Scientists Have Developed a New Explanation for Consciousness

Thoughts Consciousness Brain Fog

A recent study offers a new theory for consciousness.

According to a new theory, choices are formed unconsciously and become conscious around half a second later.

Consciousness is your awareness of yourself and your surroundings. This awareness is unique to you and subjective.

A new theory of consciousness has been developed by a researcher at Boston University’s Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, describing why it evolved, what it is useful for, which disorders influence it, and why it is so difficult to diet and resist other urges.

“In a nutshell, our theory is that consciousness developed as a memory system that is used by our unconscious brain to help us flexibly and creatively imagine the future and plan accordingly,” explained corresponding author Andrew Budson, MD, professor of neurology. “What is completely new about this theory is that it suggests we don’t perceive the world, make decisions, or perform actions directly. Instead, we do all these things unconsciously and then—about half a second later—consciously remember doing them.”

In order to explain a number of phenomena that could not be readily explained by earlier theories of consciousness, Budson explained that he and his co-authors, psychologist Elizabeth Kensinger, Ph.D., from Boston College, and philosopher Kenneth Richman, Ph.D., at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, developed this theory.

“We knew that conscious processes were simply too slow to be actively involved in music, sports, and other activities where split-second reflexes are required. But if consciousness is not involved in such processes, then a better explanation of what consciousness does was needed,” said Budson, who also is Chief of Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology, Associate Chief of Staff for Education, and Director of the Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System.

This theory, according to the researchers, is important because it clarifies how all of our choices and actions—which we mistakenly believe were made consciously—are actually made unconsciously. Therefore, since our conscious mind is not in charge of our actions, we may tell ourselves that we are just going to have one scoop of ice cream and then, the next thing we know, the container is empty.

“Even our thoughts are not generally under our conscious control. This lack of control is why we may have difficulty stopping a stream of thoughts running through our head as we’re trying to go to sleep, and also why mindfulness is hard,” adds Budson.

Budson and his coauthors consider a number of neurologic, psychiatric, and developmental disorders to be disorders of consciousness including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, delirium, migraine, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, certain types of autism, and more.

Lastly, their paper provides a roadmap as to how clinicians, educators, and individuals can best improve behavior and gain knowledge, by using clinical and teaching methods that can be effective in shaping both the conscious mind and the unconscious brain. With further exploration, this work may allow patients to improve problem behaviors such as overeating, help us understand the ways in which brain structures support memory, and even provide insight into philosophical issues around free will and moral responsibility.

Reference: “Consciousness as a Memory System” by  Andrew E. Budson, MD, Kenneth A. Richman, Ph.D., Elizabeth A. Kensinger, Ph.D., 3 October 2022, Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology.
DOI: 10.1097/WNN.0000000000000319

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. 

117 Comments on "Scientists Have Developed a New Explanation for Consciousness"

  1. This is so stupid/low consciousness.

  2. I’ve explained this idea many times in my life, and telling people that their free agency is an illusion makes them upset. It makes me feel better, but makes 99.9% of people feel worse.

  3. So what is the subconscious process that gives rise to the process that produces consciousness ?… let me guess… is it subsubconsciousness ?
    Does not explain anything except how to get a psychology research grant.

  4. Thomas Schmierer | October 22, 2022 at 8:41 pm | Reply

    I suspect that consciousness is something that communicates with the brain but, it isn’t completely dependent ON the brain… In effect, I believe our brain is a receiver/transmitter with respect to our consciousness…
    and that our consciousness can continue to exist even after our brain is dead…

  5. Everything old is new again:
    The term is shortened from mushin no shin (無心の心), a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind and is also referred to as the state of “no-mindness”. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything. It is translated by D.T. Suzuki as “being free from mind-attachment”

    • I’m an SGI-USA Buddhist and chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. When I began 48 years ago I felt like my “minds eye opened. People acted differently to me, but I quickly learned that I began to like them even with their quirks as before I criticized everyone.
      Science is catching on now to the Lotus Sutra, Sakymuni Buddhas Enlightenment

  6. Satrya Birawan | October 22, 2022 at 9:15 pm | Reply

    Conscious is not yet can be explained by science. There by billions of human are still praying,for the hope that their consciousness or spirit may continously be exsist better after life.

  7. Consciousness is the awareness of what’s going on, of there being anything at all. But me thinking that I exist is a string of thoughts based entirely on a system of logic that was made up as part of what’s going on. Thus there is no thinker of thoughts. There is no me to be conscious. There is consciousness, and all that happens (like me thinking this) is as much part of the going-ons as is a faint sound of cars passing. I was conscious when I was born, yet I did not exist as a me. I wasn’t thinking hey, this is me. I was nothing but awareness. And now I am still nothing but awareness, except my mind has been filled with concepts and logic which are now spiraling into endless strings of conclusions that we call the ego. Which is not me, but rather I am aware of it happening. Me still being the awareness I was when I was born. And none of what I wrote is me. It’s all just conclusions being voiced. The thought of me being is no different to the thought of there being nothing. Yet we identify with some thoughts, and discard others as “not us”. We develop logic, identify with some of it, string together thoughts 24/7 and call ourselves the thinker of thoughts. Which is itself just a thought. We’re running in circles

    • Nickalaus Rutherford | October 23, 2022 at 3:17 am | Reply

      I’m taking this excerpt you wrote here for a paper of mine I hope you don’t mind you can reach me at…

    • Only awaring/witnessing- no witnesses. Subconscious is the ocean, conscious is the wave.

    • Notice how many times you refer to yourself as “I” whilst trying to argue that you don’t exist.Its incoherent.

      You’re essentially saying the equivalent of “There is no such thing as a forest; there are only trees”. Saying “I’m just awareness” and “I’m just like when I was born except my mind is filled with concepts” is really just a way of describing yourself, but you are irrationally interpreting it as a compelling argument against the existence of the self.

      This is a particular type of incoherent confusion that is quite common amongst naive people that fetishize ‘mindfulness”.

      Here’s a ‘mindfulness’ exercise for you; re-read your post and try to become ‘mindful’ of how many times you contradict yourself

    • Please elaborate on what you mean by the statement below.

      “I was conscious when I was born, yet I did not exist as a me.”

      If someone did/could exist as “me”, what would have to be different from your perspective?

    • You are the observer. 😊

  8. What is designated as the Unconscious is Consciousness and what is designated as consciousness is awareness.

  9. Your subconscious mind exists in your body. Body memory. This is why your body prefers routine because it knows what to expect. Our body tends to send fear signals to our brain when we are experiencing something new. This means that the moments we are actually most presentis when we are doing something for the first time. We can use our subconscious mind in helpful ways like asking it to alert us to specific things in our environment or times. 🙂

  10. Willa Wilhelmina | October 23, 2022 at 12:06 am | Reply

    Holy s**t Nicholas. That just blew my mind reading your comment. I can’t even wrap my head around that because I’m are an edible tonight. I’m a very feel thinker so I’m going to let that when not high. And probably should Madison. That had already expanded my consciousness by reading it. It will definitely expand when I read it while microdosing which I am emailing on soon to treat major depressive disorder. I will be did go go back and read that soon again after consumption. That will no doubt be mind blowing so I’ve Samson and maybe my understand if it will be heightened. So knows?

  11. Consciousness is an attribute of the inner self that is soul (jivatma) which is under the control of superself (paramatma).

  12. As a computer science analogy, I have always framed consciousness as akin to running a debugger on executing code. Which is the debugger providing understanding but lagging the actual events executing.

  13. Read “i of the vortex” by Rodolfo Llinas. If you want a solid theory of the physical basis of all consciousness.

  14. “ Budson and his coauthors consider a number of neurologic, psychiatric, and developmental disorders to be disorders of consciousness including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, delirium, migraine, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, certain types of autism, and more.”

    The above paragraph is true, however, the remainder of the article is way oversimplified, scholarly or not. What makes me an authority on the subject? First, I don’t believe myself to be The Authority; “authority” can be education, research, or experience. In my case, I’m speaking from a bit of research, but mostly experience.

    Stricken with anterograde/retrograde amnesia in my mid-twenties, I regressed to a mental stage of a preschooler. My vocabulary, reasoning, humor, and everything was that off about a three-year-old. Believe me when I say that I understand more than most doctors when it comes to motivation in learning. I can’t begin to describe how many doctors refused to help or had no idea where to start the madness. Perhaps they were just too busy to learn?

    Finally giving up on anything a physician could tell me, after having three TIA’s, I took it upon myself to investigate. Granted, without all of the tools they had at their disposal, the scales weren’t exactly even. But, I finally graduated with a 3.7 GPA, president of a club for two years, and six awards, including The Advanced Achievement Award. Granted, it took me twenty years and five attempts to finally get it—and my thinking moved from learning law to becoming a writer, and eventually deciphering my own ability of educating myself through hypnosis. I was so impressed, in fact, I received my own certification.

    In gaining a new and deeper understanding of the conscious, unconscious, and subconscious (or Super Conscious, as it’s sometimes referred) there’sa simple way of breaking it down:

    Conscious includes everything you must be fully aware of in making a decision.

    Unconscious remains actions not needing any decision to complete, such as breathing, sweating, blinking, digesting, etc.

    Subconscious actions are those already learned through habits so that no decision is no longer necessary in getting home from work, or going through the motions in the morning before leaving.

    Through hypnosis, a hypnotist is merely “the messenger,” collecting the clients thoughts and questions, putting them into a hypnotic state, where the subconscious can be spoken to directly. Without this state, the conscious mind would need to be asked, and then the client would need to determine whether they wanted to answer or not, and if they planned on being honest. The conscious always asks questions concerning personal beliefs.

    So aside from the beginning paragraph, taken from the article, it’s clear that I disagree based on experience of my own. Honestly, someone whose loved it will more than likely gain more than someone reading books. But hey, everyone’s entitled to an opinion. This is America!

  15. Robert Simpson | October 23, 2022 at 1:58 am | Reply

    Definition of idea: 1.a transcendent entity that is a real pattern of which existing things are imperfect representations. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. This about sums it up, all our thoughts are not ours.

  16. Didnt Sigmund Freud postulate something similar, over 100 years ago, i.e., the primacy of the subconscious ?

  17. The power of breathing is the root to the conscience and subconscious mind and the air we breathe is taken for granted when really that’s how we’re able to even identify that there is such the two of the mind. However the quality of the air space we breathe forms into invisible subs that goes to the point of the mind/ brain and then the receptivity of what you just inhaled signals to one of parts of the sub nerve or co nerve which then allocate the vibrations to your frequency flow and boom 🤯 you are what you breathe in. Basically it goes deep but I don’t got the education to back up my words just making it up as I live and grow.

  18. Science is late to make these assumptions. The teachings of Ram Das, Echart Tolle Michael Singer and others have been writing these concepts for decades.

  19. It's 3am F*cl Off | October 23, 2022 at 3:15 am | Reply

    I can’t be bothered to write the out the plethora of logical falsity that one could poke in this article. I doubt a paper would hold up under peer review and scrutiny, especially with the negligent and bare bones thought processes outlined in this article. So subsequently I blame this article. Write better and do their paper credit as this is painful to read in its current state.

  20. Is this not saying people aren’t responsible for their actions because they didn’t make a conscious decision to do it? As in the example they give about eating all the ice cream.

  21. Interesting comments, Nicolas.
    For sure, most religious people are not going to like the article, Consciousness as a Memory System. Not long ago I thought, “Consciousness is reflection”. I am not a trained or educated scientist. I have simply thought (reflected) on the subject of determinism for many years, off and on.
    What will happen when more articles agreeing with this article make waves across academia? How will that change us?

  22. Any good theory of consciousness will attempt to resolve the hard problem, which this does not do. Any attempt to relegate consciousness as an illusion or secondary to unconscious processes creates cracks in the foundation of your theories of consciousness as your knowledge of other people and their brains/minds are based on your conscious, not unconscious, perception of them. All science is based on consciousness observation.

  23. Why does consciousness arising from unconscious mechanisms cause so much grief and despair in so many? Frankly, as others have noted, this has long been known, just look up Sam Harris’s writings on free will. Rather than using this as a tool to further knowledge and understanding of consciousness, most seem to reject it out of personal experience: Bah! I don’t FEEL like I’m not in control, therefore the article is bunkum.

    If you’re truly the author of your own thoughts/consciousness, how did you arrive at the decisions you made? The example in the article of ice cream overconsumption is a little wonky, a better analogy would be choosing a flavour instead. The choice of one scoop or two is rather binary, whereas when you increase the number of variables (flavours), the choice gets harder to make. Many people would say they have a favourite or preference, but that still doesn’t explain WHY they chose chocolate over vanilla, peanut butter, etc.

    The notion of not being the author of your own thoughts might be unsettling for some, especially religious people, but I don’t think it ought to be. You still shape the quality and content of these thoughts through your actions, experience, learning, and more that others have highlighted here. When examined in a vacuum, the conclusions from the article can seem bleak and paint consciousness as nothing but a by-product of random neurons firing in your brain. This may be true, and most certainly has been demonstrated to be, though that doesn’t render your life meaningless nor does it mean you have no control over these outcomes.

    Also, it’s great to have opinions as one commenter noted, but it’s also important to remember we live in a world of facts and figures, knowledge and information, and sometimes people can be wrong. A lie is a lie, even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth, even if no one believes it.

    Carl Sagan said it most aptly: we are a way for the universe to know itself. We’re made of the same star stuff. This is a much grander notion than any deity “creating” humans. Instead, our consciousness was borne out of natural processes so that we could understand the natural world we occupy.

    That’s my view of things, and I think we should all feel lucky to be here, still thinking of such things.

  24. This article and some of the comments seem to have a problem in defining “you”, as in you being, or not being, the author of your thoughts. What is “you”? Is not all of your neural processes both conscious and unconscious, part of you? Does it make sense to say that you are not the author of your thoughts when your unconscious processes make decisions – as if you are merely your conscious processes and not the sum of all of your bodily processes? This type of talk stems from the antiquated notion that we are not our bodies rather we are souls or spirits within our bodies. It seems to me that both conscious and unconscious processes are dependent on each other to make decisions. Could we ever do science without being conscious since science depends on conscious observation? What about the interpretation of QM that suggests the act of observing affects what is observed?

  25. @Niclas this article and the research it describes is garbage but your comment is beautiful, insightful and profound. It should be the article and the contents of this article demoted to a nonsense comment.

  26. I’m unconscious

  27. The subconscious is always set to an objective to produce a positive feeling. We subconsciously perceive reality as objects, organize these objects through assignment and sequencing, and prioritize objects and objectives through comparison. Objects have 4 assignments, cause or effect, true or false, value (positive or negative feeling), and good or bad (morally which influences value). ASC represents the basis for all subconscious processes and can explain all actions, thoughts, and feelings. Decision making process begins with an individual’s circumstances and a comparison between their perceived highest valued objectives within that setting based on the anticipated feeling an act will produce. Second comparison is the energy required versus the feeling for the act. Third comparison is consequence if the act potentially has a negative consequence for a long term or ongoing objective. Consequence is first considered in the probability of the outcome where if the probability is deemed sufficiently low the consequence comparison isn’t made. If the consequence is sufficiently probable then the value of the immediate objective is compared to the value of the anchoring objective (anchoring objective meaning long term objective or recurring objective) and will proceed based if the feeling from the immediate objective is greater than the anchoring objective or the consequence to anchoring objective is not great. The last comparison is moral if the act is believed to be morally wrong. Prior to commiting an act one believes is morally wrong a person will experience a negative feeling to prevent the person from committing the act, since committing the act reduces self worth and may have long term consequences or prolonged negative feelings. If the value of the act is high a person will proceed with an act they believe is morally wrong and this of course depends on the degree of bad the act is perceived to be. Of course morality can also motivate acts as moral ideas serve as the basis for positive feelings for acts that otherwise would not engage a person’s self interest. The description of the research in this article supports ASC which describes subconscious processing. Unfortunately efforts to enrich the academic community through ASC have been unsuccessful either because it has been discovered by an outsider or because they’re too stupid to understand it. More info on ASC is available at LibertyAndTruth(dot)org

  28. Durval Menezes | October 23, 2022 at 6:32 am | Reply

    From the article:

    > “What is completely new about this theory is that it suggests we don’t perceive the world, make decisions, or perform actions directly. Instead, we do all these things unconsciously and then—about half a second later—consciously remember doing them.”

    This is not “completely new” in any way, instead it’s a simple rehash of the 40-years-old ‘bereitschaftspotential’ experiment and subsequent argument against free will, which has been debunked over 3 years ago: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/09/free-will-bereitschaftspotential/597736

    IMHO, SciTechDaily should do a better job of checking an article’s claims before publishing it.

  29. EMDR therapist | October 23, 2022 at 6:39 am | Reply

    There is nothing new being presented in this “theory.” It has long been known, since the 1980s, that the unconscious mind makes decisions and places them into the conscious awareness. See experiments done by Haynes and Libet et al. It will be interesting when/if someone can explain how it is that we are having any experience at all, ie, how/from where consciousness emerges or if it is primary etc. That will be a great day.

  30. In non-physical reality, our normal state of existence, the entire history of humanity already exists. From within this non-physical reality we, as a conscious entity, choose a particular human form, veil who we are, and, for the experience, consciously observe the life of that particular human form within time and space. Thus the delay. We are observers and experiencers, not creators of the experience. The creator exists outside of time and space. Some refer to that creator as God, but it could very well be a superior spirit being, or beings, who have an advanced ability of creative thought that is able to conceptualize and retain within its mind the history of all of humanity.

  31. So if I put a gun to my head and pull the trigger 🤔 that means I really didn’t kill myself.

  32. Howard Jeffrey Bender, Ph.D. | October 23, 2022 at 6:59 am | Reply

    This article implies that plants aren’t conscious, and neither is any living thing without a brain. I suggest that every living cell has some level of consciousness, and the collection of all the conscious cells becomes the consciousness of the living thing. This idea is an extension of those from Roger Penrose and Stuart Hammeroff.

    For a more complete description, go to YouTube and look up “Consciousness – A String Theory Way”.

    • Charles G. Shaver | October 23, 2022 at 10:04 am | Reply

      Well, Dr. Bender, again I viewed the suggested video and it appears we can finally agree on something. The way I see it there are 1) cell minds, 2) tissue minds, 3) gland minds, 4) organ minds, 5) system minds, 6) a left brain mind, 7) a right brain mind and, ultimately, 8) a conscious mind. In terms of processing rate, total equality is a function of the unconscious mind and consciousness may be defined as: “the ability to discriminate.” Based in part on lessons learned in and from secular mind power classes in the late 1970s (‘insights’), mind waves are exponentially inversely proportional to brain waves. Additionally, “life” may be defined as: “the conversion of lower energy forms to pure sentience, the highest form of energy.” I’m still seriously diminished by forty-one years and counting of FDA instigated chronic illness but, as suggested at the end of your video, let’s “chat” sometime. Meanwhile, three of my early, low-budget gravity experiment videos are uploaded to my Odysee dot com video channel (censored about the Covid-19 ‘scamdemic’ on YouTube and completely deleted by me since), @charlesgshaver. Anecdotally, while your impressive accomplishments are higher education based my lay discoveries are mostly just ‘insightful.’

      • Howard Jeffrey Bender, Ph.D. | October 23, 2022 at 6:14 pm | Reply

        I completely agree with your suggestion that consciousness is “the ability to discriminate”, which every living cell does in one way or another. I’m confused about “mind waves” and “brain waves” and I think anyone with an “unconscious mind” is brain dead but all the rest of their cells keep truckin’ along. I say if a living thing is truly unconscious it’s dead dead.

        As far as your “discoveries are mostly just insightful”, recall that Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand.” So just keep on being insightful, Charles!

        • Charles G. Shaver | October 24, 2022 at 8:26 am | Reply

          Thanks for the more favorable reply, Dr. Bender. Not up to authoring a full-length book yet due first to my own psychosomatic food allergies and then to FDA approved food poisoning (e.g., MSG) in 1980, I have entered alternate states of consciousness on many occasions. Early on I learned that age dependently we dip very briefly into lower levels of consciousness many times a minute. I deduce the evolutionary purpose of that being to more rapidly examine past events to better predict outcomes of real time decisions in times of great stress, even if they take a half a second to manifest. Short of being brain dead, to me “unconscious” means reviewing all of one’s life experiences in an instant, while the brain dips down to into low ‘delta’ waves, where emotions can no longer color, flavor and slow the processing down, simply put. Now, ahead to some more ‘insightful’ physics.

  33. This article and study has nothing whatsoever to do with consciousness, it discusses brain function. Gotta figure out how to use all that grant money though and make it sound like, … you know, you’re actually doing non-derivative work.

  34. It’s wild to me how attached we are to materialistic science to explain what are probably immaterial phenomenon. Every time these articles exploring consciousness come out, I roll my eyes even harder than the last time.

  35. The initial research on this phenomenon was done by Alexander Luria in the 1950’s through the 1970’s. He measured the time for conscious awareness of a physical observation or experience as 1/2 of a second after the event. He also was able to demonstrate eidetic memories in the human brain by applying electric stimulation. It appears that Carl Jung might have been correct when he said we don’t know what we know.

  36. Chris Crawford | October 23, 2022 at 11:22 am | Reply

    Consciousness is nothing more than our modern attempt to make Homo Sapiens seem special. We were specially created by God; then we had souls; now we have consciousness. Can we please put aside this vanity and stop trying to wrap ourselves in some sort of magic wrapper? We’re animals, just like the others, except that we have much bigger brains and vastly greater intelligence — with the exception that we are on a path to self-destruction, which no other species does.

  37. your brain doesn’t ‘understand’. “you” are the thing that understands. how can atoms or neurons understand, feel pain, feel joy, know an idea, or want? how can your subconscious make any decision before “you” see and realize the options first? you aren’t just an Observer who only sees it’s body move; the body moves in accordance with the will of the Observer who will FEEL the very real results of it’s bodies actions. so there is a back and forth between the body and the mind, the mind being a non-thing and a subjective experience only, only felt by you. it can’t be measured, quantified or calculated, it is Axiom, it is not time, matter, space, charge or spin or anything material. so “you” are a non-thing that can effect real things, thus meeting the minimum requirement for freewill: “you” being a cause-without-a-cause. to see requires a see-er, to know a knower, to believe a believer, this ‘point’, this receiver, is “you”, and it is pure magic. physics will have to come up with a relationship or equation that relates an idea realized by a subjective observer to any measurable quantity ie mass, distance, time, charge, spin, etc, but if a subjective experience can never be measured and only experienced then what? we may have to accept that there are aspects of the universe that just don’t make sense and never will, that it is a twisted paradox, that we both have freewill and at the same time we don’t. that there is no ultimate ‘answer’.

  38. CONSCIOUSNESS IS ALL A BIG CONSPIRACY !!!

    They really ARE out to get you ! They’re out to get EVERYBODY !! Open YOUR EYES, man… Don’t be an easy meal.

  39. Subconscious is spirit communicating through the brain and body. Once it formulates communication then conscious understanding of the underlying thought manifests.

  40. Donald F. Switlick | October 23, 2022 at 2:58 pm | Reply

    Consciousness it the recognition of each hemisphere of the existence of the mind of the other. See Dual Brain Psychology.

  41. Is this not saying people aren’t responsible for their actions because they didn’t consciously make the decision to do it? As in the example they give about eating all ice cream. Could my “subconscious made me do it” become a defense in criminal court if this theory is adopted as reality?

  42. Subconscious: “Kill her!”
    Subject: “No, I won’t do it! Subconscious: ” I said KILL HER! ” You don’t have a choice. Now KILL HER!”
    Subject: Well, ok then if you say so. You’re gonna make my mind up for me anyway…
    Three days later, the subject is now a homicide suspect. He must go on trial to save his a**, but the prosecution is no match for his seasoned defense attorney. Despite an overwhelming amount of evidence, video footage of the crime and a detailed confession, the suspect is found Not Guilty.
    The jury didn’t feel they had a choice in the matter either and were no match for their subconscious. Besides it bolstered Budman’s scientific claim, no one has free will and it gave them all free hall passes for zero accountability for any of their actions as well.
    The End!

  43. People are fixated on there being some “difference” between conscious and unconscious thoughts. There is no qualitative difference. The thoughts formed to support the active perception of reality include self-awareness and this constitutes consciousness. The conclusions reached by the unconscious thoughts are as much others and directed by us as those reached by conscious thoughts.

  44. This is nothing but the unatta or non-self or non-soul teaching of Buddhism

  45. Antonio Parramo | October 24, 2022 at 4:58 am | Reply

    As a collectivity we have developed a “normal” way of behavior, thoughts, observations and make a judgment based on sensorial perception, we have learned to act as individuals being social. We find happiness accumulating what our desire impulse us to adquire as a satisfaction for each physical and intellectual need we have. We relate to reality and reasoning based of what our senses and ulterior intellectual needs. Oneself has both senses and intelligence as a conduct to adquiere knowledge of reality. What we call consciousness its another “tool” of the mind to decide the acts of the individual, a mere accessory to satisfy a sensual or intellectual need. Even when we are not aware of it.

  46. Finally science is catching up with vedanta Or end of knowledge which is pure awareness . Ability to dissociate from the thought that my ego is me is the way forward

  47. This explanation connects with my experience, but I don’t think we should limit ourselves to the concept that all consciousness is the same.

    As to how it fits into my experience… I am an engineer who has moved up to the point of normally being called a chief architect within the projects I take on. Throughout my engineering career, I have simply known the solutions to the problems as soon as I make it through the problem definition stage. The challenge has always been to communicate that solution either to people or computers. My mind has fully incorporated all of my education and experience into subconscious activities. To bring to consciousness and communicate what I know needs to be done takes orders of magnitude more time than determining the solution in detail (and can be boring). I also recognize that much of the time is because so much of the brain is not directly connected to speech and communication centers. Getting the info out in multi-modal ways can help just because a portion of the mind with a piece of the solution may be more connected to portions controlling hands than speech. The hardest things to extract are those that have been determined by emotional or physics engines within the brain.

  48. This is nothing new. I studied this exact theory in a psychology course in 2003.

  49. I believe consciousness existed before the human body even existed. Consciousness/awareness, resides within the body. Our body contains an organic computer, and presents input and recorded information to the awareness. Our awareness simply chooses what to do with that information. It takes the helm of deciding how to respond and how to categorize and perceive and store information. Essentially the same as a person sitting at a computer and managing the actions of a computer.

    And just like we aren’t aware of the thousands of processes our desktop computer is doing in the background, neither are we as awareness residing in the brain.

    I believe consciousness is pure energy (living/life itself), and that it’s contained within the magnetic field our brain produces. I think perception is simple and pure outside of the body, but within it’s incredibly complex and diverse, with the stimulus from the brain and body(hardware) and the mind and memory(software, literal chemical processes)

    Consciousness doesn’t originate from our body. It entered into it. And understanding it? I don’t think it’s possible. And no amount of AI will ever attain to it. Consciousness and life itself will always be out of our reach. Organic computers and vessels… Maybe someday. But the awareness? Life itself? Never. No amount of software will ever attain to the infinite.

  50. In a way I think this makes sense. Consider how a computer makes a decision. All it does is add 1s and 0s. It cannot even subtract, to do that it has to reverse 1s and 0s and add. What we see is the game peice moving around responding to us but all of that started as nothing but endless math additions.

    The io portion of the computer translates it to pictures and sounds and text. Thought of that way what we think of as consciousness is just the ending input output of those myriad calculations put into thoughts we can understand.

  51. This ignorant s***. Stupid scientist should really learn to think out of the box.

  52. Read Meher Baba.

  53. Stop the presses and call the Nobel committee someone! The search is over!! So this is the mechanism underlying my Ennui when hearing Morricone…..

  54. So everything I’ve ever been taught in therapy is useless and I’ve been right all along telling my therapists I cannot control my thoughts, emotions, and automatic responses…nice to know I can quit taking meds and leave therapy behind…big savings

  55. I flow with Willa Wilhelmina musings on the unit con of the mindfulness of my self.

  56. To understand this best requires an understanding of the soul. Thousands of authors have written about this. The soul is operating the unconscious.

  57. This is not a discovery analytic Philosphers described this in the mid 20th century ie: SARTRE.

  58. I find this article very interesting. It does reflect some of my own thinking on the subject. While as a musician I trained and rehearsed constantly. In performance I think there is no way that the conscious brain was able to make so many decisions so very quickly. It is also true that for sports, what is called “muscle memory” is super important for peak performance. A boxer can not be relying on conscious thought to react to the moves of his/her opponent.

    However, I don’t believe this explains Alzheimer’s syndrome as there are several very physical very material things involved. It is difficult to believe the subconscious mind creates the brain plaque that post mortem confirms an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

  59. It’s our sympathetic nervous system that is creating our view of the world,as we relate from our body’s senses. Then it becomes our consciousness, when the thinking, or parasympathetic system takes over to become what we normally call viewing the world from a “self”… they both are true, just different.

    • We are not aware of all the things we know all at once, so the idea that our conscious mind is responsible for memory doesn’t make sense to me. It is certainly involved in the interpretation of the world around us where the memory is first formed, but I don’t think it is involved in the actual storage of the memory. When we have a split-second reaction, it’s safe to say that there are other factors at play than pure awareness (consciousness). So the question it seems we’re really trying to answer here is, how does the brain process thought? Or how does the brain make connections between conscious, unconscious, and subconscious mind. A good question to seek the answer to, though the way this article is worded leans towards the idea that we simply do things based on the body’s experience and without control, which doesn’t seem very wise in my opinion.

  60. What if we delete the word consciousness from all languages? As if it was never thought up. What are we left with to explain what happens every day? Don’t replace it with another word. Forget it entirely. It is a word based on theories. None of which have been proven to an extent to make consciousness something that needs explaining. I think we all need less trying to explain the things one can not explain. We are here rather than not. mom and dad did it on the bus on the way home from Woodstock. Why though? Can we focus more on our parents doing it rather than a word that isn’t even really a word?

  61. I love reading these articles, don’t get me wrong. I also hope consciousness is explained one day. Just take me as I am because you don’t have a choice.. you read therefore I am conscious.

  62. In other words criminals can no longer be held accountable for their crimes since they are just acting on unconscious impulses? Pretty sad that this nonsense passes for “science”.

  63. Someone wrote their thesis while on inhalants/whippets.

  64. One can go figure this out for themselves at a meditation retreat. No PhD or research grant required! They may be disappointed to learn that this new “theory” is well understood by meditation practitioners. This “theory” explains a mechanism that happens within consciousness but falls short of actually explaining consciousness.

  65. this is ridiculous !! another scientist trying to fool us!! we are intelligent beings that have had a veil placed over some strands of dna so we forget who we really are. we are now in process of having this veil removed as we evolve back to our natural state of Light beings with a crystalline structure.

  66. Gregory Dean Simons | October 26, 2022 at 12:19 am | Reply

    The more we learn, the less we know because our consciousness is finite.

  67. Gregory Dean Simons | October 26, 2022 at 12:32 am | Reply

    The more we learn, the less we know because our conscious is finite even though we exist in an infinite realm whether we’re conscious or not.

  68. Margie Rosenthal | October 26, 2022 at 4:26 am | Reply

    Neuroscientist, Sam Harris has been saying we have no free will and as proof, he offers the fact that we don’t even know where our thoughts come from before we think them. Don’t know if I agree, but that’s his take on the issue.

  69. There’s no agency, but you’ve explained this and it makes you feel something and it upsets others etc. Do you really not see the inherent contradiction in what you’re saying?

  70. Charles G. Shaver | October 26, 2022 at 7:50 am | Reply

    In addition to what I already posted, the two causes of mental disorder (as opposed to brain damage and/or disease) are 1) words with multiple meanings (confusion) and 2) the lack of punctuation (misdirection) in verbal communication. The slow functioning conscious mind can focus on and accurately interpret real time situations and stored memory while the variable speed subconscious to unconscious mind can’t. As per training and practice in secular mind power methods long ago, we naturally dip deep into less conscious states of mind many times minute and more so in times of stress and trauma. The more deeply we dip the more distorted our conclusions can become. In the absence of a more perfect spoken language [comma/pause] to minimize stress and trauma can help to minimize mental disorders of all kinds [period/end]

  71. And all of it is hallucinated because you, your brain, is locked inside your skull and only experiences the world through electrical impulses delivered to it by the nervous system. It has never seen anything, nor heard or tasted. It only received little electrical impulses and imagines what it means.

  72. T ARAVINDA PRABHU | October 26, 2022 at 11:10 pm | Reply

    Un acceptable recommendations. Our conciousness is universal and slwzys sync with the core. Once we develop the method to reach that state of conciousness. We better understand thst we are understanding the things which are prevailing,others can’t, as they not in that level of state. Subconscious mind is compulsive,mostly depending our past experience linked.

  73. Truly, What is Conciousness

  74. Sir, Do u still believe that u can know sth which is beyond your sense organs through your sense organs.sir i am telling you whatever you will find by researching.It will be a product of your own mind.
    Because human experiences are 100 % self created.

  75. The oldest treasure of knowledge is found in ancient Indian books and Sanatan thoughts. Nevertheless this is an interesting take abd article. I hope to read and self analyse more to find the real answer for myself.

  76. The mentalwisdom | October 28, 2022 at 4:26 pm | Reply

    Mental vomit theory

  77. I suppose we can still consider options, deliberate, anticipate, with degrees of freedom and constraint, act and learn from the consequences, and that it is still us doing it?

  78. This idea is not entirely new. I read a study more than 25 years ago detailing how our perceptions were delayed by 0.5 seconds and that our brains make us believe that we are perceiving the now.
    The researchers must be aware of this study.

  79. What is realitive here? And how does it exist in this theory?

  80. Nothing new for who may have attended Buddhist vipassana meditation

  81. Research ” dr. Jacobo grinberg”
    This will answer a lot of questions

  82. They are on the good path to finally realize that brain do not create consciousness but merely transforms it. Brain is just a radio receiver. It is silly to thing that music coming from radio speaker is made by little music band playing inside the radio 😂👍

  83. Lmao… These scientists are clearly on edibles. So when u act on those conscious thoughts, what are we doing it subconsciously? Gtfoh.

  84. Do you remember becoming aware of yourself as a child? I do a little.

  85. Judah Spindler | October 29, 2022 at 8:52 am | Reply

    I’m pretty sure conciousness resides within an electrical current. It might be, that all conciousness, is equal in this regard, but the matter the electrical current runs through combined with the geometrical formation that arises in regards to the complete circuit created within the body, controls the potency and nature of the conciousness. For example, the Holy Spirit of Christianity, might be when the structures of data storage in the brain, and the data within it, are configured in such a way as to properly reflect a belief that 1)the ten commandments are good laws and the reality of the individual’s degree of adherence to these laws 2) is organized in such a way as to create geometrical dimensions within the mind that are in almost the shape of a house, that when present in the mind allows the Holy Spirit to be contained.

  86. So science finally figured out what Ancient Indian Philosophy discovered… THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO. We are conditioned to have responses and reactions to things which gives us the illusion of a real choice in each moment.
    What Science always seems to miss is that those same ancient philosophies actually took that information and investigated it and also discovered ways to correct that automatic response and reaction through discipline and meditation.

  87. All Dualism so far! Language both seperates and unites experience simultaneously. The “clearing of being” a simultaneous opening up of, and a closing off at the same time. Poetry gives me a better approximation of my experience than science ever has. We cannot define without remainder. I like living in that space. There is wonder in my world! Love you all! P

  88. Counsciensness is like the light turned on, the manifest reality activated in our brain, whille our mind or psique is sorrounded by one latent reality that is not no t “clicked on” in our brain. Even so, darkness can also be a part of counsciensness.

  89. Counsciensness is like the light turned on, the manifest reality activated in our brain, whille our mind or psique is sorrounded by one latent reality that is not “clicked on”. Even so, darkness can also be a part of counsciensness.

  90. How is this different from Libet’s ideas?

  91. The brain… Mexhanical “training wheels” within the “playground” of time for the soul (“s7bconscious”) to learn to navigate before being released into the n3xt level of infinity (“ocean”, or “innterst8”)…

  92. What makes this so interesting here is that we appear to be… levels deep in the mexhanical framework… so rather than a dream within a dream… a playground within a playground within a…….

  93. Alan seems pretty much right to me. Still, the new theory implies that sports is too quick for the mechanism; a half second is a long time in wrestling, etc. But visuaization,, a mental form of rehearsal, solves that problem for the theory, and for a real life wrestler, or a Tae Kwon Do student. Either way, practice, practice, practice is the answer.
    BG Curme

  94. Sherwin Newman | October 29, 2022 at 10:20 pm | Reply

    Usually “scientists” can demonstrate new theories with proof. This is merely a virulent attempt to deny free will. This theory may apply to animals (perceptual level of consciousness) but not to the conceptual level of human consciousness. The “scientist” in this case is using sub-human or animal-like brains as models.

  95. I agree that “Consciousness” must follow acts that are performed so rapidly that they must be automatic and registeted afterwards, but this only postpones the question, as C must still occur at some point.

    We need to examine first of all whether C is an entity in its own right, and if so, what the minimal requirements are for it to exist.

    Then, only, can the mechanism by which this is achieved be tackled.

  96. I thought you’d was kind of established already with the whole subconscious making decisions before you consciously do? That’s the whole reasoning behind why it’s pointless to have an internal debate since you’re going to lose no matter what

  97. This* I guess I should’ve proof read that before posting

  98. when you refer consciousness as a computer, the subconscious would be hdd memory and consciousness ram memory + A.I. that constantly work (load memory) in different ways (awake, sleeping, choosing a choice)

  99. I think that those who are of the spiritual mind and who view consciousness in that way may be getting confussed with this definition of conciousness which is being made as a function of the brain, conscious thought vs unconscious though (scientifical). Where as “conciousness” in the metaphysical sense would be the spirit part of our selves which is part of the “oneness” or being one with the all that is, the connectivity of all souls, etc. I don’t belive that the authors of this definition mean to take away or trump “conciousness” in any way shape or form, it’s simpmy the appropriate terminology for that facet of the mind for them.

  100. Of course your memory records AFTER you take an action. How could you record something that has not happened yet? Of course we can recall past information and deduce outcomes, but it will not be recorded until perceived, either consciously or unconsciously.

  101. I consciously chose to make a comment on this just for the sake of reminding you all that you can consciously make choices and decisions and plans and goals. Don’t misunderstand what this research is saying.

  102. Interesting article.

    I think it somewhat complicates what “consciousness” is. Let me preface my comments by suggesting I perceive consciousness and awareness to be interdependent sides of the same coin, and were I to extend that analogy, the subconscious is the “side” of that coin. Some people have thick coins, some thin…some are rounded like marbles…some flat and a clear sharp edge…

    In simplest terms, consciousness/awareness is just another evolved layer of control…we eveolved from rounded minds where the separation of conscious/subconscious/awareness, didn’t exist, to flatter coins (or really, highly invaginated brains that are banks of coins stacked against themselves….)

    Consider that in the context of stress/trauma/survival responses, a more macro level to be sure, but one can resolve the concepts further in straightforward fashion. At its most basic, we animals have Fight and Flight responses. But when those survival responses are at odds, how can we enhance our survival when in danger? Well, we evolved other responses, like Freeze and Fawning (our capacity to fake/lie/manipulate a dangerous predator or situation).

    But to be able to “Fawn” we need to be able to anticipate the dangers represented by out environment. So we evolved resolving power. We evolved systems to perceive and anticipate other animal/human actions/words/emotions etc. Maybe those systems first evolved to give us fine motor control, for purely better Fight and Flight potential…but those same systems became adapted for more than Fight and Flight…

    In other contexts, in more primal scenarios, Awareness is the sum of multiple layers of learned programming that dictate conscious and unconscious choices that promote survival where we have inputs (external or internal) that seek to drive a physiological response through one of the 4 Fs.

    Those animals with greater consciousness/Awareness are those that can command their bodies to respond more adaptively to more variable and competing overlapping stimuli.

    Social structures and hierarchies can be explained as extensions of those neuronal and physiological systems evolved for Freeze and Fawning responses. Simultaneously, as social structures evolved, so did safety in numbers, and so Fight and Flight responses were less important to human survival than our ability to manipulate/lie or “fawn” within the emerging human societies where humans were the animals most threatening to other humans.

    In this sense, the paper upon which the OP is based is correct. The Coin that contains our (sub)consciousness/awareness is nothing more than a drive towards gaining better control over that which we lack control, so that we can better purchase our survival all through our evolutionary path through cave dwelling to city dwelling.

    The more complicated the inputs around which we must make survival choices, the more we need consciousness/awareness. There is nothing more special going on.

    In today’s society, we are beginning to grasp at being aware that evolving within our own lifetime means needing to understand how to push the bounds of our consciousness and awareness, more so than ever before…

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