Home > Conscious > Chapter 5 > 5.5. The Content of Consciousness


The content of consciousness is the information that has been perceived or attended, such as sensory inputs or memory. These pieces of information are mostly encoded in the θ-γ nested oscillations. How can they be integrated into the conscious system? "Binding by synchrony" is commonly used by the brain for information processing. This principle could be used for the addition of contents into the conscious system. As discussed in the last section, ISO-α itself can create a basic conscious state. The α wave plays a critical role in attention (Klimesch, 2012). Therefore, synchronization between the α wave and θ rhythms could be used to bind the θ-γ-encoded information, creating a conscious system with content. To achieve this goal, both α wave and θ-γ nested oscillations must be nested into ISO so that they can all be in phase.

The β wave is responsible for cognition and motor timing, while δ wave is involved in memory processing. Their power is positively correlated with the default mode network activity (Neuner et al., 2014). This suggests that β and δ oscillations may be nested into ISO. Other experiments have provided stronger evidence that all faster brain waves are nested into ISO (Figure 5-8), even during sleep (Vanhatalo et al., 2004). Similar to ISO-α, the other nested oscillations will be denoted by ISO-θ, ISO-β and ISO-δ. Since the γ oscillation is often nested in the θ oscillation, ISO-θ may also include γ oscillations.


Figure 5-8. The relationship between ISO and faster oscillations while detecting sensory stimulation. The amplitude peaks of all faster oscillations are located at the same phase in ISO. This "phase-amplitude coupling" indicates that faster oscillations are nested into ISO, forming ISO-θ, ISO-β and ISO-δ. [Source: Palva and Palva, 2011]

Researchers have also observed the synchronization between α and θ oscillations (Schack et al., 2005; Herweg et al., 2016), α and γ oscillations (Osipova et al., 2008; Park et al., 2016) as well as α and β oscillations (Nikulin and Brismar, 2006). How can synchronization bind information? According to the Geon Hypothesis, the conscious system is a geon consisting of gravitational waves. The content of consciousness is carried by the gravitational waves, analogous to the television contents carried by electromagnetic waves. When gravitational waves are in phase, their attractive force will be dramatically increased. Its underlying physical mechanism is explained in Chapter 8.