidence of effectiveness as body-oriented psychotherapy. The process would, once established, easy to handle, easy to use and acts as a supplement for example to CT and also to fMRT.

Affentranger Thomas (2006): "Ambguität, Ambivalenz und Aporie: Neue methodische Paradigmen zur Neuropsychologie der Frontallappen." Cuivillier-Verlag, Göttingen.
Andrews-Hanna, Jessica et al (2010): "Functional-anatomic fractionation of the brain's default network". In: Neuron 65, P. 550 - 562, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Badre, David (2008): "Cognitive control, hierarchy, and the rostro-caudal organization of the frontal lobes." In: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol.12, No.5, P. 193 - 200, Elsevier.
Bear, Mark F., Connors, Barry W. & Paradiso, Michael A. (2009): "Neurowissenschaften. Ein grundlegendes Lehrbuch für Biologie, Medizin und Psychologie." Spektrum akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg.
Benarroch, Eduardo E. (1997): "Central autonomic network: functional organization and clinical correlations." Futura Publ., Armonk, NY.
Bennett, Maxwell & Hacker, Peter (2010), "Die philosophischen Grundlagen der Neurowissenschaften". WBG, Darmstadt.
Birbaumer, Nils & Schmidt, Robert F. (2006): "Biologische Psychologie." Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.
Brooks, J.C. et al (2005): "Somatotopic organisation of the human insula to painful heat studied with high resolution functional imaging." Neuroimage. Aug 2005, Vol. 27, P. 201 - 209.
Craig, A.D. (Bud) (2009): "How do you feel - now? The anterior insula and human awareness." In: Nature reviews. Neuroscience. Jan 2009, Vol. 10, P. 59 - 70.
Christoff, Kalina et al (2009): "Prefrontal organization of cognitive control according to levels of abstraction." In: Brain Research, Vol. 1286, P. 94 - 105.
Christoff, Kalina et al (2011): "The role of spontaneous thought in human cognition." In: "Neuroscience of decision making", Vartanian & Mandel (Edit.), Psychology Press, New York, P. 259 - 284.
Christoff, Kalina & Gabrieli, John (2000): "The frontopolar cortex and human cognition: Evidence for a rostrocaudal hierarchical organization within the human prefrontal cortex." In: Psychobiology, Vol. 28 (2), P. 168 - 186.
Domasio, Antonio (2009): "Ich fühle, also bin ich. Die Entschlüsselung des Bewusstseins." List-Verlag, Berlin.
Domasio, Antonio (2014): "Descartes' Irrtum. Fühlen, Denken und das menschliche Gehirn." List-Verlag, Munich.
Domenech, Philippe & Koechlin, Etienne (2015): "Executive control and decision-making in the prefrontal cortex". In: Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 1, P. 101 - 106.
Farb, Norman, et al (2013): "Attentional modulation of primary interoceptive and exteroceptive cortices." Cerebral Cortex, Oxford Univ Press, 114 - 126.
Fuster, Joaquin (2009): "The prefrontal cortex: anatomy, physiology, and neuropsychology of the frontal lobe." 4th Edition, Amsterdam, Elsevier.
Gläscher, Jan et al (2012): "Lesion mapping of cognitive control and value-based decision making in the prefrontal cortex." In: PNAS Vol. 109, S. 14681 - 14686.
Henderson, L.A. et al (2007): "Somatotopic organization of the processing of muscle and cutaneous pain in the left and right insula cortex: A single-trial fMRI study. Pain, Vol. 128, March 2007, P. 20 - 30.
Karnath, Hans-Otto & Thier, Peter (2006): "Neuropsychologie." Springer Verlag, Heidelberg.
Lurija, Alexander R. (1992): "Das Gehirn in Aktion. Einführung in die Neuropsychologie". Rowohlt, Reinbek.
Marr, David (1982): "Vision. A computational investigation into the human representation and processing of visual information." Freeman and Company, San Francisco.
Metzinger, Thomas (2008): "Empirical perspectives from the self-model theory of subjectivity: a brief summary with examples." In: Progress in Brain Research, Vol 168. Elsevier.
Ott, Ulrich (2010): "Meditation für Skeptiker." O.W.Barth, München.
Ramachandran, Vilayanur S. (1995): "Anosognosia in parietal lobe syndrom." Consciousness Cogn 4, P. 22 - 51. >br /> Ramachandran, Vilayanur S. & Rogers-Ramachandran, Diane (1996): "Synaestesia in phantom limbs induced with mirrors." Proc. R. Soc. London. B, P. 377 - 368.
Reischies, F.M.: "Psychopathologie des Frontalhirns." In: "Frontalhirn", Förstl (Hrsg.), P. 89 - 108. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg.
Sallet, Jerome et al (2013): "The organization of dorsal frontal cortex in humans and macaques." Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 33, S. 12255 - 12274.
Starzak, Tobias (2015): "Kognition bei Menschen und Tieren." Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin.
Stephan, Achim, Walter, Sven (2013): "Handbuch Kognitionswissenschaft." Metzler und Poeschel, Stuttgart.
Thompson, Evan (2007): "Mind in Life" Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
Tsakiris, Manos et al (2007): "Neural signatures of body ownership: A sensory network for bodily self-consciousness." Cerebral Cortex, Vol. 17, Oktober 2007, P. 2235 - 2244.
Varela, Francisco J., Thompson, Evan, Rosch, Eleanor (1995): "Der mittlere Weg der Erkenntis. Der Brückenschlag zwischen wissenschaftlicher Theorie und menschlicher Erfahrung." Goldmann, München.

Home     Home - english version     Holistic "reflective" science     Meditation     Ethics and meditation     "Physiological communication" through food     Contact