Consciousness is linked to the laws of the universe
Our brains are programmed to make the most of chaos, just like the universe is, according to a team of scientists.
Despite the subject being debated for centuries, experts are still unclear what exactly consciousness is and why we are aware of our surroundings.
However, an international team of experts believe that they may have cracked it – and it could be linked to entropy.
In physics, the second law of thermodynamics dictates that entropy – the degree of chaos – is ever increasing in the universe as time progresses.
The entropy of the universe has been increasing since the Big Bang
For example, at the very beginning of the universe, before the Big Bang, everything was in order.
However, following the Big Bang, the particles became chaotic as everything began to disperse, and the entropy is still increasing to this day.
A team of scientists have now applied the theory of entropy to the human consciousness, and they believe that our brain follows a similar pattern.
Entropy defines the state of the universe
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To test this, they gathered nine people, seven of whom had epilepsy, and established statistical mechanics to model their neuron networks.
They found that the participants brains showed higher signs of entropy when they were conscious.
Scientists are still not entirely sure what consciousness is
The study, published in Physical Review E, read: “We sought to identify features of brain organisation that are optimal for sensory processing, and that may guide the emergence of cognition and consciousness, by analysing neurophysiological recordings in conscious and unconscious states.
“We find a surprisingly simple result: normal wakeful states are characterised by the greatest number of possible configurations of interactions between brain networks, representing highest entropy values.
“Therefore, the information content is larger in the network associated to conscious states, suggesting that consciousness could be the result of an optimisation of information processing.
“It has been proposed that aspects of awareness emerge when certain levels of complexity are reached.
"It is then possible that the organisation (complexity) needed for consciousness to arise requires the maximum number of configurations that allow for a greater variety of interactions between cell assemblies because this structure leads to optimal segregation and integration of information.”