Monday, September 19, 2016

The EEG Mind

A theory of the mind must be consistent with certain properties and it is also necessary to measure the properties of the mind and therefore validate or falsify that theory of the mind. It is important not to get too bogged down in the complexification of behavior before there is a decent framework for a theory of the mind and ways to test that theory.

A decent theory of the mind must be consistent with a set of standard observations and must be further testable by other measurements as well. An electroencelphalogram (EEG) is an electrical spectrum of the frequencies, intensities, and phases of neural resonances. There are many key properties of conscious and unconscious thought that an EEG spectrum measures and so it makes sense to form theory around the EEG mind. However, the EEG spectrum is most often measured at the scalp and so EEG best represents the cerebral or rational mind and its outer electrical currents.

Here are a set of assumptions that form the basis for an EEG mind.

1) Consciousness develops in stages over time from infancy through childhood and only matures in adults. Without this development, there is a different consciousness that may not resonate with other minds. Just like we learn different languages as were grow up with people, we also learn different consciousness as well depending on the people that we grow up with.

2) There are two main parts to the brain; the connectome or primitive brain that is driven by the cerebellum and the rational brain of conscious thought that largely resides as aware matter in the cerebrum.

3) Emotion, feeling, choice, autonomic functions, instinct, and long-term memory are all largely functions of the connectome of the primitive mind. The excitation or inhibition of action comes from the primitive mind and the amygdala. Long-term memory is a function of the primitive mind along with morality and the feeling of right a wrong. The connectome is the basic neural framework that sets the resonances of the EEG and is what keeps us breathing and our heart beating and digestion working.

4) There is a set of complementary emotions that define a singular feeling and it is that feeling that either excites or inhibits action of the amygdala. One such set of emotions is; pleasure versus anxiety, compassion versus selfishness, joy versus misery, serenity versus anger, and pride versus shame. Although emotion and feeling are really more complex than this simple set of five complements, this simple set of five is consistent with many neural measurements and therefore a convenient simplification.

5) The moments of thought that seem like consciousness are largely part of the rational mind along with short-term memory. There are 40,000 to 60,000 moments of thought for each day of experience and each moment of thought may be as much as 15 MB of digital equivalent neural data packets. The mind stores these neural packets of information in a phased array of resonant aware matter that make up the amplitudes and phases of EEG spectra for the experience of a day. Our conscious mind is the music that we play every day on the keyboard that is the connectome of the primitive mind.

6) Sleep has an essential role in the mind; imprinting experience into long-term memory and resetting the rational mind for another day of experience. Sleep evolves the connectome of the primitive mind by selectively imprinting the day's aware matter into long term memory. Sleep also clears or resets the cerebrum of the rational mind for the next day of experience. There are other roles for sleep, but these two are most important.

The rational EEG mind resides mainly in the outer two cerebral hemispheres that surround the structures of the primitive brain and so are what the typical EEG spectrum measures. The EEG neural resonances are electrical and mainly measure the outer layers of the cerebrum and not the inner primitive mind. However, the various features of the EEG spectrum do reflect the basic resonances of the connectome of the primitive mind.

The outer rational mind of the cerebral hemispheres surrounds the structure of the inner mind as shown below. The conscious mind resonates with the EEG spectral features that reflect the structure of the inner primitive mind. The special region of the cerebral homunculus is what gives us a sense of ourselves.

Above shows the primitive mind shown as grey and the primitive mind all of the autonomic functions of the brain including long-term memory, choice, motor, hormones and emotion. The figure below shows the parts of the primitive brain that integrate with both the cerebellum and the cerebrum. There are three cerebellar hormunculi and not just one and so the primitive brain has three different selves. The connectome of the primitive brain then determines the resonances of the rational brain, but the amplitudes and phases of the moments of thought can be quite complex.

With this set of assumptions in place, the EEG mind theory associates well known resonances with various spectral features and structures of the primitive mind. The delta mode at 1.6 Hz is the resonance from which all aware matter forms moments of thought and the delta mode connects the rational and primitive brains. The basic molecule or mode of aware matter is the 7-mer at 11 Hz, which is 7 times the delta frequency and are called alpha modes. A dimer of alpha at 22 Hz is a basic mode of excitation or inhibition depending on the phase of the alpha dimer and there are higher order resonances called gamma modes up to the cut off of the neural action potential at 350 Hz.

Here is one result from the NIH connectome project that has used a combination of dMRI and MEG, derivative MRI and magnetoencelphalgraphy. The MEG technique shows the same resonances as EEG but MEG probes the entire brain while EEG measures mostly the axon currents in the folds of the outer cerebrum. The connectome shows mainly the result of neural action and the neural packets of thought and so the organs of the primitive mind are not prominent.
Neural packets of thought exist as aware matter resonances with the basic moment of thought made up of alpha modes. A moment of thought is what defines the dephasing rate or width of each spectral feature and that width is about 2 Hz which corresponds to about 0.5 second of dephasing time.

Each moment of thought is then about 0.5 s long, like a delta mode, and the mind encodes these moments of thought in time with theta modes. Theta modes show up between the delta and alpha features and many experiments associate theta modes with counting and telling time and ordering  moments of thought. The four theta modes between delta and alpha allows the brain to encode 16^4 = 65,000 moments of thought in a single day. This assumes that there are 16 levels or bits for the intensity of each delta mode.

Obviously, this theory of the mind is subject to test and therefore validation or falsification. But another function of the mind is the need for sleep. There are basically two main stages for sleep; deep or delta sleep and dream or REM sleep. The delta mode dominates the mind during deep sleep and there are recurring neural impulses called K-complexes and sleep spindles. A K complex is essentially an ~0.5 s delta mode pulse while a sleep spindle is a ~0.5 s delta mode pulse with an 11 Hz alpha mode carrier. Although the roles of K-complexes and sleep spindles are not well understood, research has shown that these neural modes are necessary for healthy sleep and long-term memory.

Dream or REM sleep dominates the mind with alpha mode activity at 11 Hz during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, but the body's muscle response is normally paralyzed during REM sleep. It is during REM sleep that most dreams occur and research has long known that REM sleep is just as essential as deep sleep for a healthy mind.

The delta sleep stage tends to be the first stage of sleep, which is consistent with the notion that the brain imprints long-term memory during delta sleep. The REM sleep stage, which tends to occur later in sleep, is then consistent with the brain resetting the cerebrum's aware matter machine for the next day of experience.

During controlled experiments, people deprived of deep sleep have more trouble remembering experience of the previous day while people deprived of REM sleep are more lethargic and less able to make sense out of new experiences in the following day and of making decisions.

Thanks to the Allen brain map project for the wonderful views of a human brain as well as to the NIH funded connectome project. A video about the neuroscience of consciousness is also very useful.

Here is a nice Aeon article What is the purpose of the unconscious mind? and here is a video of Sadhguru video that repeatedly states that life has no purpose and no meaning Sadhguru's purpose is exploration... and then of course, Sadhguru ends up the video stating very clearly that the purpose of life is exploration. It is ironic that many people find a great purpose in a discourse about life's lack of purpose, which of course is self-contradictory. However, somehow many people hear some kind of useful message in these oxymoronic discourses. Life's purpose is largely in the pleasure of discovery tempered by an anxiety about the unknown...