Salience in cognitive science

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Salience in cognitive science

Postby Maarten2 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:32 am

I thought there would be an interesting relation between the concept of saliency in cognitive science and the concept of a consciousness in Buddhism.

When attention deployment is driven by salient stimuli, it is considered to be bottom-up, memory-free, and reactive. Attention can also be guided by top-down, memory-dependent, or anticipatory mechanisms, such as when looking ahead of moving objects or sideways before crossing streets. Humans and other animals have difficulty paying attention to more than one item simultaneously, so they are faced with the challenge of continuously integrating and prioritizing different bottom-up and top-down influences.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salience_(neuroscience)

Could it be that mindfulness is the same as prioritizing bottom-up influences?
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Re: Salience in cognitive science

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:55 pm

Maarten2 wrote:I thought there would be an interesting relation between the concept of saliency in cognitive science and the concept of a consciousness in Buddhism.

When attention deployment is driven by salient stimuli, it is considered to be bottom-up, memory-free, and reactive. Attention can also be guided by top-down, memory-dependent, or anticipatory mechanisms, such as when looking ahead of moving objects or sideways before crossing streets. Humans and other animals have difficulty paying attention to more than one item simultaneously, so they are faced with the challenge of continuously integrating and prioritizing different bottom-up and top-down influences.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salience_(neuroscience)

Could it be that mindfulness is the same as prioritizing bottom-up influences?

Doubtful, more like the top-down as mindfulness is memory.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Salience in cognitive science

Postby daverupa » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:28 pm

There are other models of consciousness which may be more useful: dynamic core hypothesis, global neuronal workspace model, & time-locked multiregional retroactivation (this one in particular offers interesting directions of inquiry in terms of understanding sati), to name a few.

Have a look here for a good introduction.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Salience in cognitive science

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:15 am

Hi Dave

Thanks for bringing scholarpedia to my knowledge!

be well :)

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Re: Salience in cognitive science

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:11 pm

Is there any known link to quantum mechanics, to the brain?
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Re: Salience in cognitive science

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:22 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Is there any known link to quantum mechanics, to the brain?

It comes up here fairly regularly (search "quantum site:dhammawheel.com" and you get 300 results) but the answer seems to be "no".
It's a pity, really, because it is such an attractive idea ...

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Re: Salience in cognitive science

Postby suttametta » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:41 pm

Maarten2 wrote:I thought there would be an interesting relation between the concept of saliency in cognitive science and the concept of a consciousness in Buddhism.

When attention deployment is driven by salient stimuli, it is considered to be bottom-up, memory-free, and reactive. Attention can also be guided by top-down, memory-dependent, or anticipatory mechanisms, such as when looking ahead of moving objects or sideways before crossing streets. Humans and other animals have difficulty paying attention to more than one item simultaneously, so they are faced with the challenge of continuously integrating and prioritizing different bottom-up and top-down influences.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salience_(neuroscience)

Could it be that mindfulness is the same as prioritizing bottom-up influences?


Absolutely yes, for the Arhat, as in Buddha's instructions in the Bahiya Sutta: "With reference to the seen there will only be the seen." This is really "unmindfulness." Remembering not to churn up the memories and fantasies.
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Re: Salience in cognitive science

Postby rowboat » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:26 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:Is there any known link to quantum mechanics, to the brain?

It comes up here fairly regularly (search "quantum site:dhammawheel.com" and you get 300 results) but the answer seems to be "no".
It's a pity, really, because it is such an attractive idea ...

:namaste:
Kim


Hi RYB, Kim,

Roger Penrose implies there may in fact be a link worth investigating:

Abstract: Brain action is both physically controlled and beyond computational simulation. Accordingly, there is a strong case for examining brain organization in a way that specifically seeks out structures in the brain that might plausibly support such putative non-computational action at the ill-understood borderline between quantum and classical physics. Thus, we must seek out structures in the brain where the actual physics that operates at this level could plausibly have important influence on brain action. This is the basis of the Orch-OR model that Stuart Hameroff and I have been proposing, and which he describes in the foregoing article. The case is strongly put forward that the neuronal microtubules play a key role in the required quantum/classical borderline activities which might have an essential relevance to the phenomenon of consciousness. The exploration of such deeper level of neuronal structure and function is very much a continuation of the line of work so wonderfully initiated by Cajal.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... edMessage=

To investigate this subject further I'd suggest one search under the terms "consciousness" and "non-locality".
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It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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