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Hebert, John Russell
Restructuring consciousness theory from its foundation in light of Maharishi Vedic Science.

Order No. 3318942

Most contemporary neuroscience theories of consciousness are object-referral based on zero-lag phase synchrony in the gamma frequency. The alpha frequency has for the most part been left out of consciousness theory, even though it is the first frequency to appear in the EEG upon waking up and the first to disappear during sleep onset. This orientation of neuroscience to object-referral consciousness reflects a classical physics, reductionist model of consciousness. Maharishi Vedic Science presents a different theoretical perspective on consciousness, a model that includes object-referral consciousness but in addition includes what is called self-referral consciousness. Alpha was selected for study because of previous work showing enhanced alpha coherence during Transcendental Meditation. Also alpha in Transcendental Meditation may be linked to self-referral consciousness.

The study examines the EEG alpha phase synchrony in fifteen long-term practitioners of Transcendental Meditation who were investigated during eyes-closed and Transcendental Meditation practice. Twelve controls were evaluated for EEG changes during eyes-closed rest.

The study found higher alpha phase synchrony. Subsequent re-analysis of the data also found higher long-range alpha coherence during Transcendental Meditation compared to eyes closed. Significant changes were found globally and most prominently in long-range EEG connections during meditation practice as compared to eyes-closed resting. No changes were found in controls. The alpha coherence findings replicate previous findings. The alpha phase synchrony is a new finding.

The results are used to describe stationary zero-lag alpha as the benchmark of consciousness. The beginning point or "ground state" may consist of a zero-lag whole-head alpha field associated with subjectively unified states during Transcendental Meditation. The finding of phase synchrony over the whole cortex gives evidence for stationary standing wave patterns.

The results suggest that alpha is the primary resonant frequency of the brain capable of generating standing waves. In addition, physicists have laid importance on global EEG phase patterns in the brain as a link to resonance phenomena in quantum models. Thus, the dissertation research and theoretical discussions presents a paradigm shift from gamma orientation to alpha; a turnaround in emphasis from object-referral to self-referral orientation, and a shift from classical physics to a quantum physics model.

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