Brain ‘Entanglement’ Could Explain Memories
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Subatomic particles do it. Now the observation that groups of brain cells seem to have their own version of quantum entanglement, or “spooky action at a distance”, could help explain how our minds combine experiences from many different senses into one memory.
Previous experiments have shown that the electrical activity of neurons in separate parts of the brain can oscillate simultaneously at the same frequency – a process known as “phase locking.” The frequency seems to be a signature that marks out neurons working on the same task, allowing them to identify each other.
According to research by Dietmar Pienz and Tara Thiagarajan at the National Institute of Mental Health, unique patterns of electrical signals (“coherence potentials”) are “cloned” or spread to neurons in different areas of the brain.
The purpose of coherence potentials may be to trigger activity in the various parts of the brain that store aspects of the same experience. So a smell or taste, say, might trigger a coherence potential that then activates the same potential in neurons in the visual part of the brain.