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Medical EM fields: a plausible correlate of consciousness?

  1. Nov 17, 2005 #1
    http://www.surrey.ac.uk/qe/pdfs/cemi_theory_paper.pdf

    I approached this initially with extreme skepticism, especially since it seemed impossible considering the myriad em fields we're immersed in without any perceptible effect on our consciousness, but I ultimately walked away viewing this hypothesis as an actual contender, and one of the most interesting at that. Unfortunately, I can't really be confident in my impression. Hopefully you all can help me determine the plausibility of this thing.

    lates,
    cotarded.
    edit: deleted uncertainty concerning ability of brain to be nonresponsive to powerful magnetic fields such as MRI but sensitive to it's own endogenous fields of far lesser magnitude, after thinking about transcranial magnetic stimulation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2005 #2
    It's probably taboo to reply to your own posts, but I hope I will earn a special dispensation since it provides a sort of back-of-the-movie peek into the idea to help potential readers decide whether they're up for reading the whole 28 pages (well, 25 if you don't count the references, and it's damn well worth it).

    The reason I personally find this so compelling is three-fold:
    1. First and foremost, it would resolve the conscious/unconscious serial/parallel dichotomies elegantly, explaining unconscious parallel activity through neuron systems, and conscious serial activity through interactions of the field generated by the whole of the brain (biased strongly towards areas that exhibit synchrony - maybe an evolved way of passing information to the "processor") with specialized, field sensitive groups of neurons.
    2. It's a correlate that doesn't portray consciousness as a epiphenomenon, a byproduct without effect on the system. (although sometimes I feel that my own consciousness is much like that - if it does have control, it's the type that is described in this paper, a very slight sort of tuning or bias effect, no hands on calculation or deduction)
    3. It's vague enough to cater to idle and farfetched armchair neuroscience on my behalf :). But really, with his mention of studies showing how em fields have influenced (and not insubstantially either) LTP in vivo, my imagination is set racing, thinking up elegant (mistaking oversimplification for intrinsic simplicity ;) ) explanations for problems like memory which seemed intractable to me before.

    Example Conjecture:
    The idea of encoding through a localized system a headspace that is repersented by the state of many discrete neuronal systems seemed totally absurd - it didn't make sense to me that it'd be localized (and it seems to be, with the hippocampus at least playing a role in the encoding, if not the final storage). Wouldn't you have to disrupt the system, or incorporate overcomplicated and bulky monitoring systems, to transfer its value to the encoding region? I had given the idea of non-local LTP the benefit of a doubt, but I couldn't reconcile it with the hippocampus' necessity. But with EM fields, it all makes sense to me. There is the so-called "inverse problem" with trying to derive the source of EEG input: there are a multitude of possible arrangements of smaller fields of different magnitudes that could sum to the final field. It seems possible to me that neurons in the hippocampus (which the paper claims as an aside have structure conducive to em sensitivity) could encode a repersentation of the current EM field, instead of some summarization of the state of the constituent circuits. Later by somehow generating a copy of the field, the neurons that generated the original field would resonate and that state of mind would be recalled. The fact that multiple inputs could generate the same field, has a converse that is equally correct, would be consistent with how some memories create alot of interference, evoking unrelated thought processes and other memories.
    Of course that whole idea is riddled with holes. And it's far from parsimonious concerning the final mention of memory conflict (which is more simply explained in the context of a neural network). And how does one regenerate the field? Maybe the inverse problem's complications in this context could be resolved with a combination of distributed LTP and EM regeneration. It also isn't consistent with many cases of hippocampal damage causing only anterograde memory loss.
    Maybe through some synthesis of these concepts (neural network type memory vs. em resonance) there's a viable idea... or maybe not.

    lates,
    cotarded.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2005
  4. Nov 19, 2005 #3

    somasimple

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    hmmm,

    there is electrical fields in brain since there is free ions moved/stuck around neurons membranes. But there is no clue/fact showing how consciousness will be enabled by such fields.

    Some years ago Sir John Eccles, a Nobel prized, said that emeotions where nonmaterial because a friend told him that quantum physics made the thing possible. mind/brain split again! But I prefer the Occam chainsaw.
     
  5. Nov 19, 2005 #4
    "But there is no clue/fact showing how consciousness will be enabled by such fields."
    Note I posted to a paper that cited a number of in vivo studies to further its point, as opposed to a homepage for someone's unfounded speculation. Not to be short, but obviously you haven't read the paper and I find it somewhat irritating that without doing so you dismiss the idea. As I said earlier, I was far more skeptical before reading than after; he makes a compelling case. As far as Occam's chainsaw goes, this theory actually simplifies some matters as opposed to being overcomplex.

    To reiterate, I didn't come on here just asking for an offhand opinion on the question posed in the title, I was asking what you all thought of the paper which manages to make a case for it.

    lates,
    cotarded.
     
  6. Nov 20, 2005 #5
    Risking your ire, since I also haven't read the paper you linked to, I just want to say that if we start out with the premise that whatever is happening, physically, in the brain is somehow adding up to consciousness, then the dynamics of the constantly fluctuating tiny EM fields there have to be where we should first look. I'm glad you're exited about this. I don't think enough people are.

    (I apologize for not having read the paper. I still haven't gotten to something hypnagogue wanted me to read a while ago about the study of consciousness.)
     
  7. Nov 21, 2005 #6

    somasimple

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    Cotarded,
    Before I gave my response I read the paper but it didn't change my opinion.

    nothing new there

    • information is stored.
    • neurons creates em while firing.
    • some neural networks work in synchronous way via gap junctions.
    • does actually an artificial recorded em field will create an emotion, just no!
    • em activity is a reflexion of firing cells. (bidirectional)

    http://www.somasimple.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1127
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...ed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=1502142&query_hl=6
     
  8. Nov 21, 2005 #7

    Q_Goest

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    Very quick question

    Just skimming through the paper right now. Had a quick question.
    On page 31 under "C. The cemi field theory of consciousness", McFadden says:
    Is this to say that it might be possible for all the information one is aware of (ie: all the information needed for the phenomenon of unity) is available in the EM field to all neurons? Or is this simply saying the field has a characteristic shape or configuration in which the information is spread out and related to the local action of the neurons? In other words, is the em field in the brain analogous to an em field created by a TV or radio station in which all information is present in the entire field, or is each bit of information in the field localized to the individual neurons?
     
  9. Nov 21, 2005 #8

    -Job-

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    I think this idea has potential (get it? potential? :smile: ), i've read the first 14 pages and looking forward to the discussion.
    I liked it the first time i heard of it because it provides a mechanism under which all the components of the human brain can come together with minimum delay. I liked the idea of having different sequences of neuron firing generating similar cemi fields, and the correlation between awareness and synchronous firing seems to be strong based on the given evidence. It also makes sense, synchronous firing really should generate much stronger EM fields because of wave interference. On the other hand i think this requires some neurons to be pretty sensitive to EM variations, i dont know if it's enough to have only already depolarized/hyperpolarized neurons be sensitive to these variations because it implies that these neurons have already been pre-stimulated, either excited or inhibited, leading me to think that the cemi field has only the ability to induce already likely neuron firing (which might well happen without impact of the EM field).
    In my opinion, another thing that goes against this theory is thermal noise. I think the author realized this and made some attempts of minimizing the effects of thermal noise, and at one point these attempts are somewhat contradictory. For example in the beginning he argues that, generally, variations in the brain's endogenous EM field are of a higher magnitude than those produced by thermal noise. Later on, in his evidence he cites how some neurons from some animals are extremely sensitive to very small electric field variatios. Of this he says:
    ... which, in my opinion, is kind of a weak argument. There's also the possible problem of thermal noise wave interference which i would think has the potential of generating some significant variations in the brain's EM field, though i may be wrong there.

    I find that the EM field certainly must have an effect on brain activity, which may very well be the framework for consciousness, but i think the author is too anxious to make that claim in a somewhat early stage. He talks about the CEMI field as containing the same information as the neurons themselves which is not unreasonable, but of course, it leaves the problem of consciousness the same. I need to see what he says in the discussion.
     
  10. Nov 21, 2005 #9

    -Job-

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    Generally, the only significant EM variations come from synchronous firing which can effect some EM field variations within a pretty big radius. Because of EM wave interference, it's impossible to determine which neurons are responsible for the EM field at any given time. This would be non-localization, especially since many such processes and chain reactions may spread and move these fluctuations around quite a bit.
    So even though the information within neurons is present within the cemi field, i don't see how the brain can make sense of it, or put it to use in a non-random manner.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2005
  11. Nov 23, 2005 #10
    cemi field theory

    hi
    david kindly invited me to respond to comments on the forum re' the cemi field theory.

    if we accept that consciousness is a product of brain activity then it must have some kind of physical substrate. proposing that the substrate is the matter of the brain immediately leads to the problem of understanding how discrete lumps of matter (neurons) can give rise to a unified conscious experience (the famous binding problem). But neural firing creates an em field that encodes precisely the same info as in the neurons. but unlike matter, fields are unified, so there is no binding problem.
    accepting that awareness is located in the brain's em field not only solves the binding problem but it explains why synchronous firing is so strongly correlated with consciousness.
    It is also allows consciousness brain activity to be mechanistically distinct from unconscious activity
    and it proposes that conscious minds possess an extra capability - field information processing - lacking in unconcious minds. McClennan and others have demonstrated that information processing through fields has many of the capabilities of quantum computing:
    http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/fieldcomp.html

    In answer to some criticisms posted by somasimple:
    NOTHING NEW THERE

    INFORMATION IS STORED.
    NEURONS CREATES EM WHILE FIRING.
    SOME NEURAL NETWORKS WORK IN SYNCHRONOUS WAY VIA GAP JUNCTIONS.
    DOES ACTUALLY AN ARTIFICIAL RECORDED EM FIELD WILL CREATE AN EMOTION, JUST NO!
    EM ACTIVITY IS A REFLEXION OF FIRING CELLS. (BIDIRECTIONAL)

    first, the theory that awareness is located in the brain's em field is new, as is the proposal that the brain's em field is a component of neural computing (for conscious brain activity).
    I don't consider gap juntions as being essential to the process
    the question of what an artificial field 'feels' is philosophy not science. since it can't communicate we can't know. the only fields that have sufficient complexity to encode complex information (such as language) and are capable of communicating (because they have access to a motor system) are those made by human brains.
    I agree with the last point. there is bidirectional communication between the neurons and the cemi field.

    you can find more info at my website:
    http://www.surrey.ac.uk/qe/cemi.htm
    where you can download my two published papers on the cemi field theory

    johnjoe
     
  12. Nov 23, 2005 #11

    Moonbear

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    I haven't read the paper yet...just haven't had time, but I don't understand what this "binding problem" is that you refer to? There are vast neural networks within the brain, and communication occurs over long distances via synapses, gap junctions, and diffusible signals. Why would someone think consciousness would be restricted to just single neurons? And how would something as generalized as an EM field be able to convey any sort of useful information?
     
  13. Nov 24, 2005 #12

    somasimple

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    Johnjoe,
    I read again the paper and have some comments to add.
    Certainly my first response was imprecise and didn't take the full aspect of the paper.
    Electric field: the resting potential of a neuron is around -70mv and the membrane thickness around 50 nm => the E field is then around 1,400,000 Vm-1. It creates a very good immunity to noises of every kind.
    Of course, a field may ne perturbed by another one and I agree that cemi field may smooths the brain activity.
    I agree also to the fact that a cemi field amplitude may reflect awareness since it's a result of a synchronous firing. It is for sure integrated but not distributed, IMHO.
    Not distributed because the strength of the electric field and the nature of action potential (ionic flows). I believe to gap junctions since they are known and found as the synchronisers of brain activity. Rejecting this valuable information (more than 50% of brain connections are gap junctions) is your point of view that I can't understand at the moment.
    I will careffuly read the papers ans site taht you cited but already found some words I couldn't take/agree!
    Just no!
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2005
  14. Nov 24, 2005 #13

    somasimple

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    Prog Brain Res. 2005;149:41-57.
    Connexon connexions in the thalamocortical system.

    Cruikshank SJ, Landisman CE, Mancilla JG, Connors BW.

    Department of Neuroscience, Division of Biology & Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.

    Electrical synapses are composed of gap junction channels that interconnect neurons. They occur throughout the mammalian brain, although this has been appreciated only recently. Gap junction channels, which are made of proteins called connexins, allow ionic current and small organic molecules to pass directly between cells, usually with symmetrical ease. Here we review evidence that electrical synapses are a major feature of the inhibitory circuitry in the thalamocortical system. In the neocortex, pairs of neighboring inhibitory interneurons are often electrically coupled, and these electrical connections are remarkably specific. To date, there is evidence that five distinct subtypes of inhibitory interneurons in the cortex make electrical interconnections selectively with interneurons of the same subtype. Excitatory neurons (i.e., pyramidal and spiny stellate cells) of the mature cortex do not appear to make electrical synapses. Within the thalamus, electrical coupling is observed in the reticular nucleus, which is composed entirely of GABAergic neurons. Some pairs of inhibitory neurons in the cortex and reticular thalamus have mixed synaptic connections: chemical (GABAergic) inhibitory synapses operating in parallel with electrical synapses. Inhibitory neurons of the thalamus and cortex express the gap junction protein connexin36 (Cx36), and knocking out its gene abolishes nearly all of their electrical synapses. The electrical synapses of the thalamocortical system are strong enough to mediate robust interactions between inhibitory neurons. When pairs or groups of electrically coupled cells are excited by synaptic input, receptor agonists, or injected current, they typically display strong synchrony of both subthreshold voltage fluctuations and spikes. For example, activating metabotropic glutamate receptors on coupled pairs of cortical interneurons or on thalamic reticular neurons can induce rhythmic action potentials that are synchronized with millisecond precision. Electrical synapses offer a uniquely fast, bidirectional mechanism for coordinating local neural activity. Their widespread distribution in the thalamocortical system suggests that they serve myriad functions. We are far from a complete understanding of those functions, but recent experiments suggest that electrical synapses help to coordinate the temporal and spatial features of various forms of neural activity.

    PMID: 16226575 [PubMed - in process]
     
  15. Nov 24, 2005 #14
  16. Nov 24, 2005 #15
    cemi and gap junction

    i have no problem with gap junctions being involved in neural actiivty and indeed being one of the routes by which the cemi field might influence neural firing. I just don't think they are necessary. All neurons are depolarised (and thereby fire) through the opening (and closing) of voltage-gated ion channels in their membranes. These ion channels will inevitably be sensitive the surrounding EM field. Although that influnce will generally be weak compared to the synaptic input, when the neurons are already close to the firing threshold, then the surrounding em field may provide an extra push or pull towards or against firing. As William James described it more than a century ago "if consciousness can load the dice, can exert a constant pressure in the right direction, can feel what nerve processes are leading to the goal, can reinforce and strengthen these & at the same time inhibit those that threaten to lead astray, why, consciousness will be of invaluable service”.

    Gap junctions are unlikely to be necessary for consciousness. The connexin-36 (Cx36) knock-out (KO) mouse (Guldenagel et al., 2001; Buhl et al., 2003) lacks gap junctions but “showed no obvious behavioural abnormalities” (Guldenagel et al., 2001). Although the question of whether mice are conscious is obviously a matter of conjecture i find it hard to believe that a function for gap jucntions in man could be completely lacking in mice.
    This finding, by the way, poses major problems for the microtubule-based quantum theories of consciosuness since they propose that quantum mechanical coherence between neurons is maintained through microtubules connecting via gap junctions.

    johnjoe
     
  17. Nov 24, 2005 #16
    cemi and the binding problem

    The binding problem, from my first paper

    "As Valerie Hardcastle (Hardcastle, 1994) put it, “given what we know about the segregated nature of the brain and the relative absence of multi-modal association areas in the cortex, how [do] conscious percepts become unified into single perceptual units?” Considering, as an example, the experience of a visualising a complex scene. Information from the retina is processed by independent groups of neurones in the retina and visual cortex specialised to detect, colour, orientation, movement, texture, shape, etc. These groups of neurones are located in distinct areas of the cortex so that the information describing each item is smeared over a large area of the visual cortex. As described above, there is considerable evidence that the neurones that recognise aspects of a single object that is the subject of selective attention, such as an apple, fire synchronously. At a neuronal level, the information representing the apple will therefore be represented as a particular pattern, or assembly, of (synchronous) neurone firing. The problem is to understand how the (simultaneous firing) of a cluster of physically separated neurones could give rise to the single unified sensation of seeing an apple. John Searle (Searle, 1980) noted that neuronal-level information could be realised by “a sequence of water pipes, or a set of wind-machines” and questioned whether the unity of perception could be maintained within a system connected by water or airflow. If not, what is special about electrochemical fluctuation travelling at 100 metres per second between neurones that is able to maintain that unity? " ...

    as another way of considering the problem, it is often imagined that the complexity of the brain could be simulated by some other complex system - say the the entire population of China. Again, from my paper:

    "Each Chinese person exchanges information with many hundreds or thousands of other Chinese via vibrations in air (speech) together with messages encoded on paper, electronically and visually. The entire population of China is therefore engaged in processing huge amounts of information concerning the ‘body’ of China and its environment, that is functionally similar (if not equivalent) to that performed within a human brain. Yet there is of course no evidence of any ‘higher-level consciousness’ for the population of China and it would be preposterous to propose that there are any qualia associated with the entire Chinese nation. In the cemi field theory the absence of qualia is entirely explained because the information that is being exchanged within the Chinese population is discrete and scattered amongst the many carriers of information. There is no higher-level field representation where information is integrated to generate awareness."

    The entire population of China might be able to perform complex computations but the information would not be bound so there would be nothing to correspond to our conscious awareness. No one would "know" what was bing computed. But imagine instead that they were using mobile (cellular) phones for their communication. Then the information they transmit would indeed be bound into a unified physcial system - the em fields that transmit their phone signals. If awarness was located in that field then that field would "know" what was being computed.

    In passing, this analysis also explains why digital computers aren't conscious. Like the entire population of China, or the unconscious neural brain (not considering the EM field), the processed information incomputers is scattered amongst a billion circuits. It never gets unified. If we wanted to make a conscious machine, we would have to process information in fields.

    johnjoe
     
  18. Nov 24, 2005 #17

    somasimple

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    Johnjoe,

    You're coming to my side with your example.
    Gap junctions are water pipes for sure!
    And I do not understand why you're rejecting the key issue of the riddle.

    BTW, we aren't speaking about free will but only awareness. A mouse is aware and consciousness is not limited to human brains. :cool:
    Some people think/thought that we were superior but I'm convinced that often we are just evil animals, unconscious of the bad we create and share!
     
  19. Nov 24, 2005 #18

    Q_Goest

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    Johnjoe, thanks for stopping by. I just finished reading your first paper, will read the follow up paper shortly. Just a few questions to start off with,

    - What is the conventional view of the EM field in the brain? Is this field generally considered a byproduct of the neurons' activity, or only something slightly more?

    - I'd like to know if you're suggesting that the em field within the brain contains the information we use for conscious experience everywhere within the brain analogous to a television or radio em field, or if the information within the field is local to each neuron. Trying to understand your paper, it seems as if you're suggesting the em field, regardless of where it is within the brain, contains all the information we are consciously aware of, though I'm not sure I understand if you're also suggesting that it contains ONLY the information we're aware of. Can you please elaborate on what information the em field holds and if all information is contained at all points or if the information within the field is local to each neuron. If you can also point out what experimental evidence there is for your conclusion, that would be great!

    - On page 33, you say: "Interestingly, in Freeman's studies the em field contour maps were shown to correlate, not only with the identity of a particular odour, but with its meaning to the animal."
    Could you elaborate? When I think of contour maps I think of a 2 dimensional sheet but a map of the brain must be 3 dimensional. What are these contour maps a map of? And what did the maps say about the odour having meaning?

    - Toward the end of page 39 you mention something which looks like the Libet's delay: "For instance, consciousness will be associated with only the later phases of evoked responses (+250 msec), when em field disturbances have reached sufficient amplitude to influence neuron firing." Are you suggesting something to do with the Libet's delay? Can you please expand?

    Thanks again for your time.
     
  20. Nov 25, 2005 #19
    cemi field theory

    In response to Q_Ghest's questions

    - WHAT IS THE CONVENTIONAL VIEW OF THE EM FIELD IN THE BRAIN? IS THIS FIELD GENERALLY CONSIDERED A BYPRODUCT OF THE NEURONS' ACTIVITY, OR ONLY SOMETHING SLIGHTLY MORE?

    Most neurobiologists take the view that the brain's em field is purely a product of neural firing with no relevance to its function. However, it is generally admitted that, the em field may play a role in some circumstances, such as epilepsy where an excess of synchronisation generates big EM field distrurbances in the brain.

    - I'D LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU'RE SUGGESTING THAT THE EM FIELD WITHIN THE BRAIN CONTAINS THE INFORMATION WE USE FOR CONSCIOUS EXPERIENCE EVERYWHERE WITHIN THE BRAIN ANALOGOUS TO A TELEVISION OR RADIO EM FIELD, OR IF THE INFORMATION WITHIN THE FIELD IS LOCAL TO EACH NEURON. TRYING TO UNDERSTAND YOUR PAPER, IT SEEMS AS IF YOU'RE SUGGESTING THE EM FIELD, REGARDLESS OF WHERE IT IS WITHIN THE BRAIN, CONTAINS ALL THE INFORMATION WE ARE CONSCIOUSLY AWARE OF, THOUGH I'M NOT SURE I UNDERSTAND IF YOU'RE ALSO SUGGESTING THAT IT CONTAINS ONLY THE INFORMATION WE'RE AWARE OF. CAN YOU PLEASE ELABORATE ON WHAT INFORMATION THE EM FIELD HOLDS AND IF ALL INFORMATION IS CONTAINED AT ALL POINTS OR IF THE INFORMATION WITHIN THE FIELD IS LOCAL TO EACH NEURON. IF YOU CAN ALSO POINT OUT WHAT EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE THERE IS FOR YOUR CONCLUSION, THAT WOULD BE GREAT!

    Here I have to rely on my biologist's imperfect understanding of EM fields (or indeed any field). As i understand things, the information in em fields is delocalised so that the entire informational content of an em field can be downloaded from any point in the field - radio antenae surely make use of this property. You could even follow Einstein in taking an imaginary ride on a photon in the brain. Because it travels at the speed of light, it is everywhere in the brain at the same instant of time. So, from the reference point of a photon in the brain’s em field (if there is such a reference point) there is no time or space between any of the information in that field – it is unified with the same level of unity as a single photon (but packed with information). Now if awareness is located in that photon then the photon would be ‘aware’ of all the information that it is causally connected to. But not all of that information may be downloaded to neurons. And only that informational component of the brain’s em field that is able to affect neural firing patterns can communicate. So reportable consciousness will be limited to the informational content of the brain’s em field that influences neural firing patterns.
    There is experimental evidence that em fields influence brain activity – from the use of TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) to change behaviour. The fields generated by TMS are similar in magnitude to endogenous fields so if the TMS fields can change behaviour then so can the endogenous fields.

    - ON PAGE 33, YOU SAY: "INTERESTINGLY, IN FREEMAN'S STUDIES THE EM FIELD CONTOUR MAPS WERE SHOWN TO CORRELATE, NOT ONLY WITH THE IDENTITY OF A PARTICULAR ODOUR, BUT WITH ITS MEANING TO THE ANIMAL."
    COULD YOU ELABORATE? WHEN I THINK OF CONTOUR MAPS I THINK OF A 2 DIMENSIONAL SHEET BUT A MAP OF THE BRAIN MUST BE 3 DIMENSIONAL. WHAT ARE THESE CONTOUR MAPS A MAP OF? AND WHAT DID THE MAPS SAY ABOUT THE ODOUR HAVING MEANING?

    Firstly the maps are simply three dimensional representation of the two dimensional surface of the brain with the third dimension being the electrical potential at each point. What Freeman meant by “meaning” was that the maps correlated not with the unprocessed information (presence of odour) but its significance to the animal (whether it’s presence was a good or bad thing)
    -

    - TOWARD THE END OF PAGE 39 YOU MENTION SOMETHING WHICH LOOKS LIKE THE LIBET'S DELAY: "FOR INSTANCE, CONSCIOUSNESS WILL BE ASSOCIATED WITH ONLY THE LATER PHASES OF EVOKED RESPONSES (+250 MSEC), WHEN EM FIELD DISTURBANCES HAVE REACHED SUFFICIENT AMPLITUDE TO INFLUENCE NEURON FIRING." ARE YOU SUGGESTING SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE LIBET'S DELAY? CAN YOU PLEASE EXPAND?

    I’ve never seen the problem with Libet’s experiments demonstrating the existence of neural activity that predicts an action before awareness of the intention to perform that action. Of course it does. Anything else would violate causality.
    Interpreted in the cemi field theory, neural activity is associated with reiterating circuits that create waves of synchronously-firing neurons. As these circuits recruit more and more neurons the waves become deeper and the em field disturbances associated with them become stronger. The information in those circuits, though initially unconscious (because the em fields were too weak to influence neural firing patterns) will gradually build up and invade our conscious mind (the brain’s em field) until they are of sufficient strength for us to be able to report our intention to act (the em field disturbances become sufficiently strong to influence neural firing patterns and thereby download their informational content into say speech).
    Thus our awareness of our intention to act will always be preceded by unconscious neural activity.


    re' somasimple's point. I'm not rejecting gap jucntions as being involved in conciousness but the mouse experiemtns demosntrate that they are crucial to it (at least if you accept that mice are conscious, which apprently you do)


    johnjoe
     
  21. Nov 26, 2005 #20

    Q_Goest

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    It's this aspect of the theory I find the most compelling. Very briefly, a brain in a vat should maintain all phenomena such as unity that a brain in a human does as long as the vat brain is provided with equivalent inputs and outputs. From an engineering perspective, control volume theory (my own work) indicates that disassembling the brain into it's constituent neurons and putting each of those into a vat while maintaining the inputs/outputs to each neuron, should similarly maintain the sensation of unity. I don't know if that's possible, but if it is, the only way of maintaining unity in such a case is to have all information available to the consciously aware neurons such as one might find in a field theory. Control volume theory also rules out the possibility of unity in conventional computers. So what I find most interesting is that cemi field theory attempts to demonstrate just this kind of interaction between neuron and field because without the field, control volume theory seems to prove that unity is impossible.

    If we assume all the information is in the em field, then just like a radio or TV, we should expect that a device capable of deciphering these fields would be able to output exactly what we are consciously aware of. I didn't notice that as a prediction in your first paper, and I'm curious to know why you didn't make this a prediction. Perhaps one of the difficulties is the em field also contains a lot of other noise unrelated to consciousness?

    You also mention that cemi field theory is the proposal that consciousness corresponds to only that component of the brain's em field that impacts on motor activity, the most likely being neurons in the cerebral cortex involved in initiating motor actions. However, it is my understanding that those neurons whose activity can be corrolated with consciousness are called "neural corrolates of consciousness" and primarily include the thalamus. I don't know enough about the brain to know exactly what the differences are, but it seems there is a difference of opinion here regarding the 'location' of consciousness. Why does cemi field theory require that em fields interact with the cerebral cortex as opposed to the thalamus?

    (Minor gramatical edit)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2005
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