Quantum Mind Blog

P3b signal

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There appears no reason to reconsider the main drift of the distinctions between unconscious processing and conscious processing that has emerged in recent neuroscience, solely in the light of Silverstein and Snodgrass’s findings relative to the P3b signal. The P3b signal was formerly known as the P300 signal, but this latter is now seen as having two sub-components; the first of these, the P3a signal is mainly involved with directing attention, while P3b is involved with responding to more unusual stimuli, as opposed to routine stimuli. The signal is often correlated with conscious process of information in frontal brain regions. However, Silverstein and Snodgrass showed that it could also be stimulated by signals that were too short, or were masked so that they could not enter consciousness, but could nevertheless effect unconscious processing. Read more [...]

Quantum entanglement

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The argument about entanglement goes back to Einstein. The notorious EPR (Einstein/Podolsky/Rosen) thought experiment of 1935 demonstrated that if quantum mechanics was correct then the determination of the state of one quantum particle could instantaneously and over any distance determine the state of another particle. This was afterwards referred to as entanglement or quantum entanglement. Read more [...]

Altered states of consciousness

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It is argued that altered states, which can result from a range of cause including near-death-experience (NDE), meditation or psychedelic drugs, can be directly causal of durable personality changes. Further to this, recent experimentation suggests that some altered states can deactivate brain regions responsible both for the sense of self, and for constraining ‘mystical’ type experiences in other brain regions. Thus contrary to any suggestion that the self is some type of ‘mystical illusion’ it may in fact be part of a system that constrains ‘mystical’ experience during normal brain processing. Read more [...]

Stimulus-specific adaptation

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This research relates to the ability of the auditory system to recognise sounds as the same word, even at widely different pitches and speeds, and also the greater sensitivity of hearing for unexpected as opposed to expected sounds. In the wild, the unexpected or infrequent sound might warn of the approach of a predator, in contrast to the more general background noises of nature. Read more [...]

Fundamental quanta

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Quarks and electrons constitute the fundamental building blocks of matter, but in both cases they can be annihilated into energy as photons, or alternatively energy can create such particles possessed of mass and charge out of the vacuum. This might pose the question as to whether the vacuum, which can be identified with spacetime, is not more truly fundamental than the quanta. Read more [...]

Brain oscillations

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Humans can perform short-term actions while remaining aware of longer-term goals. Evidence suggests that prefrontal areas coordinate motor activity when such goals are being aimed at. The more that abstract rules are involved, the more there is a combination of theta (4-8 Hz) and high gamma (80-150 Hz) phase together with inter-regional information encoding in the frontal cortex. Read more [...]

Personal traits

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Humans can look beyond immediate positive and negative experiences, and can additionally encode behavioural traits. Both learning from reward and learning from traits involve processing in the ventral striatum. Learning about traits allows another person to be valued in contexts other than the immediate one, and this can be important in social decision-taking. Read more [...]

Quantum criticality

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This article discusses the earlier Arxiv paper, Quantum Criticality at the Origins of Life, authored by Gabor Vattay, Stuart Kauffman et al. Electrical conduction is normally associated with the movement of electrons through conductive materials such as metals. However, this type of conduction is not seen as normal for organic systems. Hole and electron transport mechanisms have problems with the size of band gaps. Read more [...]

Opioid receptors

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A sub-population of the striatal direct-pathway neurons, known for being connected to voluntary movement, can be the basis of opiate-reward driven activities. The brain’s opioid system is basic to the reward value of stimuli and consequent behaviours. Opioid receptors bind to the brain’s opioid peptides such as enkephalin, β-endorphin, or dynorphin. μ-opioid receptors act to suppress the neuronal activity of neurons that otherwise... Read more [...]