Sep 13, 2022

Synchronous Brain Waves, Correlate of Consciousness

Posted by in category: neuroscience

One of the major current theories of consciousness is that brain oscillations, also called brain waves, correlate with specific mental states. It is the synchronous waves from different regions, that is, those that are beating at the same rate, that are believed to be important for the connection of different brain regions. Brain waves have been observed for more than a hundred years, but it is still not clear exactly what they are and what they have to do with the function of the brain and the mind.

Oscillations in the brain occur because of an interplay between two forces, such as stimulation and inhibition. This dynamic can either come from two different cortical layers or a cortical and subcortical layer. Feedback properties affect the oscillations by either continuing the give and take of the two forces or changing them in various ways. Even with no outside input, the brain creates spontaneous oscillations; a well-known example is the one, connected to the thalamus and cortex, that occurs during sleep. Currently, it is believed that these oscillations help to synthesize and filter the previous day’s memories. While these oscillations are associated with sleep, most other brain oscillations are not clearly correlated with mental states.

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