Friday, August 29, 2014

About time delays related to passive aspects of consciousness: once again

Libet's experiments about the strange time delays related to the passive aspects of consciousness serve as a continual source of inspiration and headache. Every time one reads again about these experiments, one feels equally confused and must start explanations from scratch. The following explanation is based on the model of the sensory representations on the magnetic canvas outside the body and having size measured by typical EEG wave lengths.

The basic argument leading to this model is the observation that although our brain changes its position and orientation, the mental image of the external world is not experienced to move: as if we were looking some kind of sensory canvas inside cortex from outside so that the motion of canvas does not matter. Or equivalently: the ultimate sensory representation is outside brain at a fixed sensory canvas. In this model the objects of the perceptive field are represented on the magnetic canvas. The direction of the object is coded by the direction of ME located on brain whereas its distance is coded by the dominating frequency of ME which corresponds to a magnetic transition frequency which varies along the radial magnetic flux tubes slowly so that place coding by magnetic frequency results.

According to the summary of Penrose in his book 'Emperor's New Mind' these experiments tell the following.

  1. With respect to the psychological time of the external observer subject person becomes conscious about the electric stimulation of skin in about .5 seconds. This leaves a considerable amount of time for the construction of the sensory representations.

  2. What is important is that subject person feels no time delay. For instance she can tell the time clock shows when the stimulus starts. This can be understood if the sensory representation which is basically a geometric memory takes care that the clock of the memory shows correct time: this requires backwards referral of about .5 seconds. Visual and tactile sensory inputs enter into cortex essentially simultaneously so that this is possible. The projection to the magnetic canvas and the generation of the magnetic quantum phase transition might quite well explain the time lapse of .5 seconds.

  3. One can combine an electric stimulation of skin with the stimulation of the cortex. The electric stimulation of the cortex requires a duration longer than .5 seconds to become conscious. This suggests that the cortical mental image (sub-self) is created only after this critical period of stimulation. A possible explanation is that the stimulation generates quantum phase transition "waking up" the mental image so that threshold is involved.

  4. If the stimulation of the cortex begins (with respect to the psychological time of the observer) for not more than .5 seconds before the stimulation of the skin starts, both the stimulation of the skin and cortex are experienced separately but their time ordering is experienced as being reversed!

    A crucial question is whether the ordering is changed with respect to the subjective or geometric time of the subject person. If the ordering is with respect to the subjective time of the subject person, as it seems, the situation becomes puzzling. The only possibility seems to be that the cortical stimulus generates a sensory mental image about touch only after it has lasted for .5 seconds.

    In TGD framework sensory qualia are at the level of of sensory organs so that the sensation of touch assignable to cortical stimulation requires back-projection from cortex to the skin (presumably using dark photons producing biophotons as decay products). The mental images generated by direct stimulation of cortex could be called cognitive this is created first and takes some time. If the construction of cognitive mental images about cortical stimulation and the formation of back projection takes at least about .5 seconds the observations can be understood. Genuine sensory stimulus starts to build cortical mental image almost immediately: this mental image is then communicated to magnetic body.

    For instance, assume that the preparation of cognitive mental image at cortex takes something like .4 seconds and its communication to magnetic body about .1 seconds and that back projection is possible only after that and takes roughly the same time to the sensory organs at skin and back. This would explain the change of time order of mental images.

  5. If the stimulation of the cortex begins in the interval T ∈ [.25-.5] seconds after the stimulation of the skin, the latter is not consciously perceived. This effect - known as backward masking - looks really mysterious. It would be interesting to know whether also in this case there is a lapse of .5 seconds before the cortical stimulation is felt.

    If the construction of cognitive mental image about direct stimulation of cortex takes about .4 second, it does not allow the buildup of cognitive mental image associated with the stimulation of skin. Hence the stimulation of skin does not create conscious cognitive or sensory mental image communicated to magnetic body.


L. Edgar Otto said...

You have some interesting new ideas posted here lately as I begin to understand more and more your use of terms. Do I detect a fundamental change or breakthrough or one pending, I sense it so. Anyway, good job.

Matti PItkanen said...

No revolutions inside TGD;-) After three super string revolutions I would get really worried if this kind of things were still happening also inside TGD.

During last year I have gone through all the TGD material and updated it. Mostly deleting dead branches from living tree. This explains why I have been rather passive in blog.

This process has led to much better understanding of the connection with general relativity, quantum field theories, and standard model. I really understand now Equivalence Principle and how Einstein's equations emerge from TGD as effective description and see TGD as a microscopic theory behind it and gauge theories. Also a rather detailed understanding of generalised Feynman diagrams has emerged.

In consciousness theory, a the detailed understanding of the relationship between experienced and geometric times has emerged as these postings should make clear. The notion of self is now well-understood as also the generalisation of quantum measurement theory to zero energy ontology.

Dark matter hierarchy and hierarchy of Planck constants has been understood as a prediction of TGD with connections to negentropic entanglement, quantum criticality, nondeterminism of Kahler action, and superconformal invariance and its breaking hierarchy. TGD is now really a coherent whole. All new elements are tightly related and interdependent.

In quantum biology a lot of detailed understanding has emerged. Model of cell membrane in terms of square root of thermodynamics, a model for high Tc superconductivity and biosuperconductivity involving the notion of magnetic flux tube in an essential manner, the understanding of relationship of dark photons to biophotons and their role in living matter. Etc…

TGD is mostly patient work of locksmith now. No need to go to barricades anymore;-).

Matti PItkanen said...

To Anonymous:

Maybe I have considered the problem of cosmic rays in TGD framework in some posting during years. The story goes as follows.

Cosmic strings - dominating before inflationary period and still present - are thickened string like objects give rise to long range magnetic fields. They carry monopole fluxes so that no currents are needed to generate these magnetic fields. This explains the mystery of magnetic fields appearing in all cosmic scales not possible in standard cosmology by the absence of needed currents
in long scales.

Cosmic strings would decay to ordinary particles could produce cosmic rays. The reason for the decay of magnetic energy to cosmic strings might be collision of two cosmic rings. Gamma ray flares could could result in this manner also. This decay to ordinary particles is by the way the analog of the decay of inflation energy to ordinary particles.

The magnetic energy is the TGD counterpart of dark energy and explains also galactic dark matter as something at big cosmic string containing galaxies like pearls in necklace: galactic dark matter would not form halo as the standard belief goes.

Collisions of cosmic strings could have also generated galaxies at the points where strings go through each other or are reconnected. An interesting question is whether galactic rotation could have something to do with the reconnection: you can try to imagine what happens when moving strings having relative angular momentum reconnect. Even our galaxy could have this kind of origin. I have written post about this few years ago.

The high spike rate is interesting. I do not know what gives rise to the limits to the rate. Text book says that here is a time of recovery of order millisecond after nerve pulse. How could this time could become shorter? What in the anatomy of these herons could cause this?

I believe that conformal invariance is the natural framework for Riemann hypothesis Entire complex analysis is about implications of conformal invariance. Therefore a natural approach to Riemann hypothesis is provided by combination of quantum physical thinking and conformally invariance.

I have done as a physicist what relatively lazy physicist having no ambition to become prover of RH can do. Some mathematician could check whether one can fill in the lacking details or whether some very delicate problem appears.