DynaPsych Table of Contents


The One Mind Model:

Virtual Brain States and Nonlocality of the ERP

 

Mark Germine, M.D., M.S.

Psychoscience

416 Jackson Street

Yreka, CA96092USA

mgermine@hotmail.com

 


 

It has been previously proposed that conscious process involves the collapse of quantum, dynamical brain states through conscious observation.It has been further proposed that the brain process has an active role in selecting the status of uncertain stimuli.On the basis of these proposals it was predicted that event-related potentials (ERPs) would differ under unobserved versus pre-observed conditions.This has been found to be the case.Here we describe our most recent data, which shows that the difference between the pre-observed (inactive) and unobserved (active) conditions in ERPs is replicable, and seems to involve a selective process of matching stimulus and virtual brain state under the two conditions.Maximization of entropy by congruence of stimulus and brain potential through a quantum entropy operator is the proposed physical mechanism for this finding.The prefrontal lobe inhibition of perseverative brain states under the active condition is proposed to be the neurological mechanism of the findings.


 

1.†† Introduction

 

 

In 1989 it was proposed that the brain exists in a superposition of states that can be considered to be of a quantum, dynamical nature, and that a single state is selected from this superposition by the observation process in human cognition (Germine, 1989).In 1991 it was proposed that mental states are non-local events that are bound through Carl Jungís principle of synchronicity (Germine, 1991), and that conscious observation collapses a superposition of virtual brain states into a single state.In 1998 an experiment was devised to test the principle of collapse of virtual brain states using event-related potentials or ERPs (Germine, 1998a).Results of modifications of this experiment were reported that validated the predictions of the experimental model (Germine, 2000; 2002).The modifications primarily involved practical considerations of equipment available and protocol.Substitution of a computer generated randomization for radioactive decay generated randomization was done under the presumption that the computer generated randomization would constitute a quantum wave function.This presumption is based on the macroquantum model of parallel universes.It is the purpose of this paper to report on the unpublished final series of experiments (Germine, 2003), and their theoretical implications.

Prior to this series of experiments, no empirical studies had been performed that have had definitive results baring on the various theories of quantum reality.Essentially, the model which is the core hypothesis of the experiments described here is the One Mind Model.The One Mind Model of quantum reality admits the statistical or virtual existence of multiple universes, but holds that there is only One Mind, which defines the Universe that we all observe.The One Mind Model further proposes that there are no observers in the other, virtual universes, which are empty of being, and that being is the essence of reality.

The present carries the stamp or impression of the past, as long ago realized by Augustine.Einstein clearly indicated this in his popular book on the meaning of relativity.Einstein compared time to a landscape, over which we are traveling on a train with a very narrow window.We see narrow glimpses of the landscape of time, which we call the present, in a succession that reflects our apparent motion through time.Yet, the passage of that narrow interval of present time leaves an imprint on the brain.Experimentally, we might be able to prove the generalization of this imprint between two or more brains.Proof of such generalization would support the epistemological concept of Universal Knowledge, which is implied in the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum reality, as formalized by Von Neumann.This has been the object of our studies.

††††††††††† In a reality determined by knowing, knowing systems called brains evolve naturally, and the Universe becomes that which is most well known through the maximization of entropy, or the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Intelligence then becomes the driving force of evolution.The One Mind thus creates a single Universe, which it knows, with all other possible universes being empty or unknown.The most likely condition of this Universe, the one of maximum entropy, will be the condition of greatest knowledge.

According to the experimental formulation of the One Mind Model (Germine, 1998a) the wave function is collapsed by observation of a fully evolved brain state from among various possible or virtual brain states. The One Mind Model is a synthesis of theoretical quantum physics and mind science. The following are its basic tenets:

         Undetermined states on the quantum level occur in the external world, in the sensory organs, and in the brain. All of these states contribute to the uncertainty of the global mental state, which is also undetermined prior to collapse of the wave function of the brain.

         Global brain states are information states at the cognitive level.Microstates of equivalent meaning comprise macrostates in the dynamical sense (Germine, 1989), with information content determined according to information theory (Germine, 1993).These dynamical states are electrophysiological states, not thermodynamic states.

         That brain process up to the stage of quantum collapse is implicit or unconscious.

         Collapse of the wave function is the mechanism of consciousness, and actualizes a single brain state from among a myriad of implicit or unconscious possible states (virtual states).

         That the stimulus-response model is a basic experimental paradigm for production of global brain states through collapse of virtual states (Germine, 1989).

         That undetermined external events produce undetermined sensory stimuli, and determination of external quantum events occurs through collapse of the wave function on the level of the whole brain in a process that is co-dependent with the event itself.

         That the determination of external quantum events is a cognitive process that is reflected in the ERP, which is interdependent on and coherent with the observations of others, comprising the events of a single Universe.

         That the microgenesis or evolution of the brain state (Brown, 1988; 1991; 1996) is reflected in the ERP, and therefore the ERP can be used to represent the dynamical state of the brain in process terms.

         That the ERP is a nonlocal phenomenon in both space and time, and, as such, is a reflection of the virtual brain states associated with the collapse of the quantum wave function of an uncertain stimulus.

         That determination of uncertain events is a universal process in which individual conscious observers function as a single observer or One Mind.

The ERP is an empirical phenomenon on the level of experimental science, and this feature makes the One Mind Model an empirical or falsifiable model of quantum reality and the mechanisms of consciousness.

In the quantum theory of observation that we are testing, the stimulus is uncertain until observed. It is proposed that this reduction of uncertainty is a manifestation of the reduction of uncertainty of the brain state that occurs when a single state arises from the multiple states of the quantum wave function.This reduction of uncertainty produces negentropy or information (Germine, 1991; 1993; 1998b).

According our model (Germine 1989; 1991, 1993, 1998a; 1998b), if an uncertain quantum event is observed by a subject, the wave function of that event is determined through collapse of the quantum, dynamical superposition of brain states in that subject, and then becomes determined universally for any subsequent subjects observing the same events. Virtual brain states, or dynamical microstates, are grouped together in sets having the same meaning, or dynamical macrostates.

Macrostates that are favorable to collapse into an uncertain stimulus state are expected to differ from those that are favorable to collapse in a certain stimulus state.This finding is expected because the quantum entropy state of the stimulus will be different under the uncertain and certain stimulus conditions.If other observers were present in parallel universes, they would be entangled with the observer in our universe, and the possibility of pre-observation would be expected to neutralize any selective observation effect of the individual brain on the difference potentials.

 

2.†††††† Background

The data relating consciousness to events in the ERP have been outlined in detail by John (1990). The ERP is a profile of the living brain's processing of a discrete stimulus. It is derived by averaging a series of EEG profiles where time zero (t = 0) is the time of the stimulus itself. The EEG is repeated enough times to generate a distinct EEG profile which is otherwise concealed by the variable EEG background activity. The ERP records depolarization events as positive signals, which are indicated by the letter P, and hyperpolarization events as negative signals, indicated by the letter N. The positive and negative events are numbered consecutively on the ERP profile as the P1, N1, P2, N2, P3.... These events are alternatively indicated by their latency (t), thus the P3 is also the P300, reflecting the average latency in milliseconds.

The discrimination of a stimulus entails the production of ERP events P1, N1, P2, N2, and P3. These potentials are best elicited using the "oddball" paradigm, which involves use of target stimuli in combination with more frequent non-target stimuli (Lhermitte et al., 1985). Although this paradigm has been studied in a variety of sensory modalities, the auditory ERP gives the most useful experimental results, and has been performed in a number of well-designed and reproducible paradigms. The oddball paradigm used here is a well-studied standard (Gott et al., 1991) that requires a relatively low level of discrimination as compared to those paradigms used in the study of individual differences at higher levels of discrimination, which are useful in the study of mental disorders. Since we are not concerned, at this point, with such differences, and are trying to reproducibly elicit responses rather than test their individual limits, this paradigm is most apt.

3.†††††† Methods and Procedures

Binaural tones are delivered through shielded headphones at a rate of one per second with a 20 ms rise-fall time at a hearing level of 50 dB. Rare or odd tones of 2000 Hz are substituted for the common tones of 500 Hz in a way to be described shortly at a rate of 25%. Recordings are made from scalp electrodes at sites Cz to A1 (10-20 International System).  Analysis time is 750 ms with digital determinations of electrical potential every 1 ms.  The subject is asked to anticipate the odd tones by counting 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2Ö, with the bold number being the realized anticipation of the next odd tone.  The subject adds inflection and volume mentally to the number of the realized odd tone.

The random number generator in the computer generates each tone independently based on a complex algorithm, which creates odd stimuli of a normal distribution according to parameters set on the instrument.  The stimuli are neither predictable nor observable prior to human observation, nor are they entangled with observable events before generation or during the brief lapse between generation and delivery.  The One Mind Model dictates that such a random stimulus exists in a superposition of its two possible states (common or odd), and is thus of a quantum wave nature, since the stimulus condition is unknown.

In this study, the operator selectively views the odd stimulus on the monitor of the computer one second prior to it being sounded in the headphones of the subject.  Using a random number table, and based on whether and odd or even number is generated, the operator implements and records one of two conditions, that of observing the monitor (pre-observed or inactive condition), and that of not observing the monitor (unobserved or active condition), in sets with a normative average of 26 odd tones.  The subject is isolated in another room and has no cues regarding which condition is being used.

Two profiles are generated in two identical cells.One profile is the brain voltage over time when the stimuli are pre-observed by the operator, and the other is the brain voltage over time when the stimuli are not observed by the operator.The two profiles are subtracted to create two difference profiles, one for each cell of pre-observed minus observed stimuli.The difference profiles between the two cells are then compared statistically based on voltage correlation across the time intervals over which the profiles are recorded.

 

4.†††††† Results and Conclusions

†††††††††††††† An average of 104 tones was recorded yielding four profiles.On the basis of these four profiles, two difference profiles were generated.Both show a strong periodicity in the alpha range, at about 11 Hz.On linear regression, using voltage at each of 76 time points at 10 ms intervals as a variable, the two difference profiles were positively correlated at F = 22.4; p = 0.000011, showing that there was a highly significant and reproducible difference between the inactive and active data.Single factor ANOVA showed that that two difference profiles were not statistically different at a level of p = 0.67 (with p < 0.05 being significantly different).The graphical data are shown in Figure 1.

 

 


 


Figure 1: Difference potentials in the standard oddball paradigm in two separate trials averaging about 104 odd stimuli each (statistically).The pre-observed profiles are subtracted from the unobserved profiles yielding voltage differences at 76 time points at 10 ms intervals at latencies after stimulus of zero to 750 ms. ††Black diamonds are points on the first series of difference potentials.Gray squares are points on the second series.

 

 

†††††††††††††† A previous study (Germine, 2000) used a silent or absent odd stimulus, and also showed significantly replicable alpha periodic difference potentials.Although the statistical results of the present study were at least two orders of magnitude more significant using linear regression of 76 voltage values at 10 ms intervals between zero and 750 ms latency, a less conservative statistical analysis was conducted in the former study (Germine, 2000).The former studies employed average voltages of 3 ms intervals as a variable, and yielded a significance level between voltage values of difference potentials of p < 10-21.This statistical method was criticized on the basis of the supposition that autocorrelation may have been a factor in the statistical results, and therefore a more conservation statistical method was adopted.Using the more conservative statistical method of this study, the difference potentials of the former study were significantly correlated within the study, but not significantly correlated with the potentials generated for this study.This is attributed to the differences in the experimental conditions.

†††††††††††††† The pattern of the difference profiles in this study does not specifically reflect the standard ERPs of the odd potential, as described above, but rather reflect a periodic function that seems to be independent of these potentials.It was found that the difference potential of pre-observed minus unobserved profiles had the same kind of periodicity as the raw common tone potentials, as shown in Figure 2.Average voltage at 76 time points was positively correlated between the common potentials and the difference potentials (pre-observed minus unobserved) at F = 4.5; p = 0.037.Single factor ANOVA showed that that two profiles were not statistically different at a level of p = 0.64.

 

 

 

 


 


Figure 2:Average difference potential voltages versus common tone voltages, at 76 time points at 10 ms intervals at latencies after stimulus of zero to 750 ms.Black diamonds are points in the second series of difference potentials.The gray squares represent the average of the raw voltage values elicited by the common tones.

 

5.†††††††† Discussion

†††††††††††††† Our data suggest that a background of the common tone potentials is present selectively in the pre-observed potentials as compared to the unobserved potentials.†† Where a is the odd tone ERP, b is the common tone profile, x is the unobserved profile, and y is the pre-observed profile, we can define our two conditions as follows:

1)      a + b = x

2)      a = y

Therefore:

3)      x Ė y = b

†††††††††††††† Equation 3 is the proposed mechanism for correlation between the common tone profile (b) and the difference of the two conditions (x-y).The data support the original hypothesis that the brain is active is determining the status of the undetermined stimulus, and that this determination is generalized between brains, causing reproducible difference profiles to be elicited between the pre-observed and unobserved conditions.The data outlined suggest that certain virtual potentials are selectively actualized in the unobserved versus the pre-observed conditions, and therefore that the ERPs are nonlocal.Under the pre-observed conditions, the potential that is selectively actualized appears to be the one with the common tone potential background.Under the unobserved conditions, the potential that is selectively actualized appears to be the one without the common tone background.

†††††††††††††† The fact that the ERP wave forms are themselves unaltered suggests that cognitive processes are to a large extent equivalent in the active and inactive conditions.The active influence of the brain on collapse of the quantum event rather seems to be associated with the common tone potential background.This association may be related to the inhibition of novelty, and the release of the inhibition of novelty.Frontal electrodes may have shown some difference, since the prefrontal cortices might be the locus of such inhibition.The development of the prefrontal lobes of our particular observer may be a factor bearing of reproducibility of the experimental results using other observers.

†††††††††††††† Assuming that there is a pure odd-tone virtual potential brain state and a mixed odd tone/common tone potential brain state, the pure odd tone potential may be expected to be associated with the odd tone in a selective manner when there is quantum uncertainty in the nature of the tone.When there is no quantum uncertainty in the nature of the tone, a mixed potential may be more likely to occur, since the nature of the stimulus is not dependent on the brain state.†† In the inactive condition there is no pre-observation to influence the condition of the stimulus, the observerís brain has no role in actualizing the stimulus, and the brain simply confirms the meaning of the condition.In the unobserved or active condition, the observerís brain has a role in actualizing the odd tone, and the brainís response both actualizes the odd tone and confers the meaning of the odd tone.

†††††††††††††† The difference between the active and inactive conditions of the odd quantum stimulus in these experiments need not involve a violation of quantum mechanics, if we add an quantum entropy operator into the determination of the wave function, which occurs only in the active or unobserved condition.The physics of the entropy operator (M) is described by Prigogine (1980).M is a superoperator that acts on the density matrix, which is the matrix representing the probability of states in the quantum wave function.The entropy operator thus makes some possibilities more likely than others, or modifies the distribution of the probability of dynamical states.Using our previous terms, if S is entropy, than the entropy conditions under M are proposed as follows:

†††††††††††††† Pre-observed condition:S (a + b) > S (a)

†††††††††††††† Unobserved condition:M [S (a + b)] < M [S (a)]

†††††††††††††† The condition of greater entropy is actualized under the Second Law of Thermodynamics, explaining the experimental results.We are still in need, however, of a neurological mechanism for explaining why the combined state (a + b) should be of higher entropy than the pure state (a) in the inactive condition.

†††††††††††††† Since the common tone is repeated an average of three times prior to the odd tone, the brain, in particular the subcortical region of the brain, will tend to perseverate in perceiving the common tone in the space filled by the odd tone.In neurological terms, perseveration of the common tone response may tend to occur when there is a definitive odd stimulus, but not when a non-definitive stimulus is actualized as an odd stimulus by brain process.The actualization of the common tone in the computer randomizer, as a quantum dynamical process involving the brain/computer system, may be favored by the inhibition of the perseverative common tone response.

†††††††††††††† It could be that perseveration of the common tone response leads to some dissonance in the brain/computer process of actualization of the odd tone in the active condition.This dissonance would translate to a decrease in entropy of the combined state (a + b) relative to the pure state (a).A nonlocal resonance between stimulus and brain state in the brain/computer system in the active condition might also lead to greater entropy of the pure state in the active condition.The latter phenomenon could be the origin of the entropy operator, which might involve both nonlocal dissonance in the combined state and resonance in the pure state.

†††††††††††††† Inhibition of perseveration involves the prefrontal cortex, in particular the anterior cingulate, medial prefrontal, and lateral prefrontal cortices (Mesulam, 2002). These areas are greatly enlarged in both structure and function in humans compared to other animals.Intentionality in the determination of a quantum stimulus may thus be uniquely human, and may be related to human free-will.

†††††††††††††† In terms of states, we would say that M operates in such a way that there are more microstates of the form (odd stimulus + perception of odd stimulus + inhibition of perseveration of common stimulus) in the unobserved condition, conferring greater entropy to the macrostate in which inhibition of the common stimulus occurs, leading to its greater frequency of occurrence and thus to our experimental results. The quantum entropy operator would be uniquely active in the active condition, causing an alteration or asymmetry in the density matrix, which is expected to be symmetrical in the inactive condition.This asymmetry is an apparent violation of quantum mechanics because the occurrence of the odd stimulus should be symmetrical in the unaltered density matrix, if we consider the occurrence of the odd stimulus to be a quantum event governed by the symmetry of the wave function.

†††††††††††††† In the absence of the function of the prefrontal cortices in the inhibition of perseveration, the brain functions in the default mode (Mesulam, 2002).This would be the phylogenetically more primitive mode in Brownís theory of microgenesis (Brown, 1988; 1991; 1996), and thus may be expected in lower animals, younger humans, or in brain-lesioned patients.We do, in fact, see the alpha pattern in the oddball ERP in patients with severe cortical lesions (Knight, 1990).These findings suggest that the common tone response is subcortically generated

†††††††††††††† The neurological theory proposed allows us to make a number of predictions.Firstly, the procedure of pre-observation outlined here may provide a sensitive clinical test of prefrontal function.Such testing may bear specifically on the capacity for shared experience, or transcendent connection with the One Mind.Secondly, we can predict that, in fMRI of the odd potentials in the active versus inactive conditions, there will be relative activation of certain areas of the prefrontal cortices in the active condition.Thirdly, the inhibition function itself is likely to show individual differences which may bear on personality and on mental illnesses such as antisocial personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, and schizophrenia.Further research is necessary in these areas.

 

Acknowledgements

The author was the subject of these experiments.I thank James Kelley, M.D. and Bernice Vineyard for operation of EEG equipment and technical assistance.

References