The CEMI Field Theory Closing the Loop

Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (1-2):1-2 (2013)
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Abstract

Several theories of consciousness first described about a decade ago, including the conscious electromagnetic information (CEMI) field theory, claimed that the substrate of consciousness is the brain’s electromagnetic (EM) field. These theories were prompted by the observation, in many diverse systems, that synchronous neuronal firing, which generates coherent EM fields, was a strong correlate of attention, awareness, and consciousness. However, when these theories were first described there was no direct evidence that synchronous firing was actually functional, rather than an epiphenomenon of brain function. Additionally, any EM field-based consciousness would be a ‘ghost in the machine’ unless the brain’s endogenous EM field is also able to influence neuron firing. Once again, when these theories were first described, there was only indirect evidence that the brain’s EM field influenced neuron firing patterns in the brain. In this paper I describe recent experimental evidence which demonstrate that synchronous neuronal firing does indeed have a functional role in the brain; and also that the brain’s endogenous EM field is involved in recruiting neurons to synchronously firing networks. The new data point to a new and unappreciated form of neural communication in the brain that is likely to have significance for all theories of consciousness. I describe an extension of the CEMI field theory that incorporates these recent experimental findings and integrates the theory with the ‘communication through coherence’ hypothesis.

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Johnjoe Mcfadden
University of Surrey