DOI: 10.14704/nq.2011.9.3.409

The Binding Problem in the Light of Quantum Physics

Pierre Uzan


Inter-neuronal conduction is too slow to explain the quasi-instantaneous, long-range synchronisation of neuronal discharges that seems to be required for the binding of information in the brain. This paper aims to evaluate to what extent the dissipative quantum model of the brain could bring a new light on this difficulty of classical neurobiology. This model extends Ricciardi’s and Umezawa’s proposition to represent the collective brain activity, and, in particular, the memorization process within the framework of quantum field theory. It explains the rapid formation of large patterns of synchronized oscillations of the electric dipoles carried by water molecules and macromolecules of the brain as a consequence of the spontaneous breaking of their rotational symmetry, as well as the superposition of these patterns of oscillation at different frequencies in the same area of the brain. However, it is argued that this model can really contribute to explain the temporal binding of information provided that it could establish a genuine correspondence between the description of the brain’s dynamics it gives in terms of dipolar molecules field and spontaneous symmetry breaking and the usual, classical description of the brain’s activity in terms of neurons, action potential, biomolecular achitectures and specialized areas. Moreover, if the latter question regarding the information integration process could be overcome with further experimental and theoretical researches, it is explained that no convincing explanation of conscious experience can be given in such a model of the brain. Suggestions are made in order to overcome these difficulties.


brain, quantum field theory, spontaneous breaking of symmetry, conscious experience

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