I am thinking about the relationship of corollary discharges to the I-function, which we defined in class as the "box" where consciousness exists. What got me started on this was when we said that when the eye muscle(s) moved, a corollary discharge signal was sent back from the muscle which said, "*I* moved." The sensory neurons in and around the eye were what said, "You moved." Somewhere in the brain, the two pieces of information combined and a decision was made that the eye had actually been moved. As the case of the person with carsickness shows, the two stories told might have conflicted. Here the person would have felt an "*awareness*" of discomfort or nausea--depending, we conjectured, on how involved the I-function is. The two starred words above are emphasized because they so strikingly relate to our definition for the I- function. The corollary discharges that come together with sensory input somewhere in the brain could even be part of the I-function.

I'm sure the actual process is more complicated than what I have described, but I will go ahead anyway with a few conjectures about the mental aspects of corollary discharge that have grown from my thinking about the physical aspects. What is memory? I do not imagine that memory of a fact or event is stored passively until needed, like the information on a computer's disk. Instead I imagine it as potentials circulating in loops over and over again where it is stored and dispatched when needed. When you remember something you have done, wouldn't there be an accompanying corollary discharge to say "I remembered that," "I did that," or "I thought that," or else how would you be aware that it is a memory? The same would apply to thoughts. Right away you can differentiate a thought you are having as being your own or someone else's, because something (the corollary discharge?) says, "I thought that-- as far as I know, the content of the thought did not come from the memory part of my brain but the thinking part." So maybe corollary discharges are used within the brain as signals about the state of the mind it directs. If this is not at least a part of the I-function, then I am still mystified as to where to begin describing it.

All along in our class you have been saying, "How do we know that the cricket (or another animal) does not have an I-function?" Well, the cricket has corollary discharges just like we do to tell it what is going on in its body. It can probably also combine its sensory input and corollary discharges as its activities are normally highly coordinated with its environment. The cricket can have an awareness of itself through its corollary discharges, which may or may not include its thoughts and memories just because of the limited size and capabilities of its brain. How much different, though, is this "primitive" I-function from ours? We have the luxury of being able to analyze and comprehend through our I-function, but without corollary discharges it would seem that crickets and humans would be on equal ground--without the physical (and mental?) awareness that the I-function depends on.

Very interesting thoughts, anticipating directions we will (I think) be moving. Indeed, corollary discharges can well be thought of as signals from the nervous system to the nervous system about its own state ... and, in this sense, might well help us to make sense of the "I-function". At the same time, the "I" of "watch out, I moved the eyes" isn't quite the same "I" as the one in "I saw that" or "I am going to walk". In fact, the first "I" probably shouldn't have been used; it was my way of describing dramatically what is instead simply action potentials from an eye-movement CPG going to some area of the brain that also gets action potentials from the eye. So the referent for "I" in that case would simply be the CPG, whereas "I" refers in common speech to something more global. Crickets and humans ARE on the same ground with respect to corollary discharge; they both have and use it. And CD could certainly play a role in the "I-function" but maybe there's something more needed? Which humans have (judging from our own experience), and crickets might or might not have? PG