There is a hidden piece of information embedded in the article in ‘Live Science’, “New Record for Human Brain: Fastest Time to See and Image,” by Tanya Lewis on January 17, 2014 that is even more incredible than the incredible information that this article is about -That it takes only 13 milliseconds for a person to identify an image flashed for 13-80 milliseconds, a 100 milliseconds faster than previously believed. “These studies demonstrate that the information only needs to flow in one direction, from the retina to the visual brain areas, in order to identify concepts, without needing feedback from other brain areas.” 

This article actually highlights the most important brain function of all - the incredible efficiency of top-down cortical processing of consciousness. Brain mappings for images and concepts can be activated in just 13 milliseconds. This shows us that the billions of connected neuronal pathways of cortical mappings can create symbolic form with just 13 milliseconds of visual information. What’s even more dramatic is that the brain activation doesn’t just stop in the visual areas. It immediately spreads to the rest of the architecture of the cortex, the associated brain areas, with the same speed.

Our top-down cortical consciousness of everyday life is organized as a play in the theater of the brain. We have then, within milliseconds of sensory information, the activation of personas, their feeling relatedness together, scenarios, plots, set designs, and a landscape. How remarkable is the brain’s creation and activation of consciousness?

Robert A Berezin, MD is the author of “Psychotherapy of Character, The Play of Consciousness in the Theater of the Brain”

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