• the Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences


Review Article

Exp Neurobiol 2012; 21(3): 113-122

Published online September 30, 2012

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Messages from the Brain Connectivity Regarding Neural Correlates of Consciousness

Seung-Hyun Jin1,3,4 and Chun Kee Chung1,2,3,4*

1Department of Neurosurgery, Seoul National University Hospital, 2Department of Neurosurgery, Seoul National University Hospital and Seoul National University College of Medicine, 3Neuroscience Research Institute, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, 4Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul 110-744, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-2-2072-2352, FAX: 82-2-744-8459


Consciousness has become a legitimate theme of neuroscientific discourse over the last two decades. Neuroscientific investigation seeking neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) has ranged from the neuronal level to the system level. Regarding system level studies, there is a large body of evidence supporting the idea that functional connectivity studies can help in examining NCC. Functional connectivity studies have suggested the involvement of the thalamo-cortical, frontoparietal, and other cortico-cortical connectivity under anesthetic-induced unconsciousness and in disorders of consciousness. Likewise, effective connectivity has been used to investigate the causal interactions among elements of functional connectivity in various consciousness states, and provided a deeper understanding of NCC. Moreover, as an extended version of connectivity studies, complex network methods have also been used for studies on NCC. In this review, we focused on the aspect of the brain system level of NCC including functional and effective connectivity networks from methodological perspectives. In addition, as for states of consciousness, anesthetic-induced unconsciousness and disorders of consciousness are the main subjects. This review discusses what we have learned from recent studies about the exploration of human brain connectivity on consciousness and its neural correlates.

Keywords: consciousness, neural correlates of consciousness, functional and effective connectivity, brain network