Scientists Use Physics to Understand the Mystery of Consciousness

Physics of Consciousness

The study is potentially applicable to humans and reflects a growing interest in new theories of consciousness that are experimentally testable.

An international study involving Monash physicists has confirmed a new approach to measuring consciousness, potentially changing our understanding of complex neurological problems.

The study published yesterday in Physical Review Research describes how tools from physics and complexity theory were used to determine the level of consciousness in fruit flies.

“This is a major problem in neuroscience, where it is crucial to differentiate between unresponsive vegetative patients and those suffering from a condition in which a patient is aware but cannot move or communicate verbally because of complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body,” said study author Dr. Kavan Modi, from the Monash University School of Physics and Astronomy.

The research team, which includes Dr. Modi, Ph.D. candidate Roberto Muñoz also from the School of Physics and Astronomy, and Monash University Psychology Associate Professor Nao Tsuchiya, has found a way to measure the level of conscious arousal in fruit flies using the complex signals produced by the brain.

“Our technique allows us to distinguish between flies that have been anesthetized and those that have not, by calculating the time-complexity of the signals,” said Dr. Modi.

“The study is significant because it highlights an objective way to measure conscious arousal, based on well-established ideas from complexity theory,” he said.

“It is potentially applicable to humans — and it reflects a growing interest in new theories of consciousness that are experimentally testable.”

The research team studied the brain signals produced by 13 fruit flies both when they were awake and when they were anesthetized. They then analyzed the signals to see how complex they were.

“We found the statistical complexity to be larger when a fly is awake than when the same fly is anesthetized,” Dr. Modi said.

“This is important because it suggests a reliable way to determine the level of conscious arousal by tapping into a small region of the brain, rather than many parts of the brain.

“It also suggests that there is a clear marker of conscious arousal that does not depend on specific external stimuli.”

The researchers concluded that applying a similar analysis to other datasets, in particular, human EEG data could lead to new discoveries regarding the relationship between consciousness and complexity.

Reference: “General anesthesia reduces complexity and temporal asymmetry of the informational structures derived from neural recordings in Drosophila” by Roberto N. Muñoz, Angus Leung, Aidan Zecevik, Felix A. Pollock, Dror Cohen, Bruno van Swinderen, Naotsugu Tsuchiya and Kavan Modiay, 22 May 2020, Physical Review Research.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.023219

31 Comments on "Scientists Use Physics to Understand the Mystery of Consciousness"

  1. Change title of this article to…
    …Scientists are understanding more about physical complexities taking place for cognition…

    That consciousness awareness mindfulness experience existence reality…are not physical…
    …but we can’t have one with out the other…for…

  2. Sondra Sneed | June 7, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Reply

    Oh brother. Until scientists study the magnetic field around the body, and it’s diverse effects on the body, no tests will conclude anything about consciousness and it’s neurological pathway.

  3. Quantum observation is the nub of conciousness and reality..
    Experimental validation ..
    But,of what?

  4. Om Isha vasyam idam sarvam, yat kincha jagatyam jagat’
    ॐ ईशा वास्यमिदँ सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् ।
    तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम् 
    “All this- whatever exists in this changing universe, is pervaded by consciousness”
    –Isa Upanishad .5000-BCE
    The ancient Vedic rishis in all their wisdom said as early as 8000 BC , that our universe is not woven from  matter but consciousness . (They never patent there knowledge there own name) There are connections between quantum mechanics and consciousness . Consciousness is the intelligence, the organising principle behind the arising of form. The quantum field or pure consciousness is influenced by intention and desire.
    All atoms in the entire universe are capable of mind reading and communicating with other atoms. There is a consciousness in every molecule of matter.
    As per quantum physics things do not exist in its physical form, unless they are observed by a conscious observer.
    In every experiment when an observer expected energy to behave as a particle, it did so. When he thought it would probably be wave-like, it was. And when observers believed it might start out as one form and end up as another, it did so. 
    This means ,nothing actually exists in its physical form until observed by someone, was adopted by the group as one of the concepts.  You created them by your expectations and your thoughts of what should be. In every situation in your life, including the wealth or lack of it you choose to attract to you. 
    Thanks to the theory of ERP Quantum Entanglement, originally asserted by Albert Einstein and two fellow scientists , Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, we now have proof that what Vedanta had been saying for 9000 years is true.We are all connected. We are all One, sharing a consciousness with the entire universe, perhaps even many universes. 
    All atoms in the entire universe are capable of mind reading and communicating with other atoms. Our consciousness is a cosmic DVD player

    The whole of material creation is conscious.   Our consciousness creates our reality. What our consciousness can conceive , it can also create.

    Human beings are conscious. They can see themselves in the mirror and see colours, while an animal cannot.

    The brain is governed by the laws of quantum physics rather than the laws of biology or neurophysiology.

    “All material and spiritual phenomena of the universe are present in the individual. Similarly, all those present in the individual are also contained in the universe. This is how the wise desire to perceive.”
    Every atom within us depends on the rest of the cosmos. 

    We are NOT independent from this cosmos. We are part of it. This is the reason we must live in harmony with the laws of the universe by exercising our free will.

    Life is a combination or physical, intellectual and spiritual aspects. Without spiritual development , man is without love or positive emotions ( affection, care, respect, sympathy ) .  

    To be successful you must be exited about life. Life is a festival only to those who live with enthusiasm.  Lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. 

    Good manners are the best letters of recommendation.  Bad manners reduce our acceptability in society, thereby affecting our social relations. A good laugh is the best medicine..  Laughter is a tranquiliser with no side effects.  Laughter is the cheapest luxury, it electrifies the nerves and cleanse the system.

    Love is food for the soul. Jealousy is poison for the soul.  Better to forgive and forget than hate and remember. Fear tends to produce the things we are afraid of.
    You must fight and make your own life on the planet. Don’t expect anybody else to do it for you.  Make most of the best and least of the worst. Man alone is the architect of his destiny.  Inaction is worse than no action at all. 
    Karma is the result of your actions.  If you do something good, you will get good tings in return and if you do bad things, you will get likewise in return.

    Karma or the actions that you do in the present life is passed on to the next life.  But fate is not passed on to the next life.

    Dharma is when we are walking the path of our soul’s purpose. When we are walking our path we are out of karma. We are no longer creating cause and effect. We are in flow with the universe, with our spirit. Our soul is line with the Divine.

    ‘Manu-Smiti’- 5000BC describes the code for leading a disciplined way of life.

    Patience, Pardon, Suppression of will, Stay away from Theft, Purity, Control of desires, Wisdom, Knowledge, Truth, Controlling Anger. These 10 qualities are considered as main characteristics of the Dharma.

    धृति: क्षमा दमो अस्तेयम्,
    शौचम् इन्द्रियनिग्रहः ।
    धीं विद्या सत्यम् अक्रोधः,
    दशकं धर्म-लक्षणम् ।।
    -(मनुस्मृति-धर्मलक्षणम्) -5000BC

    “You do not have a soul , you are a soul and you have a body “

  5. John Parfitt | June 8, 2020 at 1:21 am | Reply

    I am the real deal! Transmutated, dna activated and able to many multi-dimensional features including lay lines, electrons in the brain, (spinal cord, etc.) with auras around them inside of bodies and the skeleton aura. it appears as a soft glowing grewn

  6. Amit: Not sure why you think Neolithic people have answers for quantum effects. No old txt speaks off SRT.

    Your religion is just misguided sexuality. Sexuality was before religion.

  7. Uh, this has been known for a long time in Neuroscience.

  8. What do you expect consciousness to be? I mean do you expect a photo of consciousness? A number? A shape?
    Probably most scientists are searching for something wrong.
    As physics explains matter but don’t show it, the same we may expect from searching for consciousness

  9. Conscious is mind and and it has only GUNA(attributes) not physical.That is EKATVA(OMNIPRESENT) AND ANUTVA (MINUTNESS).

  10. KyrieAnna Meade | June 8, 2020 at 7:38 am | Reply

    The Research is Much Needed considering most hospital’s don’t perform the $2.00 test to find if a person has a Cholinesterase Def. B4 surgery, & even 1 Life Passing On out of 2,000 average is not acceptable bs, ’cause it’s total paralysis from anesthesia; Stage 5 is death.
    ‘Complexity Theory’ sounds like a “Rabbit Hole”, that needs to be avoided & reFocused from rabbit hole theories to the Actual Theorem. Our time is short on earth, make a Positive Difference For Real,
    Thank You.

  11. So that’s how you get around the hard problem of consciousness – just equate it with cognition?

    Whenever scientific materialists delve into consciousness, the outcome always feels so sad and emaciated. There is always an underlying assumption that complexity must bootstrap consciousness. What if that is just a fundamental error that is being made?

    With the most respect, I think these researchers need to finally drop Kant and Descartes, take a time-out from their busy schedules and start reflecting on their fundamental assumptions about reality.

  12. Closed systems cannot contemplate themselves intelligently. The Universe is a closed system. (We “are part” of that Universe. [I.e. “Are” the Universe.]
    We cannot contemplate our contemplation.
    Yet we do.
    We contemplate ourselves “third-party” from a supra-universal intellect. A.k.a.A supra-natural intelligence.
    A closed system cannot contemplate itself,(intelligently).

  13. Vignesh Raman | June 8, 2020 at 8:47 am | Reply

    Consciousness is awareness, knowing. It is an experience and is not limited to humans. Conciousness is more pronounced in humans than in other creatures. The tools of human experience are the five senses beyond which nothing would possibly be experienced. In a way, consciousness is quantifiable. Some physicists argue, brain houses consciousness and consciousness is seated deep inside the brain in the form quatum energy. They also claim, When advanced brain studies emerge, the enigma of consciousness will be fully revealed. While other scientists ponder about the immensity of the complexity that is being dealt with and resort humble approach that the subject itself is beyond human understanding and comprehension and hence should be better left untouched as science could never possibly explain the phenomenon. Philosophers hold a different perspective that consciousness is the underlying basis of all existence. Meaning, consciousness construct matter. Atoms and molecules, the very representation of matter that pervades the entire universe, that with which we all are made of reside in consciousness. When we closely analyze different views, there seems to be a lack of clarity when all views are put together. When a brain is damaged, the ability of an individual’s sensory perceptions and cognizance is highly impacted, damaged, or diminished. The very experience itself is reduced to a lesser state of awareness. This shows brain has influence over consciousness and reinforces the fact that consciousness alone cannot exist in solitude that both brain and consciousness must coexist. As per their view the big question is whether consciousness relates to brain with an outside relationship or is consciousness part of the brain itself? Whereas, philosophers those who are the proponents of ideas such telepathy, psychokinesis, and clairvoyance are strongly of the view that brain is incapable of recognizing and dealing with the phenomenon called extra-sensory perceptions that is the testament of the fact that consciousness is put up outside the realm of brain. People’s near death experiences explain their experiences in a deep state of unconsciousness. People in vegetative state experience very minimal brain activity. People in dream state also have experiences as if they are true. It has not been scientifically proven that NDEs are related to coma though both demonstrate similar characteristics but producing opposite results. After-life talks about the journey of the consciousness. Research also suggests that some children at the age between 2 and 3 have demonstrated the ability to recount the memories of their previous life with impeccable precision in the information provided about their past lives. But, the studies also show that the distribution of such cases are not uniform and also inconsistently distributed across the world thus failing to affix a proof and therefore largely viewed as an hypothesis. If indeed, this phenomenon is scientifically proven in the foreseeable future, then consciousness must be the carrier of the past-life information and should therefore act as a storehouse of after-life memories and absence of which disproves the fact that the children being discussed in the present context could not possibly access the information from the brain, the source of information processing center as the brain itself is in a state of infancy and hardly have any rich outside experience. There is an another theory called as information theory which states that perceptual information reides in small part of the brain called quasir. Here the information is received, processed, turned into experience that is unique and definitive. Interesting little nugget. In the end, one thing is for sure, whether consciousness is inside the brain or outside of it could be a mystery but the very existence of it cannot be refuted.

  14. Marie-Josee Brault | June 8, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Reply

    Ty amrit for re-minding us of the quantum essence being left out here. I still dont understand “what” they think they are measuring other than chemically detected brain patterns. This is not consciousness…this is neurology. Simple.

  15. My own consciuos verdict is that Consciousness is so much align to to quantum physics trying very hard to explain spirituality in the universe. And indeed Consciuosness is the spirituality of this universe. Again I might add, this is still a personal vindication…

  16. Christopher Ellis | June 8, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Reply

    Can tell if a fruit fly is anæstheitsed or not. 🙏 The rest is supposition.

  17. wow its so interesting

  18. Omg look at all of you lot. A bunch of dualism who really think consciousness is some fundamental component of the universe. First things first real external objects do exist even if we don’t observer them. The freaken moon Is still there if no one is looking. Nothing depends on us ridiculous humans who are not special by the way. Science is developing quite nicely without you crazy new age pot heads who can’ stop saying “quantum consciousness” woo hoo.

  19. Matt, you have made science into your God. You have to believe in it, it seems concrete, like the moon. You cling to it and you shun others who do not believe what you believe.Ask yourself, what are you afraid of? The truth will remain the truth whatever you or I think about it, you need certainty, I do not.

  20. I am very enthusiastic about what is being done here. The whole abortion/pro-life debate hinges on whether a fetus is sentient or not. It isn’t about human life. An amputated limb is alive but it isn’t sentient. Until we can determine whether an unborn baby is sentient or not, it is immorally presumptuous to terminate their existence.

  21. Daniel L. Morin | January 11, 2021 at 7:17 pm | Reply

    I like you, usually, present interesting information. In this case you have preseted what amounts to “click bate”. Shame on you. The commentary by all whom have written, both for and against, is by far a much more interesting conversation. If i see such “click bate” again I will not read this content any longer.

  22. have been conducting Cymatic consciousness experiments for a few years. I have contacted several scientists over the years to ultimately be ignored and not taken seriously. No hard feelings though. Over the years you learn to build thick skin and put yourself in their shoes. The senses that can perceive cosmic frequencies can sound crazy. What has been learned over the years… Some scientists are only as open minded as the people who fund them. There are constraints to those eager to be published or continue to be funded. Ive contacted NASA. As well as All in Musk. And if I sounded inarticulate or crazy to so many scientists contacted, an apology is due. But the research continues independtly. The universe is an amazing place. Very excited to see more people look deeper into the frequencies that make us who we are. Much love and keep asking questions.The truth is in there.

  23. By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it;
    And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;-
    Truly he succeeds that purifies it,
    And he fails that corrupts it!

  24. We already fully understand consciousness; science just doesn’t care to see it because it is more of an experiential phenomenon than it is a proveable one. The closest we can get to proving what consciousness is, is via quantum mechanics; more specifically, via the heisenburg uncertainty principle. The brain does not create consciousness. The biochemical goings-on of the brain are a by-product of consciousness: the body’s reaction to consciousness. Everything is fully explained by Dr. David R. Hawkins’ research in the levels of consciousness. His research even explains why science, and all but 4% of the world’s population, cannot understand, or believe, what consciousness is: they are not ready (they have an inadequate level of consciousness). Also, it is important to understand that God and Consciousness are one in the same thing, and that religious views that describe God as being punitive and vengeful, are false. There are consequences for actions that are the opposite of forgiving and loving, but they are described by the concepts of universal karma, not by a punitive God who is responsible for loss and suffering. Those states are created by each of us, on our own, and collectively.

  25. Thank you tiny eeg diods for giving us a glimpse into the mind of a fruit fly. Wait a minute… How could you moniter their complex signal paths.

  26. Max Planck’s statement: “I regard
    consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.
    We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything
    that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    By the time neuroscience agree to quantum mechanics.

  27. I have read your article on your research of consciousness existence. In this regard, I would like to share with you some of the spiritual facts regarding this. According to the saints who have travelled out of body, and one of the Saint is my living teacher (Guru) in India.

    Consciousness is a vibrating ‘word’ which has light and sound and it has created the universe. This word is in form of soul in the bodies of all the creatures on this planet. You can hear this words sound when your Guru initiates you.

    It has no form, no color, no sign.
    It has sound and light.
    It is not born, it is eternal.
    It is the creative power. Everything exists due to this.
    Everything dies when word is brought back by God. God is ocean and it is drop only which created the universe.

    There are 8.4 million creatures including Humans.

    It is intelligence and can be felt and realized only that ” I am, I exist”.
    No one can not see it.
    It can’t be described but realized only. The feeling of ‘I am’ remains after death also and it is immortal, eternal, forever, it never dies nor can be destroyed.

    For more information please don’t hesitate to ask. You are welcome.


    Chandan Bhasin
    New Delhi
    What’s app No.+919958221309

  28. Abed Peerally | April 27, 2021 at 8:22 am | Reply

    My second book to be published soon will first explain what is consciousness physically and how possibly it originated. We will surprisingly realize how realistic is the belief scientifically that we are indeed an image of the Supernatural. Isn’t that the most plausible and realistic manner to understand consciousness?

  29. Lotta comments here seeming altogether too certain they *know* the “answer” to consciousness. Intuitively, panpsychism makes the most sense to me, with consciousness being a fundamental property of matter/or matter itself being formed of consciousness, but I don’t presume that that’s any more likely to be the case than any other explanations with similarly little conclusive evidence.

  30. Consciousness is not visible nor has any form.
    But it is vibration having sound and light called soul, the creative power.No experiment Will be fruitful..

  31. Abed Peerally | June 18, 2021 at 7:47 am | Reply

    It needs be realised that in terms of what is the ultimate nature of consciousness we need an explanation that makes sense. In other words an explanation that explains the physics behind consciousness. It would be a concept that firmly establishes the ultimate origin of consciousness. That will of course be discussed and analyzed to the extent possible. This concept is being described in my coming second book.we will see that inevitably every reality has the potential of consciousness. Clearly this potential is most developed in humans. But as we know the simplest of organisms like the Paramecium clearly is conscious.

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.