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Brain and Consciousness

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Presentation on theme: "Brain and Consciousness"— Presentation transcript:

1 Brain and Consciousness
Brain Patterns and TM Practice 3/25/2017

2 Grey Matter White Matter

3 Cortex (grey matter) is 1/8 Inch Thick

4 Parts of neurons Cell body axon Dendrites and dendritic spines Input
make energy, neurotransmitters, integrate activity of cells axon Output

5 - - - - - - - EEG: Ions in the Fluid Around the Neuron + + + + + + + +
Sodium and potassium + - + + Chloride

6 - - - - - - - - Sources and Sinks along the Apical Dendrites + + + + +
Sodium and potassium - + - + + Chloride - + - + + - + +

7 Electrical Activity from Neurons “Talking” Can be Measured at the Scalp
EEG Skull Surface of the brain (1/8” thick) Brain waves measured by EEG mostly reflect electrical activity in the cortex, but include contributions from the whole brain.

8 Frequency (cycles/sec or Hz) Cognitive Processes 1-3 Delta Restoration during deep sleep. Delta is also seen during waking when brain areas are strongly inhibited from firing. 4-5 Theta1 Drowsiness and dreaming 5-7.5 Theta2 Inner mental processes such as during a memory task 8-10 Alpha1 Inner wakefulness (Seen during TM) Alpha2 Brain modules primed to be used in a task, but currently are quiet (Seen during eyes-closed rest) Beta1 Ongoing processing of experience 20-50 Gamma Strong focus or concentration (Seen right now in your brain…)


10 Power Spectrum

11 Power Maps: Frontal Theta

12 Task: 5 sec – 0 sec Alpha Beta Gamma

13 TM: 30 sec – 35 sec Alpha Beta Gamma

14 Inward and Outward Strokes of TM
. Inward stroke Outward Stroke Travis, 2001


16 Transcendental Consciousness Apneustic Breathing and Autonomic Measures
EEG Notice the breath quiescent period. It begins with an exhale and ends with an exhale suggesting a slow continous inhale throughout This line is skin conductance, and this is heart rate variability. This pattern of response is seen during orienting to significant experiences. Also, this desynchronized EEG here is a hallmark of orienting. Travis, 2000

17 “Whatever the object is, if the subject keeps on changing, the knowledge will keep on changing. A fresh, alert man likes oranges, but if, when he starts to feel sleepy and dull, some says, Here is some very sweet orange juice. Would you like it? he may not even say no; he is now sinking another state of consciousness: drowsiness, sleep. The same orange juice, which was so sweet, so likeable, now has not much value and does not draw his attention at all. So knowledge differs on the basis of the differing states of consciousness of the knower.” Maharishi



20 TM Versus Eyes-Closed Rest
Travis et al, 2010

21 fMRI (Blood Flow) during TM
Red = Higher Blood Flow Blue= Lower Blood Flow

22 Transcendental Consciousness and the Junction Point Model
Transcendental Consciousness, the fourth state of consciousness experienced during Transcendental Meditation practice between thoughts, is also available between states of consciousness.

23 Junction Point Model Travis, 1994

24 Transcendental Consciousness and the Junction Point
Junction Point in non-meditators falling asleep and during TM Travis, 1994

25 Junction points between sleeping and dreaming
Travis, 1994

26 Srīmad Bhāgavatum Discourse XIII, 4
“With eyes turned towards the Self, he should discover the true nature of the Self at the point of contact between deep sleep and waking life and look upon both bondage and release as illusion and not real.”

27 Main Point The continuous firing of 100 billion neurons, each responding to different aspects of experience, create the electrical field around the brain that are sampled by EEG recording. Changes in the whole electrical field characterize conscious experience and states of consciousness from sleeping to pure consciousness.

28 Small Group Exercise Why might changes in brain functioning be seen primarily in the frontal areas of the brain during TM practice?


30 A considerable body of previous research on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) has helped characterize the regional specificity of various cognitive functions, such as cognitive control and decision making. Here we provide definitive findings on this topic, using a neuropsychological approach that takes advantage of a unique dataset accrued over several decades. We applied voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping in 344 individuals with focal lesions (165 involving the PFC) who had been tested on a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tasks. Two distinct functional-anatomical networks were revealed within the PFC: one associated with cognitive control (response inhibition, conflict monitoring, and switching), which included the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex and a second associated with value-based decision-making, which included the orbitofrontal, ventromedial, and frontopolar cortex. Furthermore, cognitive control tasks shared a common performance factor related to set shifting that was linked to the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. By contrast, regions in the ventral PFC were required for decision-making. These findings provide detailed causal evidence for a remarkable functional-anatomical specificity in the human PFC.

31 Prism analogy Decomposing a complex signal into component waves.

32 Delta 0-4 Hz Theta 4-8 Hz Alpha 8-12 Hz Beta Hz Gamma Hz FFT Raw

33 Power = Amplitude squared
Alpha amplitude Beta amplitude

34 Default Network: Frontal-Midline circuits (eLORETA-exact Low Resolution Electrotomography)
Travis et al, 2010

35 Make into transnecnding…
Motor Action Thinking CEO Emotions Concrete Experience

36 Anterior-Posterior Alpha Synchrony
Hebert et al, Journal of Signal Processing.

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