Farisco M, Kotaleski JH, Evers K
Front Psychol 9 (-) 585 [2018-04-24; online 2018-04-24]
Modeling and simulations have gained a leading position in contemporary attempts to describe, explain, and quantitatively predict the human brain's operations. Computer models are highly sophisticated tools developed to achieve an integrated knowledge of the brain with the aim of overcoming the actual fragmentation resulting from different neuroscientific approaches. In this paper we investigate the plausibility of simulation technologies for emulation of consciousness and the potential clinical impact of large-scale brain simulation on the assessment and care of disorders of consciousness (DOCs), e.g., Coma, Vegetative State/Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome, Minimally Conscious State. Notwithstanding their technical limitations, we suggest that simulation technologies may offer new solutions to old practical problems, particularly in clinical contexts. We take DOCs as an illustrative case, arguing that the simulation of neural correlates of consciousness is potentially useful for improving treatments of patients with DOCs.