The Role of the Brain in Conscious Processes: A New Way of Looking at the Neural Correlates of Consciousness

Joachim Keppler
2018 Frontiers in Psychology  
This article presents a new interpretation of the consciousness-related neuroscientific findings using the framework of stochastic electrodynamics (SED), a branch of physics that sheds light on the basic principles underlying quantum systems. It is propounded that SED supplemented by two well-founded hypotheses leads to a satisfying explanation of the neural correlates of consciousness. The theoretical framework thus defined is based on the notion that all conceivable shades of phenomenal
more » ... ess are woven into the frequency spectrum of a universal background field, called zero-point field (ZPF), implying that the fundamental mechanism underlying conscious systems rests upon the access to information available in the ZPF. The body of evidence can be interpreted such that in the extroverted, stimulus-oriented operating mode the brain produces streams of consciousness by periodically writing persistent information states into the ZPF (theta cycle). In the introspective operating mode, which goes along with activations of the default mode network, the brain is receptive to the flow of ZPF information states that constitutes the record of conscious experiences, suggesting that the sense of self and the retrieval of memories is accomplished by periodically reading (filtering) persistent information states from the ZPF (alpha cycle). Moreover, the data support the conclusion that meditative practices and psychedelics detune the filter, thus preventing the instantiation of self-referential conscious states, which leads to the dissolution of the ego. Instead, the brain taps into a wider spectrum of ZPF modes and, hence, gains access to an extended phenomenal color palette, resulting in expanded consciousness.
doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01346 pmid:30123156 pmcid:PMC6085561 fatcat:qrjoiciqcvb2zikmbsqxbtusme