Levels of Consciousness

John Holland – University of Michigan

Abstract: A salt-grained-sized piece (.001cm3) of neo-cortex contains over 109 distinct loops of connected neurons, causing a continuing recirculation of neural firing spikes (which occur continually, asleep or awake, at the rate of at least 5 to 10 spikes/sec.). It is my hypothesis that higher levels of consciousness both depend upon and are implemented by these loops.

Biography: John H. Holland is a professor of Psychology and a professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). He is also an external professor and member of the Board of Trustees at the Santa Fe Institute, a MacArthur Fellow, a Fellow of the World Economic Forum, and a member of the External Academic Advisory Committee of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (AMSS). His main research interests are complex adaptive systems (natural and artificial), and computer-executable models of cognitive processes. His most recent book SIGNALS AND BOUNDARIES (published by MIT Press in 2013) is now a paperback, and a new book titled COMPLEXITY (commissioned by Oxford University Press for its VSI series) will be released in late Spring 2014.