The Null Device

Is consciousness (or, precisely, the integration of dispersed neurological phenomena into a central awareness) the product of the brain's electromagnetic field? Two researchers put forward an interesting argument for why this may be the case.
Anyone learning to drive a car will have experienced how the first (very conscious) fumblings are transformed through constant practice into automatic actions. The neural networks driving those first uncertain fumblings are precisely where we would expect to find nerves in the undecided state when a small nudge from the brain's em field can topple them towards or away from firing. The field will "fine tune" the neural pathway towards the desired goal. But neurons are connected so that when they fire together, they wire together, to form stronger connections. After practice, the influence of the field will become dispensable. The activity will be learnt and may thereafter be performed unconsciously.

(via blogdex)

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Posted by: Alan McCallum Mon May 20 00:49:23 2002

Hi, Thanks for the link. Hmmm. I think --- at first blush, that the idea is nonsense. The immediate problem is to reconcile the larger background EM field. The geomagnetic field for instance, would have been around thru all evolution stages. Hmmm. There is also the background field from supply lines. Need more info I guess. And most researchers are not stupid, so they would have answers for my objections. But thatnks for the link. Alan

Posted by: diane Mon May 20 18:14:42 2002

Difficulties with the Electromagnetic Field Theory of Consciousness Susan Pockett. Department of Physics, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. Abstract: ... three difficulties with the theory are discussed. The first is a purely technical problem: how to measure accurately enough the spatial properties of the fields which are proposed to be conscious and then how to generate these artificially, so that the theory can be tested. The second difficulty ... is that present measurements seem to show a non-constant relationship between brain-generated electromagnetic fields and sensation. The third difficulty involves the basic question of whether consciousness per se has any direct effect on the brain. Journal of Consciousness Studies (2002) vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 51-56

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