Natural selection can favour ‘irrational’ behaviour
J. M. McNamara1, P. C. Trimmer2 and A. I. Houston2
1School of Mathematics, University of Bristol, University Walk, Bristol BS8
2School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road,
Bristol BS8 1UG, UK
Understanding decisions is the fundamental aim of the behavioural sciences.
The theory of rational choice is based on axiomatic principles such as
transitivity and independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA). Empirical
studies have demonstrated that the behaviour of humans and other animals
often seems irrational; there can be a lack of transitivity in choice and
seemingly irrelevant alternatives can alter decisions. These violations of
transitivity and IIA undermine rational choice theory. However, we show
that an individual that is maximizing its rate of food gain can exhibit
failure of transitivity and IIA. We show that such violations can be caused
because a current option may disappear in the near future or a better
option may reappear soon. Current food options can be indicative of food
availability in the near future, and this key feature can result in
apparently irrational behaviour.
Source: The Royal Society [Open Access Paper]
On Friday, January 17, 2014 7:46:04 AM UTC-5, Edgar L. Owen wrote:
> This has nothing to do with consciousness, but it may have something to do
> with the origin of free will.
> Discovery of quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons
> corroborates controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousnessJanuary 16,
> *[+]* <http://www.kurzweilai.net/images/Microtubule.png>
> *Structure of a microtubule. The ring shape depicts a microtubule in
> cross-section, showing the 13 protofilaments surrounding a hollow center.
> (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)*
> A review and
> update<http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513001188> of
> a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness published in
> Elsevier’s *Physics of Life Reviews* (open access) claims that
> consciousness derives from deeper-level, finer-scale activities inside
> brain neurons.
> The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain
> neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors Stuart
> Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves)
> also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations, and that from a
> practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a
> host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.
> Microtubules <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microtubule> are major
> components of the structural skeleton of cells.
> The theory, called “orchestrated objective
> (‘Orch OR’), was first put forward in the mid-1990s by eminent mathematical
> physicist Sir Roger Penrose, FRS, Mathematical Institute and Wadham
> College, University of Oxford, and prominent anesthesiologist Stuart
> Hameroff, MD, Anesthesiology, Psychology and Center for Consciousness
> Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson.
> *Three time-steps (e.g. at 10 megahertz) of a microtubule automaton.
> Tubulin subunit dipole states (yellow, blue) represent information. (Left
> three) Spin currents interact and compute along spiral lattice pathways.
> For example (upper, middle in each microtubule) two upward traveling blue
> spin waves intersect, generating a new vertical spin wave (a “glider gun”
> in cellular automata). (Right three) A general microtubule automata
> process. (Credit: P. Dustin, Microtubules, Springer-Verlag)*
> They suggested that quantum vibrational computations in microtubules were
> “orchestrated” (“Orch”) by synaptic inputs and memory stored in
> microtubules, and terminated by Penrose “objective reduction” (‘OR’), hence
> “Orch OR.”
> *Warm quantum coherence*
> Orch OR was harshly criticized from its inception, as the brain was
> considered too “warm, wet, and noisy” for seemingly delicate quantum
> processes. However, evidence has now shown warm quantum coherence in plant
> photosynthesis, bird brain navigation, our sense of smell, and brain
> The recent discovery of warm-temperature quantum vibrations in
> microtubules inside brain neurons by the research group led by Anirban
> Bandyopadhyay, PhD, at the National Institute of Material Sciences in
> Tsukuba, Japan (and now at MIT), corroborates the pair’s theory and
> suggests that EEG rhythms also derive from deeper level microtubule
> In addition, work from the laboratory of Roderick G. Eckenhoff, MD, at the
> University of Pennsylvania, suggests that anesthesia, which selectively
> erases consciousness while sparing non-conscious brain activities, acts via
> microtubules in brain neurons.
> “The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the
> nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations
> among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in
> some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?” ask
> Hameroff and Penrose in the current review.
> “This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both
> these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in
> microtubules (protein polymers inside brain neurons), which govern neuronal
> and synaptic function, and also connect brain processes to self-organizing
> processes in the fine scale, ‘proto-conscious’ quantum structure of
> After 20 years of skeptical criticism, “the evidence now clearly supports
> Orch OR,” continue Hameroff and Penrose. “Our new paper updates the
> evidence, clarifies Orch OR quantum bits, or “qubits,” as helical pathways
> in microtubule lattices, rebuts critics, and reviews 20 testable
> predictions of Orch OR published in 1998 — of these, six are confirmed and
> none refuted.”
> *Hidden origins of EEG*
> An important new facet of the theory is introduced. Microtubule quantum
> vibrations (e.g. in the megahertz frequency range) appear to interfere and
> produce much slower EEG “beat frequencies.” Despite a century of clinical
> use, the underlying origins of EEG rhythms have remained a mystery.
> Clinical trials of brief brain stimulation — aimed at microtubule
> resonances with megahertz mechanical vibrations using transcranial
> ultrasound — have shown reported improvements in mood, and may prove useful
> against Alzheimer’s disease and brain injury in the future.
> Lead author Stuart Hameroff concludes, “Orch OR is the most rigorous,
> comprehensive and successfully-tested theory of consciousness ever put
> forth. From a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations
> could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.”
> The review is accompanied by eight commentaries from outside authorities,
> including an Australian group of Orch OR arch-skeptics. To all, Hameroff
> and Penrose respond robustly.
> Penrose, Hameroff and Bandyopadhyay will explore their theories during a
> session on “Microtubules and the Big Consciousness Debate” at the
> Brainstorm Sessions, a public three-day event at the Brakke Grond in
> Amsterdam, the Netherlands, January 16-18,
> They will engage skeptics in a debate on the nature of consciousness, and
> Bandyopadhyay and his team will couple microtubule vibrations from active
> neurons to play Indian musical instruments. “Consciousness depends on
> anharmonic vibrations of microtubules inside neurons, similar to certain
> kinds of Indian music, but unlike Western music, which is harmonic,”
> Hameroff explains.
> *Full disclosure: I have collaborated with Jack Tuszynski, a co-author
> with Hameroff, in developing patent applications related to microtubules. —
> Amara D. Angelica*
> *Abstract of Consciousness in the universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’
> The nature of consciousness, the mechanism by which it occurs in the
> brain, and its ultimate place in the universe are unknown. We proposed in
> the mid 1990ʼs that consciousness depends on biologically ‘orchestrated’
> coherent quantum processes in collections of microtubules within brain
> neurons, that these quantum processes correlate with, and regulate,
> neuronal synaptic and membrane activity, and that the continuous
> Schrödinger evolution of each such process terminates in accordance with
> the specific Diósi–Penrose (DP) scheme of ‘objective reduction’ (‘OR’) of
> the quantum state. This orchestrated OR activity (‘Orch OR’) is taken to
> result in moments of conscious awareness and/or choice. The DP form of OR
> is related to the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and space–time
> geometry, so Orch OR suggests that there is a connection between the
> brainʼs biomolecular processes and the basic structure of the universe.
> Here we review Orch OR in light of criticisms and developments in quantum
> biology, neuroscience, physics and cosmology. We also introduce a novel
> suggestion of ‘beat frequencies’ of faster microtubule vibrations as a
> possible source of the observed electro-encephalographic (‘EEG’) correlates
> of consciousness. We conclude that consciousness plays an intrinsic role in
> the universe.
> - Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose, Consciousness in the universe: A
> review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory, Physics of Life Reviews, Aug. 20,
> - Discovery of Quantum Vibrations in “Microtubules” Inside Brain
> Neurons Corroborates Controversial 20-Year-Old Theory of
> *Topics:* Cognitive Science/Neuroscie
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