Can humans perceive their brain states?

Boris Kotchoubey, Andrea Kübler, Ute Strehl, Herta Flor, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although the brain enables us to perceive the external world and our body, it remains unknown whether brain processes themselves can be perceived. Brain tissue does not have receptors for its own activity. However, the ability of humans to acquire self-control of brain processes indicates that the perception of these processes may also be achieved by learning. In this study patients learned to control low-frequency components of their EEG: the so-called slow cortical potentials (SCPs). In particular "probe" sessions, the patients estimated the quality of the SCP shift they had produced in the preceding trial. The correspondence between the recorded SCP amplitudes and the subjective estimates increased with training. The ability to perceive the SCPs was related to the ability to control them; this perception was not mediated by peripheral variables such as changes in muscle tonus and cannot be reduced to simple vigilance monitoring. These data provide evidence that humans can learn to perceive the neural activity of their brain. Alternative interpretations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-113
Number of pages16
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Fingerprint

Aptitude
Brain
Muscle Tonus
Electroencephalography
Learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

Kotchoubey, B., Kübler, A., Strehl, U., Flor, H., & Birbaumer, N. (2002). Can humans perceive their brain states? Consciousness and Cognition, 11(1), 98-113. https://doi.org/10.1006/ccog.2001.0535

Can humans perceive their brain states? / Kotchoubey, Boris; Kübler, Andrea; Strehl, Ute; Flor, Herta; Birbaumer, Niels.

In: Consciousness and Cognition, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2002, p. 98-113.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kotchoubey, B, Kübler, A, Strehl, U, Flor, H & Birbaumer, N 2002, 'Can humans perceive their brain states?', Consciousness and Cognition, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 98-113. https://doi.org/10.1006/ccog.2001.0535
Kotchoubey B, Kübler A, Strehl U, Flor H, Birbaumer N. Can humans perceive their brain states? Consciousness and Cognition. 2002;11(1):98-113. https://doi.org/10.1006/ccog.2001.0535
Kotchoubey, Boris ; Kübler, Andrea ; Strehl, Ute ; Flor, Herta ; Birbaumer, Niels. / Can humans perceive their brain states?. In: Consciousness and Cognition. 2002 ; Vol. 11, No. 1. pp. 98-113.
@article{4b3f1434e6384b3fab25c32e0d779c57,
title = "Can humans perceive their brain states?",
abstract = "Although the brain enables us to perceive the external world and our body, it remains unknown whether brain processes themselves can be perceived. Brain tissue does not have receptors for its own activity. However, the ability of humans to acquire self-control of brain processes indicates that the perception of these processes may also be achieved by learning. In this study patients learned to control low-frequency components of their EEG: the so-called slow cortical potentials (SCPs). In particular {"}probe{"} sessions, the patients estimated the quality of the SCP shift they had produced in the preceding trial. The correspondence between the recorded SCP amplitudes and the subjective estimates increased with training. The ability to perceive the SCPs was related to the ability to control them; this perception was not mediated by peripheral variables such as changes in muscle tonus and cannot be reduced to simple vigilance monitoring. These data provide evidence that humans can learn to perceive the neural activity of their brain. Alternative interpretations are discussed.",
author = "Boris Kotchoubey and Andrea K{\"u}bler and Ute Strehl and Herta Flor and Niels Birbaumer",
year = "2002",
doi = "10.1006/ccog.2001.0535",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
pages = "98--113",
journal = "Consciousness and Cognition",
issn = "1053-8100",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Can humans perceive their brain states?

AU - Kotchoubey, Boris

AU - Kübler, Andrea

AU - Strehl, Ute

AU - Flor, Herta

AU - Birbaumer, Niels

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - Although the brain enables us to perceive the external world and our body, it remains unknown whether brain processes themselves can be perceived. Brain tissue does not have receptors for its own activity. However, the ability of humans to acquire self-control of brain processes indicates that the perception of these processes may also be achieved by learning. In this study patients learned to control low-frequency components of their EEG: the so-called slow cortical potentials (SCPs). In particular "probe" sessions, the patients estimated the quality of the SCP shift they had produced in the preceding trial. The correspondence between the recorded SCP amplitudes and the subjective estimates increased with training. The ability to perceive the SCPs was related to the ability to control them; this perception was not mediated by peripheral variables such as changes in muscle tonus and cannot be reduced to simple vigilance monitoring. These data provide evidence that humans can learn to perceive the neural activity of their brain. Alternative interpretations are discussed.

AB - Although the brain enables us to perceive the external world and our body, it remains unknown whether brain processes themselves can be perceived. Brain tissue does not have receptors for its own activity. However, the ability of humans to acquire self-control of brain processes indicates that the perception of these processes may also be achieved by learning. In this study patients learned to control low-frequency components of their EEG: the so-called slow cortical potentials (SCPs). In particular "probe" sessions, the patients estimated the quality of the SCP shift they had produced in the preceding trial. The correspondence between the recorded SCP amplitudes and the subjective estimates increased with training. The ability to perceive the SCPs was related to the ability to control them; this perception was not mediated by peripheral variables such as changes in muscle tonus and cannot be reduced to simple vigilance monitoring. These data provide evidence that humans can learn to perceive the neural activity of their brain. Alternative interpretations are discussed.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0036197918&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0036197918&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1006/ccog.2001.0535

DO - 10.1006/ccog.2001.0535

M3 - Article

C2 - 11883990

AN - SCOPUS:0036197918

VL - 11

SP - 98

EP - 113

JO - Consciousness and Cognition

JF - Consciousness and Cognition

SN - 1053-8100

IS - 1

ER -