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Emily Alspector's picture

Mind=corollary discharge?

So I acidentally just closed out my post before I posted so I'll try and remember everything I had said.

I think it's really interesting our discussion has led to phantom limbs. I am currently doing a project for my senior seminar, and the concept of corollary discharge is, on the contrary, not really discussed in much detail. According to wikipedia, corollary discharge "refers to the ability to differentiate one's own movements and responses to external motor events." One of the leading theories behind phantom limbs was introduced by Ronald Melzack, and is based on our genetically pre-wired awareness of ownership of our limbs and other body parts (phantom sensations have been seen in sexual organs as well). What is interesting is how this relates to I-function and the mind (or spirit, soul, what have you). Is this feedback system all that accounts for our mind? It seems unlikely, but plausible. Also, there is a similar disorder known as somatoparaphrenia where the patient rejects ownership of a body part; it would be interesting to see where corollary discharge plays a role in such cases.

We also discussed a central pattern generator and the reafferent loop, which I still don't completely understand in terms of inputs and outputs. In class Professor Grobstein made the point that the nervous system is both cause and effect, so is the loop just the mechanism behind this idea?


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