We had a discussion earlier on what consciousness is, and started to think about how it can be quantified. But perhaps something more tangible is understanding how to… control it? This study in 2014 showed that by stimulating the brain of a patient close to the claustrum (region of the brain), consciousness seemingly can be controlled! The woman in the study “appeared confused and was unable to respond/process any information” when the electrode was on, but “had absolutely no idea that anything happened” when the electrode was turned off. What’s perhaps more interesting is that her movement and speech abilities apparently remained intact, but her ‘human’ awareness was just switched off with the electrode.
While this information is exciting, I think we should take caution before rushing to conclusions. For starters, the sample size was one person. Also, the woman was 54 with a history of seizures and even previous brain tissue operations. Hopefully with further experiments, the mystery of consciousness can be further unraveled!