When someone goes under, their cognition and brain activity continue, but consciousness gets shut down. For example, it has been shown that rats can ‘remember’ odor experiences while under general anesthesia. This is why anesthesiologists, like the University of Arizona’s Stuart Hameroff, are so fascinated by the whole thing.
“Anesthetics are fairly selective, erasing consciousness while sparing non-conscious brain activity,” Hameroff told io9. “So the precise mechanism of anesthetic action should point to the mechanism for consciousness.”
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