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Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 2004, Issue 1, Pages 51-73

Quantum theory and consciousness: an overview with selected examples

1Department of Theory and Data Analysis, Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, Freiburg 79098, Germany
2Center for Interdisciplinary Plasma Science, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching 85740, Germany

Received 27 January 2004; Revised 9 February 2004

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It is widely accepted that consciousness or, in other words, mental activity is in some way correlated to the behavior of the brain or, in other words, material brain activity. Since quantum theory is the most fundamental theory of matter that is currently available, it is a legitimate question to ask whether quantum theory can help us to understand consciousness. Several approaches answering this question affirmatively, proposed in recent decades, will be surveyed. It will be pointed out that they make different epistemological assumptions, refer to different neurophysiological levels of description, and adopt quantum theory in different ways. For each of the approaches discussed, these imply both problematic and promising features which will be indicated.