DOI: 10.14704/nq.2016.14.2.935

A Three-Layered Model for Consciousness States

Arushi Kak, Abhinav Gautam, Subhash Kak


This paper presents a general three-level framework to represent different states of consciousness. Although awareness, by itself, is an all-or-nothing phenomenon, the state of consciousness depends on the degree to which preconscious and memory states are accessible to awareness. The relative ability to recruit these states and integrate distributed neural activity has a corresponding effect on the state of attention which can, therefore, be measured on a spectrum. Research in anesthesiology showing an uncoupling of perception from sensory inputs supports the idea of the disembodied consciousness state. We propose a three-level hierarchical model to explain these findings. The higher level nodes in this model are non-physical and they leave their trace in the non-local binding of activity across regions that are far apart. The activity across the brain can be quantified using an entropy-based metric and the non-physical nodes corresponding to consciousness states may be governed by quantum dynamics.


consciousness states; neural correlates of consciousness; hierarchical processing; perception sensation decoupling; quantum neural processing

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The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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