What Is Mind — Views Based on Neuroscience
Early researchers sought the “location” of consciousness in the brain, but they didn't get far because they lacked the necessary equipment and methods to study brain activities. It appears that their approach was also misguided. Virtually all psychologists and neuroscientists now agree that mind and consciousness have a purely physical basis in the brain. They take the form of neural pathways, that is, intricately interconnected networks of neurons that vary in their activity levels in accord with the kind of mental activity that is occurring.
Brain imaging is, of course, the means by which theorists and researchers have arrived at this conclusion. The phenomal experience of the mind, which means the subjective and personal experience that occurs when you think about things or engage in other conscious processes, has neural correlates in the electrochemical processes of the brain and its many billions of neurons. “Neural network theory,” which attempts to pull together mental events with corresponding brain activity, has a long way to go in presenting a coherent picture of mind and conscious processes. One problem is achieving the necessary level of resolution, as noted earlier; fMRI, for example, as yet can only look at bundles of hundreds of thousands of neurons at a time. But the basis is a sound one and most agree that a coherent picture will eventually emerge.
So mind and consciousness are the constant hum of neural activity that becomes discernible during the prenatal period and continues uninterrupted until you die. Soul is another matter. If you equate soul with mind, then death brings a halt to soul as well. But if you separate soul as some special kind of matter that exists beyond brain activity — as Descartes did — then soul in some form might live on.