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Awareness

Awareness

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Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects
Object (philosophy)
An object in philosophy is a technical term often used in contrast to the term subject. Consciousness is a state of cognition that includes the subject, which can never be doubted as only it can be the one who doubts, and some object or objects that may or may not have real existence without...

 or sensory pattern
Pattern
A pattern, from the French patron, is a type of theme of recurring events or objects, sometimes referred to as elements of a set of objects.These elements repeat in a predictable manner...

s. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding
Understanding
Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object....

. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human's or an animal's perception
Perception
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

 and cognitive reaction to a condition or event.

Concept


Awareness is a relative concept
Concept
The word concept is used in ordinary language as well as in almost all academic disciplines. Particularly in philosophy, psychology and cognitive sciences the term is much used and much discussed. WordNet defines concept: "conception, construct ". However, the meaning of the term concept is much...

. An animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

 may be partially aware, may be subconscious
Subconscious
The term subconscious is used in many different contexts and has no single or precise definition. This greatly limits its significance as a definition-bearing concept, and in consequence the word tends to be avoided in academic and scientific settings....

ly aware, or may be acutely aware of an event. Awareness may be focused on an internal state, such as a visceral feeling, or on external events by way of sensory perception. Awareness provides the raw material from which animals develop qualia
Qualia
Qualia , singular "quale" , from a Latin word meaning for "what sort" or "what kind," is a term used in philosophy to refer to subjective conscious experiences as 'raw feels'. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, the experience of taking a recreational drug, or the...

, or subjective
Subjectivity
Subjectivity refers to the subject and his or her perspective, feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term is usually contrasted with objectivity.-Qualia:...

 idea
Idea
In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational images; i.e. images of some object. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear as images...

s about their experience
Experience
Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event....

.

Also used to distinguish sensory perception is the word "awarement." "Awarement" is the established form of awareness. Once one has accomplished their sense of awareness they have come to terms with awarement.

Self-awareness


Popular ideas about consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

 suggest the phenomenon describes a condition of being aware of one's awareness or, self-awareness
Self-awareness
Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to reconcile oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals...

. Efforts to describe consciousness in neurological terms have focused on describing networks in the brain
Brain
The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few primitive invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, sea squirts and starfishes do not have one. It is located in the head, usually close to primary sensory apparatus such as vision, hearing,...

 that develop awareness of the qualia
Qualia
Qualia , singular "quale" , from a Latin word meaning for "what sort" or "what kind," is a term used in philosophy to refer to subjective conscious experiences as 'raw feels'. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, the experience of taking a recreational drug, or the...

 developed by other networks.

Neuroscience


Neural systems that regulate attention
Attention
Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....

 serve to attenuate awareness among complex animals whose central
Central nervous system
The central nervous system is the part of the nervous system that integrates the information that it receives from, and coordinates the activity of, all parts of the bodies of bilaterian animals—that is, all multicellular animals except sponges and radially symmetric animals such as jellyfish...

 and peripheral nervous system
Peripheral nervous system
The peripheral nervous system consists of the nerves and ganglia outside of the brain and spinal cord. The main function of the PNS is to connect the central nervous system to the limbs and organs. Unlike the CNS, the PNS is not protected by the bone of spine and skull, or by the blood–brain...

 provides more information than cognitive
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

 areas of the brain can assimilate. Within an attenuated system of awareness, a mind
Mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

 might be aware of much more than is being contemplated in a focused extended consciousness
Extended consciousness
In biological psychology, extended consciousness is an animal's autobiographical self-perception.Extended consciousness is said to arise in the brain of animals with substantial capacity for memory and reason. It does not necessarily require language...

.

Basic awareness


Basic awareness of one's internal and external world depends on the brain stem
Brain stem
In vertebrate anatomy the brainstem is the posterior part of the brain, adjoining and structurally continuous with the spinal cord. The brain stem provides the main motor and sensory innervation to the face and neck via the cranial nerves...

. Bjorn Merker, an independent neuroscientist in Stockholm, Sweden, argues that the brain stem supports an elementary form of conscious thought in infants with hydranencephaly
Hydranencephaly
Hydranencephaly, synonym hydroanencephaly, is a type of cephalic disorder.These disorders are congenital conditions that derive from either damage to, or abnormal development of, the fetal nervous system in the earliest stages of development in utero...

. "Higher" forms of awareness including self-awareness
Self-awareness
Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to reconcile oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals...

 require cortical contributions, but "primary consciousness" or "basic awareness" as an ability to integrate sensations from the environment with one's immediate goals and feelings in order to guide behavior, springs from the brain stem which human beings share with most of the vertebrates. Psychologist Carroll Izard
Carroll Izard
Carroll Ellis Izard is an American psychologist known for his contributions to Differential Emotions Theory , and the Maximally Discriminative Affect Coding System...

 emphasizes that this form of primary consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

 consists of the capacity to generate emotions and an awareness of one's surroundings, but not an ability to talk about what one has experienced. In the same way, people can become conscious of a feeling that they can't label or describe, a phenomenon that's especially common in pre-verbal infants.

Due to this discovery medical definitions of brain death
Brain death
Brain death is the irreversible end of all brain activity due to total necrosis of the cerebral neurons following loss of brain oxygenation. It should not be confused with a persistent vegetative state...

 as a lack of cortical activity face a serious challenge.

Basic interests


Down the brain stem lie interconnected regions that regulate the direction of eye
Human eye
The human eye is an organ which reacts to light for several purposes. As a conscious sense organ, the eye allows vision. Rod and cone cells in the retina allow conscious light perception and vision including color differentiation and the perception of depth...

 gaze and organize decisions about what to do next, such as reaching for a piece of food or pursuing a potential mate.

Changes in awareness


The ability to consciously detect an image when presented at near-threshold stimulus varies across presentations. One factor is "baseline shifts" due to top down attention that modulates ongoing brain activity in sensory cortex areas that affects the neural processing of subsequent perceptual judgments. Such top down biasing can occur through two distinct processes: an attention driven baseline shift in the alpha wave
Alpha wave
Alpha waves are neural oscillations in the frequency range of 8–12 Hz arising from synchronous and coherent electrical activity of thalamic pacemaker cells in humans...

s, and a decision bias reflected in gamma wave
Gamma wave
A gamma wave is a pattern of neural oscillation in humans with a frequency between 25 to 100 Hz, though 40 Hz is prototypical.According to a popular theory, gamma waves may be implicated in creating the unity of conscious perception...

s.

Living systems view


Outside of neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

 biologists, Humberto Maturana
Humberto Maturana
Humberto Maturana is a Chilean biologist and philosopher. He is considered a member of the second wave of cybernetics, known for developing a theory of autopoiesis about the nature of reflexive feedback control in living systems.- Biography :After completing secondary school at the Liceo Manuel de...

 and Francisco Varela
Francisco Varela
Francisco Javier Varela García , was a Chilean biologist, philosopher and neuroscientist who, together with his teacher Humberto Maturana, is best known for introducing the concept of autopoiesis to biology.-Biography:...

 contributed their Santiago theory of cognition
Santiago Theory of Cognition
Biologists, Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela contributed their Santiago theory of cognition in which they wrote:Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition...

 in which they wrote:
Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition. This statement is valid for all organisms, with or without a nervous system.


This theory contributes a perspective that cognition is a process present at organic levels that we don't usually consider to be aware. Given the possible relationship between awareness and cognition
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

, and consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

, this theory contributes an interesting perspective in the philosophical and scientific dialogue of awareness and living systems theory.

Communications and information systems


Awareness is also a concept used in Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW. Its definition has not yet reached a consensus in the scientific community in this general expression.

However, context awareness
Context awareness
Context awareness is defined complementary to location awareness. Whereas location may serve as a determinant for resident processes, context may be applied more flexibly with mobile computing with any moving entities, especially with bearers of smart communicators...

and location awareness
Location awareness
Location awareness refers to devices that can passively or actively determine their location. Navigational instruments provide location coordinates for vessels and vehicles. Surveying equipment identifies location with respect to a well-known locationa wireless communications device...

are concepts of large importance especially for AAA (authentication
Authentication
Authentication is the act of confirming the truth of an attribute of a datum or entity...

, authorization
Authorization
Authorization is the function of specifying access rights to resources, which is related to information security and computer security in general and to access control in particular. More formally, "to authorize" is to define access policy...

, accounting) applications.

The composed term of location awareness still is gaining momentum with the growth of ubiquitous computing. First defined with networked work positions (network location awareness
NLA
The three-letter acronym NLA can refer to:* Boeing New Large Airplane, a defunct airplane project* National Language Authority, a regulatory institution of Urdu language in Pakistan...

), it has been extended to mobile phones and other mobile communicable entities. The term covers a common interest in whereabouts of remote entities, especially individuals and their cohesion in operation.

The composed term of context awareness is a superset including the concept of location awareness. It extends the awareness to context features of operational target as well as to context or (?) and context of operational area.

Covert awareness



Covert awareness is the knowledge of something without knowing it. Some patients with specific brain damage
Brain damage
"Brain damage" or "brain injury" is the destruction or degeneration of brain cells. Brain injuries occur due to a wide range of internal and external factors...

 are for example unable to tell if a pencil is horizontal or vertical. They are however able to grab the pencil, using the correct orientation of the hand and wrist. This condition implies that some of the knowledge the mind possesses is delivered through alternate channels than conscious intent.

Other uses


Awareness forms a basic concept of the theory and practice of Gestalt therapy
Gestalt therapy
Gestalt therapy is an existential/experiential form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility, and that focuses upon the individual's experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person's life, and the self-regulating...

.

In general, "awareness" may also refer to public or common knowledge or understanding about a social, scientific, or political issue, and hence many movements try to foster "awareness" of a given subject. Examples include AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 awareness and Multicultural awareness.

Awareness may refer to Anesthesia awareness
Anesthesia awareness
Anesthesia awareness, or unintended intra-operative awareness occurs during general anesthesia, on the operating table, when the patient has not been given enough of the general anesthetic or analgesic to render the patient unconscious during general anesthesia...

.

See also

  • Choiceless awareness
    Choiceless awareness
    Choiceless Awareness is posited in philosophy, psychology, and spirituality to be the state of unpremeditated, complete awareness of the present without preference, effort, or compulsion. The term was popularized in mid-20th-century by Jiddu Krishnamurti, in whose philosophy it signifies a main theme...

  • Feldenkrais method
    Feldenkrais method
    The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic educational system designed by Moshé Feldenkrais . The Feldenkrais method aims to improve movement repertoire, aiming to expand and refine the use of the self through awareness, in order to reduce pain or limitations in movement, and promote general well-being...

  • Indefinite monism
    Indefinite monism
    Indefinite Monism is a philosophical conception of reality that asserts that only Awareness is real and that the wholeness of Reality can be conceptually thought of in terms of immanent and transcendent aspects...

  • Philosophy of mind
    Philosophy of mind
    Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

  • Reflexive Self-Consciousness
    Reflexive self-consciousness
    Reflexive self-consciousness is a concept, related to that of enlightenment, formulated by Eugene Halliday during the 1940s-1950s in England....

  • Yoga Nidra
    Yoga Nidra
    Yoga-nidra or "yogi sleep" is a sleep-like state which yogis report to experience during their meditations.The practice of yoga relaxation has been found to reduce tension and anxiety. The autonomic symptoms of high anxiety such as headache, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations, sweating, abdominal...


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