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By themselves, mesencephalic subcortical mechanisms provide a preattentive kind of consciousness, related to stimulus-related, short-latency dopamine release triggered by collicular input. Elaborate forms of consciousness, containing identifiable objects (visual, auditory, tactile, or chemical), imply longer-lasting phenomena that depend on the activation of prosencephalic networks. Nevertheless, the maintenance of these higher-level networks strongly depends on long-lasting mesencephalic dopamine release.