Food firms hijacking brains + Consciousness not needed for emotions - coma patients

Food firms may face litigation over neuromarketing to hijack brains

EXCERPT: Leading obesity experts are considering litigation against the food industry in the light of emerging research suggesting that junk food marketing could hijack a child’s brain. Neuromarketing is of growing interest to food companies. Fast food, soft drinks and snack companies increasingly interact with children through social media and online games. Some are beginning to probe further, gathering information through brain scans about how unconscious decisions are made to eat one snack rather than another and targeting people’s susceptibilities. A report on food neuromarketing to children [...] predicted “an explosive rise in new tactics targeted especially at young people”. [...] Research has also shown that it is possible to train people’s brains to prefer one food over another....


Consciousness not needed for emotions: Coma patients might feel pleasure & pain

EXCERPT: [...] Recent developments in cognitive science provides empirical evidence that the unconscious brain is able to perform almost all the activities that we (wrongly) think are exclusive to conscious beings. [...] The very idea that consciousness is not a requirement for feeling emotions opens up a minefield of questions for how best to treat unconscious people [...] who despite their unconscious state might still feel pleasure and pain. [...]

[...] Coma patients are characterized as having a complete absence of both wakefulness and awareness, meaning they lack both vigilance and ability to consciously process information. [...] Today we know more about what happens in the brain of patients with these disorders, and this growing knowledge has at least two very positive effects: Better therapeutic protocols and a better description of what consciousness actually is.

But the existing protocols are limited as they focus only on residual consciousness while ignoring possible residual unconscious abilities, meaning that clinicians usually test the patients to check whether they are able to consciously perceive something while the ability to unconsciously process information is completely ignored.

An emblematic case is the development of new tools to potentially communicate with patients suffering from disorders of consciousness.[...] The result is that one of the most intimate phenomenon that exists, consciousness, is literally externalized, meaning it is detectable and visible to other people around the patient. [...]

[...] At the conceptual level, new models of consciousness are now being developed. One of these, called the Intrinsic Consciousness Theory, includes elements from both philosophy and neuroscience and describes consciousness as a continuum. With this model, it is difficult to draw a sharp definition between an unconscious mind and a conscious one.

[...] Recent research shows that the unconscious is able to correlate information, associate meaning, reason quickly, develop complex computations, selectively focus on information, and to make complex inferences. They can make decisions to act based on information gathered from their surroundings, and evaluate their experiences, and demonstrate goal-directed behavior.


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