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Theoretical and experimental studies show that critical systems often exhibit optimal computational properties, suggesting the possibility that criticality has been evolutionarily selected as a useful trait for our nervous system. Evidence for criticality has been found in cell cultures, brain slices, and anesthetized animals. Yet, inconsistent results were reported for recordings in awake animals and humans, and current results point to open questions about the exact nature and mechanism of criticality, as well as its functional role. Therefore, the criticality hypothesis has remained a controversial proposition.
Consciousness is an emergent property arising from the self-organization of concurrently active but spatially distributed regions of the brain; there is no central organizer and no unique location where it comes into existence. Quote from Susan Greenfield, professor at Oxford University: Consciousness is spatially multiple yet effectively single at any one time. It is an emergent property of non-specialized and divergent groups of neurons (gesalts) that is continuously variable.