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Robert & Suzanne Mays - NDEs & Neural Correlates Consciousness


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Robert & Suzanne Mays Robert & Suzanne Mays - NDEs and the Neural Correlates Consciousness

The phenomenology of near-death experiences (NDEs) strongly suggests the existence of a separate, autonomous mind or psyche. In an NDE, the mind exists and operates independent of the physical brain and body, having (1) a sense of separation from the body, with freedom from pain and disabilities; (2) lucid thought processes and hyperreal perceptions with veridical information beyond ordinary physical senses and prior knowledge; (3) real, albeit subtle, interactions with physical processes; and (4) accurate memory recall of past events and the formation of vivid, indelible memories of NDE events. In some cases, the mind entity can be seen and heard objectively by others at a distance from the body. If the mind entity is real, there should be ample evidence of its presence in brain processes during ordinary waking consciousness. We propose that the two neural correlates of the mind-brain interface are (1) the characteristic pauses in neural activation seen in brain EEG and MEG recordings, indicating mental activity during such cases as perception, language comprehension and working memory; and (2) the characteristic increases in neural activation in progressive brain regions, indicating the process of the mental content coming to consciousness from unconscious detection to full awareness. We present examples of interpreting patterns in EEG and MEG recordings in rapid visual categorization, auditory and visual language comprehension and face recognition tasks. The mind-entity hypothesis has greater explanatory power over physicalist brain-production theories in explaining not only the phenomena associated with NDEs but also ordinary neurological phenomena like perception and language comprehension, as well as a number of the enigmas of consciousness, such as the “hard problem” and the “binding problem.”

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