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Philosophers who consider subjective experience the essence of consciousness also generally believe, as a correlate, that the existence and nature of animal consciousness can never rigorously be known. He said that an organism is conscious “if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism-something it is like for the organism”; and he argued that no matter how much we know about an animal’s brain and behavior, we can never really put ourselves into the mind of the animal and experience its world in the way it does itself. There is substantial evidence that a “top-down” flow of neural activity (i.e., activity propagating from the frontal cortex to sensory areas) is more predictive of conscious awareness than a “bottom-up” flow of activity. Their reliability as indicators of consciousness is disputed, however, due to numerous studies showing that alert human subjects can be induced to behave purposefully in a variety of ways in spite of reporting a complete lack of awareness. However, this test can be used only to detect, but not refute the existence of consciousness. However, it remains unspecified which kinds of information are integrated in a conscious manner and which kinds can be integrated without consciousness.
Attention is a style of information processing in which a brain focuses its resources on a limited set of interrelated signals. In How Hiring and Training Your Sales Team Works, we discussed focusing on what gets the attention of the type of employee you are trying to hire. This indicates that, in the primary visual areas, changes in firing rates and synchrony can be considered as neural correlates of qualia-at least for some type of qualia. It create massive positive changes through replacing old thought patterns with new and desirable behavior. In the research group of Danko Nikolić it has been shown that some of the changes in the subjectively perceived brightness correlated with the modulation of firing rates while others correlated with the modulation of neural synchrony. The authors argue that, while their model identifies a key relationship between computation and phenomenology, it does not completely solve the hard problem of consciousness or completely close the explanatory gap. In 2017, work by David Rudrauf and colleagues, including Karl Friston, applied the active inference paradigm to consciousness, a model of how sensory data is integrated with priors in a process of projective transformation. Thomas Henry Huxley defends in an essay titled On the Hypothesis that Animals are Automata, and its History an epiphenomenalist theory of consciousness according to which consciousness is a causally inert effect of neural activity-“as the steam-whistle which accompanies the work of a locomotive engine is without influence upon its machinery”.