Quantum Physics and the Multiplicity of Mind: Split-Brains, Fragmented Minds, Dissociation, Quantum Consciousness

Quantum Physics and the Multiplicity of Mind: Split-Brains, Fragmented Minds, Dissociation, Quantum Consciousness

R. Gabriel Joseph, Ph.D.

Journal of Cosmology, 2009, Vol 3, pages 600-640.


Quantum physics and Einstein's theory of relativity make assumptions about the nature of the mind which is assumed to be a singularity. In the Copenhagen model of physics, the process of observing is believed to effect reality by the act of perception and knowing which creates abstractions and a collapse function thereby inducing discontinuity into the continuum of the quantum state. This gives rise to the uncertainty principle. Yet neither the mind or the brain is a singularity, but a multiplicity which include two dominant streams of consciousness and awareness associated with the left and right hemisphere, as demonstrated by patients whose brains have been split, and which are superimposed on yet other mental realms maintained by the brainstem, thalamus, limbic system, and the occipital, temporal, parietal, and frontal lobes. Like the quantum state, each of these minds may also become discontinuous from each other and each mental realm may perceive their own reality. Illustrative examples are detailed, including denial of blindness, blind sight, fragmentation of the body image, phantom limbs, the splitting of the mind following split-brain surgery, and dissociative states where the mind leaves the body and achieves a state of quantum consciousness and singularity such that the universe and mind become one.

1. Introduction

In 1905 Albert Einstein published his theories of relativity, which promoted the thesis that reality and its properties, such as time and motion had no objective "true values", but were "relative" to the observer's point of view (Einstein, 1905a,b,c). However, what if the observer is not a singularity and has more than one point of view and more than one stream of observing consciousness? And what if these streams of consciousness were also relative?

Quantum physics, as exemplified by the Copenhagen school (Bohr, 1934, 1958, 1963; Heisenberg, 1930, 1955, 1958), also makes assumptions about the nature of reality as related to an observer, the "knower" who is conceptualized as a singularity. Because the physical world is relative to being known by a "knower" (the observing consciousness), then the "knower" can influence the nature of the reality which is being observed. In consequence, what is known vs what is not known becomes relatively imprecise (Heisenberg, 1958).

For example, as expressed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (Heisenberg, 1955, 1958), the more precisely one physical property is known the more unknowable become other properties, whose measurements become correspondingly imprecise. The more precisely one property is known, the less precisely the other can be known and this is true at the molecular and atomic levels of reality. Therefore it is impossible to precisely determine, simultaneously, for example, both the position and velocity of an electron.

However, we must ask: if knowing A, makes B unknowable, and if knowing B makes A unknowable, wouldn't this imply that both A and B, are in fact unknowable? If both A and B are manifestations of the processing of "knowing," and if observing and measuring can change the properties of A or B, then perhaps both A and B are in fact properties of knowing, properties of the observing consciousness, and not properties of A or B.

In quantum physics, nature and reality are represented by the quantum state. The electromagnetic field of the quantum state is the fundamental entity, the continuum that constitutes the basic oneness and unity of all things.

The physical nature of this state can be "known" by assigning it mathematical properties (Bohr, 1958, 1963). Therefore, abstractions, i.e., numbers, become representational of a hypothetical physical state. Because these are abstractions, the physical state is also an abstraction and does not possess the material consistency, continuity, and hard, tangible, physical substance as is assumed by Classical (Newtonian) physics. Instead, reality, the physical world, is created by the process of observing, measuring, and knowing (Heisenberg, 1955).

Consider an elementary particle, once this positional value is assigned, knowledge of momentum, trajectory, speed, and so on, is lost and becomes "uncertain." The particle's momentum is left uncertain by an amount inversely proportional to the accuracy of the position measurement which is determined by values assigned by the observing consciousness. Therefore, the nature of reality, and the uncertainty principle is directly affected by the observer and the process of observing and knowing (Heisenberg, 1955, 1958).

The act of knowing creates a knot in the quantum state; described as a "collapse of the wave function;" a knot of energy that is a kind of blemish in the continuum of the quantum field. This quantum knot bunches up at the point of observation, at the assigned value of measurement.

The process of knowing, makes reality, and the quantum state, discontinuous. "The discontinuous change in the probability function takes place with the act of registration…in the mind of the observer" (Heisenberg, 1958).

Reality, therefore, is a manifestation of alterations in the patterns of activity within the electromagnetic field which are perceived as discontinuous. The perception of a structural unit of information is not just perceived, but is inserted into the quantum state which causes the reduction of the wave-packet and the collapse of the wave function.

Knowing and not knowing, are the result of interactions between the mind and concentrations of energy that emerge and disappear back into the electromagnetic quantum field.

However, if reality is created by the observing consciousness, and can be made discontinuous, does this leave open the possibility of a reality behind the reality? Might there be multiple realities? And if consciousness and the observer and the quantum state is not a singularity, could each of these multiple realities also be manifestations of a multiplicity of minds?

Heinserberg (1958) recognized this possibility of hidden realities, and therefore proposed that the reality that exists beyond or outside the quantum state could be better understood when considered in terms of "potential" reality and "actual" realities. Therefore, although the quantum state does not have the ontological character of an "actual" thing, it has a "potential" reality; an objective tendency to become actual at some point in the future, or to have become actual at some point in the past.

Therefore, it could be said that the subatomic particles which make up reality, or the quantum state, do not really exist, except as probabilities. These "subatomic" particles have probable existences and display tendencies to assume certain patterns of activity that we perceive as shape and form. Yet, they may also begin to display a different pattern of activity such that being can become nonbeing and thus something else altogether.

The conception of a deterministic reality is therefore subjugated to mathematical probabilities and potentiality which is relative to the mind of a knower which effects that reality as it unfolds, evolves, and is observed (Bohr 1958, 1963; Heisenberg 1955, 1958). That is, the mental act of perceiving a non-localized unit of structural information, injects that mental event into the quantum state of the universe, causing "the collapse of the wave function" and creating a bunching up, a tangle and discontinuous knot in the continuity of the quantum state.

Einstein ridiculed these ideas (Pais, 1979): "Do you really think the moon isn't there if you aren't looking at it?"

Heisenberg (1958), cautioned, however, that the observer is not the creator of reality: "The introduction of the observer must not be misunderstood to imply that some kind of subjective features are to be brought into the description of nature. The observer has, rather, only the function of registering decisions, i.e., processes in space and time, and it does not matter whether the observer is an apparatus or a human being; but the registration, i.e., the transition from the "possible" to the "actual," is absolutely necessary here and cannot be omitted from the interpretation of quantum theory."

Shape and form are a function of our perception of dynamic interactions within the continuum which is the quantum state. What we perceive as mass (shape, form, length, weight) are dynamic patterns of energy which we selectively attend to and then perceive as stable and static, creating discontinuity within the continuity of the quantum state. Therefore, what we are perceiving and knowing, are only fragments of the continuum.

However, we can only perceive what our senses can detect, and what we detect as form and shape is really a mass of frenzied subatomic electromagnetic activity that is amenable to detection by our senses and which may be known by a knowing mind. It is the perception of certain aspects of these oscillating patterns of continuous evolving activity, which give rise to the impressions of shape and form, and thus discontinuity, as experienced within the mind.

This energy that makes up the object of our perceptions, is therefore but an aspect of the electromagnetic continuum which has assumed a specific pattern during the process of being sensed and processed by those regions of the brain and mind best equipped to process this information.

Perceived reality, therefore, becomes a manifestation of mind.

However, if the mind is not a singularity, and if we possessed additional senses or an increased sensory channel capacity, we would perceive yet other patterns and other realities which would be known by those features of the mind best attuned to them. If the mind is not a singularity but a multiplicity, this means that both A and B, may be known simultaneously.

2. Duality vs Multiplicity

In the Copenhagen model, the observer is external to the quantum state the observer is observing, and they are not part of the collapse function but a witness of it (Bohr, 1958, 1963; Heisenberg 1958). However, if the Copenhagen model is correct, and as the cosmos contains observers, then the standard collapse formulation can not be used to describe the entire universe as the universe contains observers (von Neumann, 1932, 1937).

Further, reality becomes, at a minimum, a duality (observer and observed) with the potential to become a multiplicity.

As described by DeWitt and Graham (1973; Dewitt, 1971), "This reality, which is described jointly by the dynamical variables and the state vector, is not the reality we customarily think of, but is a reality composed of many worlds. By virtue of the temporal development of the dynamical variables the state vector decomposes naturally into orthogonal vectors, reflecting a continual splitting of the universe into a multitude of mutually unobservable but equally real worlds, in each of which every good measurement has yielded a definite result and in most of which the familiar statistical quantum laws hold."

The minimal duality is that aspect of reality which is observed, measured, and known, and that which is unknown.

However, this minimal duality is an illusion as indicated not only by the potential to become multiplicity, but by the nature of mind which is not a singularity (Joseph, 1982, 1986a; 1988a,b).

Even if we disregard the concept of "mind" and substitute the word "brain", the fact remains that the brain is not a singularity. The human brain is functionally specialized with specific functions and different mental states localized to specific areas, each of which is capable of maintaining independent and semi-independent aspects of conscious-awareness (Joseph 1986a,b, 1988a,b, 1992, 1999a). Different aspects of the same experience and identical aspects of that experience may be perceived and processed by different brain areas in different ways (Gallagher and Joseph, 1982; Joseph 1982; Joseph and Gallagher 1985; Joseph et al., 1984).

Therefore, although it has been said that orthodox quantum mechanics is completely concordant with the defining characteristics of Cartesian dualism, this is an illusion. Cartesian duality assumes singularity of mind, when in fact, the overarching organization of the mind- and the brain- is both dualistic and multiplistic.

If quantum physics is "mind-like" (actual/operational at the quantum level, but mentalistic on the ontological level) then quantum physics, or rather, the quantum state (reality, the universe) is not a duality, but a multiciplicity. Indeed, the entire concept of duality is imposed on reality by the dominant dualistic nature of the brain and mind which subordinates not just reality, but the multiplicity of minds maintained within the human brain (Joseph, 1982).

Like the Copenhagen school, Von Neumann's formulation of quantum mechanics (1932, 1937), fails to recognize or understand the multiple nature of mind and reality. Von Neumann postulated that the physical aspects of nature are represented by a density matrix. The matrix, therefore, could be conceptualized as a subset of potential realities, and that by averaging the values of these evolving matrices, the state of the universe and thus of reality, can be ascertained as a unified whole. However, in contrast to the Copenhagen interpretation, Von Neumann shifted the observer (his brain) into the quantum universe and thus made it subject to the rules of quantum physics.

Ostensibly and explicitly, Von Neumann's conceptions are based on a conception of mind as a singularity acting on the quantum state which contains the brain. Von Neumann's mental singularity, therefore, imposes itself on reality, such that each "event" that occurs within reality, is associated with one specific experience of the singularity-mind. Thus, Von Neumann assumes the brain and mind has only "one experience" which corresponds with "one event;" and this grossly erroneous misconception of the nature of the brain and mind, unfortunately, is erroneously accepted as fact by most cosmologists and physicists. Further, he argues that in the process of knowing, the quantum state of this singularity brain/mind also collapses, or rather, is reduced in a mathematically quantifiable manner, just as the quantum universe is collapsed and reduced by being known (Von Neumann, 1932, 1937).

However, the brain and mind are not a singularity, but a multiplicity (Joseph, 1982, 1988a,b, 1999a). Nevertheless, Von Neumann's conceptions can be applied to the multiplicity of mind/brain when each mental realm is considered individually as an interactional subset of the multiplicity.

3. The Multiplicity of Mind and Perception

According to Von Neumann (1932), the "experiential increments in a person's knowledge" and "reductions of the quantum mechanical state of that person's brain" corresponds to the elimination of all those perceptual functions that are not necessary or irrelevant to the knowing of the event and the increase in the knowledge associated with the experience.

If considered from the perspective of an isolated aspect of the mind and the dominating stream of consciousness, Von Neuman's conceptions are essentially correct. However, neither the brain nor the mind function in isolation but in interaction with other neural tissues and mental/perceptual/sensory realms (Joseph 1982, 1992, 1999a). Perceptual functions are not "eliminated" and removed from the brain. Instead, they are prevented from interfering with the attentional processes of one aspect of the multiplicity of mind which dominates during the knowing event (Joseph, 1986b, 1999a).

Consider, by way of example, you are sitting in your office reading this text. The pressure of the chair, the physical sensations of your shoes and clothes, the musculature of your body as it holds one then another position, the temperature of the room, various odors and fragrances, a multitude of sounds, visual sensations from outside your area of concentration and focus, and so on, are all being transmitted to the brainstem, midbrain, and olfactory limbic system. These signals are then relayed to various subnuclei within the thalamus.

The neural tissues of the brainstem, midbrain, limbic system and thalamus are associated with the "old brain." However, those aspects of consciousness we most closely associated with humans are associated with the "new brain" the neocortex (Joseph, 1982, 1992). Therefore, although you may be "aware" of these sensations while they are maintained within the old brain, you are not "conscious" of them, unless a decision is made to become conscious or they increase sufficiently in intensity that they are transferred to the neocortex and forced into the focus of consciousness (Joseph, 1982, 1986b, 1992, 1999a).

The old brain is covered by a gray mantle of new cortex, neocortex. The sensations alluded to are transferred from the old brain to the thalamus which relays these signals to the neocortex. Human consciousness and the "higher" level of the multiplicity of mind, are associated with the "new brain."

(Left) The Corona Radiata. - The human Brainstem & Thalamus (Right)

For example, visual input is transmitted from the eyes to the midbrain and thalamus and is transferred to the primary visual receiving area maintained in the neocortex of the occipital lobe (Casagrande & Joseph 1978, 1980; Joseph and Casagrande, 1978). Auditory input is transmitted from the inner ears to the brainstem, midbrain, and thalamus, and is transferred to the primary auditory receiving area within the neocortex of the temporal lobe. Tactual-physical stimuli are also transmitted from the thalamus to the primary somatosensory areas maintained in the neocortex of the parietal lobe. From the primary areas these signals are transferred to the adjoining "association" areas, and simple percepts become more complex by association (Joseph, 1996).

Monitoring all this perceptual and sensory activity within the thalamus and neocortex is the frontal lobes of the brain, also known as the senior executive of the brain and personality (Joseph 1986b, 1999a; Joseph et al., 1981). It is the frontal lobes which maintain the focus of attention and which can selectively inhibit any additional processing of signals received in the primary areas.

There are two frontal lobes, a right and left frontal lobe which communicate via a bridge of nerve fibers. Each frontal lobe, and subdivisions within each are concerned with different types of mental activity (Joseph, 1999a).

The left frontal lobe, among its many functions, makes possible the ability to speak. It is associated with the verbally expressive, speaking aspects of consciousness. However, there are different aspects of consciousness associated not only with the frontal lobe, but with each lobe of the brain and its subdivisions (Joseph, 1986b; 1996, 1999a).

4. Knowing Yet Not Knowing: Disconnected Consciousness

Consider the well known phenomenon of "word finding difficulty" also known as "tip of the tongue." You know the word you want (the "thingamajig") but at the same time, you can't gain access to it. That is, one aspect of consciousness knows the missing word, but another aspect of consciousness associated with talking and speech can't gain access to the word. The mind is disconnected from itself. One aspect of mind knows, the other aspect of mind does not.

This same phenomenon, but much more severe and disabling, can occur if the nerve fiber pathway linking the language areas of the left hemisphere are damaged. For example, Broca's area in the frontal lobe expresses humans speech. Wernicke's area in the temporal lobe comprehends speech. The inferior parietal lobe associates and assimilates associations so that, for example, we can say the word "dog" and come up with the names of dozens of different breeds and then describe them (Joseph, 1982; Joseph and Gallagher 1985; Joseph et al., 1984). Therefore, if Broca's area is disconnected from the posterior language areas, one aspect of consciousness may know what it wants to say, but the speaking aspect of consciousness will be unable to gain access to it and will have nothing to say. This condition is called "conduction aphasia."

Or consider damage which disconnects the parietal lobe from Broca's area. If you place an object, e.g., a comb, out-of-sight, in the person's right hand, and ask them to name the object, the speaking aspect of consciousness may know something is in the hand, but will be unable to name it. However, although they can't name it, and can't guess if shown pictures, if the patient is asked to point to the correct object, they will correctly pick out the comb (Joseph, 1996).

Therefore, part of the brain and mind may act purposefully (e.g. picking out the comb), whereas another aspect of the brain and mind is denied access to the information that the disconnected part of the mind is acting on.

Thus, the part of the brain and mind which is perceiving and knowing, is not the same as the part of the brain and mind which is speaking. This phenomenon occurs even in undamaged brains, when the multiplicity of minds which make up one of the dominant streams of consciousness, become disconnected and/or are unable to communicate.

5. The Visual Mind: Denial of Blindness

All visual sensations first travel from the eyes to the thalamus and midbrain. At this level, these visual impressions are outside of consciousness, though we may be aware of them. These visual sensations are then transferred to the primary visual receiving areas and to the adjacent association areas in the neocortex of the occipital lobe. Once these visual impressions reach the neocortex, consciousness of the visual word is achieved. Visual consciousness is made possible by the occipital lobe.

Destruction of the occipital lobe and its neocortical visual areas results in cortical blindness (Joseph, 1996). The consciousness mind is blinded and can not see or sense anything except vague sensations of lightness and darkness. However, because visual consciousness is normally maintained within the occipital lobe, with destruction of this tissue, the other mental systems will not know that they can't see. The remaining mental system do not know they are blind.

Wernicke's area in the left temporal lobe in association with the inferior parietal lobe comprehends and can generate complex language. Normally, visual input is transferred from the occipital to the inferior parietal lobe (IPL) which is adjacent to Wernicke's area and the visual areas of the occipital lobe. Once these signals arrive in the IPL a person can name what they see; the visual input is matched with auditory-verbal signals and the conscious mind can label and talk about what is viewed (Joseph, 1982, 1986b; Joseph et al., 1984). Talking and verbally describing what is seen is made possible when this stream of information is transferred to Broca's area in the left frontal lobe (Joseph, 1982, 1999a). It is Broca's area which speaks and talks.

Therefore, with complete destruction of the occipital lobe, visual consciousness is abolished whereas the other mental system remain intact but are unable to receive information about the visual world. In consequence, the verbal aspects of consciousness and the verbal-language mind does not know it can't see because the brain area responsible for informing these mental system about seeing, no longer exists. . In fact the language-dependent conscious mind will deny that it is blind; and this is called: Denial of blindness.

Normally, if it gets dark, or you close your eyes, the visual mind becomes conscious of this change in light perception and will alert the other mental realms. These other mental realms do not process visual signals and therefore they must be informed about what the visual mind is seeing. If the occipital lobe is destroyed, visual consciousness is destroyed, and the rest of the brain cannot be told that visual consciousness can't see. Therefore, the rest of the brain does not know it is blind, and when asked, will deny blindness and will make up reasons for why they bump into furniture or can't recognize objects held before their eyes (Joseph, 1986b, 1988a).

For example, when unable to name objects, they might confabulate an explanation: "I see better at home." Or, "I tripped because someone moved the furniture."

Even if you tell them they are blind, they will deny blindness; that is, the verbal aspects of consciousness will claim it can see, when it can't. The Language-dependent aspects of consciousness does not know that it is blind because information concerning blindness is not being received from the mental realms which support visual consciousness.

The same phenomenon occurs with small strokes destroying just part of the occipital lobe. Although a patient may lose a quarter or even half of their visual field, they may be unaware of it. This is because that aspect of visual consciousness no longer exists and can't inform the other mental realms of its condition.

6. "Blind Sight"

The brains of reptiles, amphibians, and fish do not have neocortex. Visual input is processed in the midbrain and thalamus and other old-brain areas as these creatures do not possess neocortex or lobes of the brain. In humans, this information is also received in the brainstem and thalamus and is then transferred to the newly evolved neocortex.

As is evident in non-mammalian species, these creatures can see, and they are aware of their environment. They possess an older-cortical (brainstem-thalamus) visual awareness which in humans is dominated by neocortical visual consciousness.

(Left) Human Brain. Reptile Brain (Right)

Therefore, even with complete destruction of the visual neocortex, and after the patient has had time to recover, some patients will demonstrate a non-conscious awareness of their visual environment. Although they are cortically blind and can't name objects and stumble over furniture and bump into walls, they may correctly indicate if an object is moving in front of their face, and they may turn their head or even reach out their arms to touch it--just as a frog can see a fly buzzing by and lap it up with its tongue. Although the patient can't name or see what has moved in front of his face, he may report that he has a "feeling" that something has moved.

Frogs do not have neocortex and they do not have language, and can't describe what they see. However, humans and frogs have old cortex that process visual impressions and which can control and coordinate body movements. Therefore, although the neocortical realms of human consciousness are blind, the mental realms of the old brain can continue to see and can act on what it sees; and this is called: Blind sight (Joseph, 1996).

7. Body Consciousness: Denial of the Body, and Phantom Limbs

All tactile and physical-sensory impressions are relayed from the body to the brainstem and the thalamus, and are then transferred to the primary receiving and then the association area for somatosensory information located in the neocortex of the parietal lobe (Joseph, 1986b, 1996). The entire image of the body is represented in the parietal lobes (the right and left half of the body in the left and right parietal lobe respectively), albeit in correspondence with the sensory importance of each body part. Therefore, more neocortical space is devoted to the hands and fingers than to the elbow.

It is because the body image and body consciousness is maintained in the parietal area of the brain, that victims of traumatic amputation and who lose an arm or a leg, continue to feel as if their arm or their leg is still attached to the body. This is called: phantom limbs. They can see the leg is missing, but they feel as if it is still there; body-consciousness remains intact even though part of the body is missing (Joseph, 1986b, 1996). They may also continue to periodically experience the pain of the physical trauma which led to the amputation, and this is called "phantom limb pain."

Thus, via the mental system of the parietal lobe, consciousness of what is not there, may appear to consciousness as if it is still there. This is not a hallucination. The image of the body is preserved in the brain and so to is consciousness of the body; and this is yet another example of experienced reality being a manifestation of the brain and mind. In this regard, reality is literally mapped into the brain and is represented within the brain, such that even when aspects of this "reality" are destroyed and no longer exists external to the brain, it nevertheless continues to be perceived and experienced by the brain and the associated realms of body-consciousness.

Conversely, if the parietal lobe is destroyed, particularly the right parietal lobe (which maintains an image of the left half of the body), half of the body image may be erased from consciousness (Joseph, 1986b, 1988a). The remaining realms of mind will lose all consciousness of the left half of the body, which, in their minds, never existed.

Doctor: "Give me your right hand!" (Patient offers right hand). "Now give me your left!" (The patient presents the right hand again. The right hand is held.) "Give me your left!" (The patient looks puzzled and does not move.) "Is there anything wrong with your left hand?"

Patient: "No, doctor."

Doctor: "Why don't you move it, then?"

Patient: "I don't know."

Doctor: "Is this your hand?" (The left hand is held before her eyes.)

Patient: "Not mine, doctor."

Doctor: "Whose hand is it, then?"

Patient: "I suppose it's yours, doctor."

Doctor: "No, it's not; I've already got two hands. look at it carefully." (The left hand is again held before her eyes.)

Patient: "It is not mine, doctor."

Doctor: "Yes it is, look at that ring; whose is it?" (Patient's finger with marriage ring is held before her eyes)

Patient: "That's my ring; you've got my ring, doctor. You're wearing my ring!"

Doctor: "Look at it—it is your hand."

Patient: "Oh, no doctor."

Doctor: "Where is your left hand then?"

Patient: "Somewhere here, I think." (Making groping movements near her left shoulder).

Because the body image has been destroyed, consciousness of that half of the body is also destroyed. The remaining mental systems and the language-dependent conscious mind will completely ignore and fail to recognize their left arm or leg because the mental system responsible for consciousness of the body image no longer exists. If the left arm or leg is shown to them, they will claim it belongs to someone else, such as the nurse or the doctor. They may dress or groom only the right half of their body, eat only off the right half of their plates, and even ignore painful stimuli applied to the left half of their bodies (Joseph, 1986b, 1988a).

However, if you show them their arm and leg (whose ownership they deny), they will admit these extremities exists, but will insist the leg or arm does not belong to them, even though the arm or the leg is wearing the same clothes covering the rest of their body. Instead, the language dependent aspects of consciousness will confabulate and make up explanations and thus create their own reality. One patient said the arm belonged to a little girl, whose arm had slipped into the patient's sleeve. Another declared (speaking of his left arm and leg), "That's an old man. He stays in bed all the time."

One such patient engaged in peculiar erotic behavior with his left arm and leg which he believed belonged to a woman. Some patients may develop a dislike for their left arms, try to throw them away, become agitated when they are referred to, entertain persecutory delusions regarding them, and even complain of strange people sleeping in their beds due to their experience of bumping into their left limbs during the night (Joseph, 1986b, 1988a). One patient complained that the person sharing her bed, tried to push her out of the bed and then insisted that if it happened again she would sue the hospital. Another complained about "a hospital that makes people sleep together." A female patient expressed not only anger but concern least her husband should find out; she was convinced it was a man in her bed.

The right and left parietal lobes maintain a map and image of the left and right half of the body, respectively. Therefore, when the right parietal lobe is destroyed, the language-dependent mental systems of the left half of the brain, having access only to the body image for the right half of the body, is unable to become conscious of the left half of their body, except as body parts that they then deduce must belong to someone else.

However, when the language dominant mental system of the left hemisphere denies ownerhip of the left extremity these mental system are in fact telling the truth. That is, the left arm and leg belongs to the right not the left hemisphere; the mental system that is capable of becoming conscious of the left half of their body no longer exist.

When the language axis (Joseph, 1982, 2000), i.e. the inferior parietal lobe, Broca's and Wernicke's areas, are functionally isolated from a particular source of information, the language dependent aspect of mind begins to make up a response based on the information available. To be informed about the left leg or left arm, it must be able to communicate with the cortical area (i.e. the parietal lobe) which is responsible for perceiving and analyzing information regarding the extremities. When no message is received and when the language axis is not informed that no messages are being transmitted, the language zones instead relie on some other source even when that source provides erroneous input (Joseph, 1982, 1986b; Joseph et al., 1984); substitute material is assimilated and expressed and corrections cannot be made (due to loss of input from the relevant knowledge source). The patient begins to confabulate. This is because the patient who speaks to you is not the 'patient' who is perceiving- they are in fact, separate; multiple minds exist in the same head.

8. Split-Brains and Split-Minds.

The multiplicity of mind is not limited to visual consciousness, body consciousness, or the language-dependent consciousness. Rather the multiplicity of mind include social consciousness, emotional consciousness, and numerous other mental realms linked with specific areas of the brain (Joseph, 1982, 1986a,b, 1988a,b, 1992, 1999a), such as the limbic system (emotion), frontal lobes (rational thought), the inferior temporal lobes (memory) and the two halves of the brain where multiple streams of mental activity become subordinated and dominated by two distinct realms of mind; consciousness and awareness (Joseph, 1982, 1986a,b, 1988a,b).

The brain is not a singularity. This is most apparent when viewing the right and left half of the brain which are divided by the interhemispheric fissure and almost completely split into two cerebral hemispheres. These two brain halves are connected by a rope of nerve fibers, the corpus callosum, which enables them to share and exchange some information, but not all information as these two mental realms maintain a conscious awareness of different realities.

For example, it is well established that the right cerebral hemisphere is dominant over the left in regard to the perception, expression and mediation of almost all aspects of social and emotional functioning and related aspects of social/emotional language and memory. Further, the right hemisphere is dominant for most aspects of visual-spatial perceptual functioning, the comprehension of body language, the recognition of faces including friend's loved ones, and one's own face in the mirror (Joseph, 1988a, 1996).

Recognition of one's own body and the maintenance of the personal body image is also the dominant realm of the right half of the brain (Joseph, 1986b, 1988a). The body image, for many, is tied to personal identity; and the same is true of the recognition of faces including one's own face.

The right is also dominant for perceiving and analyzing visual-spatial relationships, including the movement of the body in space (Joseph, 1982, 1988a). Therefore, one can throw or catch a ball with accuracy, dance across a stage, or leap across a babbling brook without breaking a leg.

The perception of environmental sounds (water, wind, a meowing cat) and the social, emotional, musical, and melodic aspects of language, including the ability to sing, curse, or pray, are also the domain of the right hemisphere mental system (Joseph, 1982, 1988a). Hence, it is the right hemisphere which imparts the sounds of sarcasm, pride, humor, love, and so on, into the stream of speech, and which conversely can determine if others are speaking with sincerity, irony, or evil intentions.

By contrast, expressive and receptive speech, linguistic knowledge and thought, mathematical and analytical reasoning, reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as the temporal-sequential and rhythmical aspects of consciousness, are associated with the functional integrity of the left half of the brain in the majority of the population (Joseph, 1982, 1996). The language-dependent mind is linked to the left hemisphere.

Certainly, there is considerable overlap in functional representation. Moreover, these two mental system interact and assist the other, just as the left and right hands cooperate and assist the other in performing various tasks. For example, if you were standing at the bar in a nightclub, and someone were to tap you on the shoulder and say, "Do you want to step outside," it is the mental system of the left hemisphere which understands that a question about "outside" has been asked, but it is the mental system of the right which determines the underlying meaning, and if you are being threatened with a punch in the nose, or if a private conversation is being sought.

However, not all information can be transferred from the right to the left, and vice versa (Gallagher and Joseph, 1982; Joseph, 1982, 1988a; Joseph and Gallagher, 1985; Joseph et al., 1984). Because each mental system is unique, each "speaks a different language" and they cannot always communicate. Not all mental events can be accurately translated, understood, or even recognized by the other half of the brain. These two major mental systems, which could be likened to "consciousness" vs "awareness" exist in parallel, simultaneously, and both can act independently of the other, have different goals and desires, and come to completely different conclusions. Each mental system has its own reality.

The existence of these two independent mental realms is best exemplified and demonstrated following "split-brain" surgery; i.e. the cutting of the corpus callosum fiber pathway which normally allows the two hemisphere's to communicate.

As described by Nobel Lauriate Roger Sperry (1966, p. 299), "Everything we have seen indicates that the surgery has left these people with two separate minds, that is, two separate spheres of consciousness. What is experienced in the right hemisphere seems to lie entirely outside the realm of awareness of the left hemisphere. This mental division has been demonstrated in regard to perception, cognition, volition, learning and memory."

The right half of the brain controls and perceives the left half of the body and visual space, whereas the right half of the body and visual space is the domain of the left hemisphere. Therefore, following split-brain surgery, if a comb, spoon, or some other hidden object is placed in the left hand (out of sight), the left hemisphere, and the language-dependent conscious mind, will not even know the left hand is holding something and will be unable to name it, describe it, or if given multiple choices point to the correct item with the right hand (Joseph 1988a,b; Sperry, 1966). However, the right hemisphere can raise the left hand and not only point to the correct object, but can pantomime its use.

If the split-brain patient is asked to stare at the center of a white screen and words like "Key Ring" are quickly presented, such that the word "Key" falls in the left visual field (and thus, is transmitted to the right cerebrum) and the word "Rings" falls in the right field (and goes to the left hemisphere), the language dependent conscious mind will not see the word "Key." If asked, the language-dependent conscious mind will say "Ring" and will deny seeing the word "Key." However, if asked to point with the left hand, the mental system of the right hemisphere will correctly point to the word "Key."

Therefore, given events "A" and "B" one half of the brain may know A, but know nothing about B which is known only by the other half of the brain. In consequence, what is known vs what is not known becomes relatively imprecise depending on what aspects of reality are perceived and "known" by which mental system (Joseph 1986a; Joseph et al., 1984). There is no such thing as singularity of mind. Since the brain and mind is a multiplicity, "A" and "B" can be known simultaneously, even when one mind is knows nothing about the existence of A or B.

In that the brain of the normal as well as the "split-brain" patient maintains the neuroanatomy to support a multiplicity of mind, and the presence of two dominant psychic realms, it is therefore not surprising that "normal" humans often have difficulty "making up their minds," suffer internal conflicts over love/hate relationships, and are plagued with indecision even when staring into an open refrigerator and trying to decide what to eat. "Making up one's mind" can be an ordeal involving a multiplicity of minds.

However, this conflict becomes even more apparent following split-brain surgery and the cutting of the corpus callosum fiber pathway which links these two parallel streams of conscious-awareness.

Akelaitis (1945, p. 597) describes two patients with complete corpus callosotomies who experienced extreme difficulties making the two halves of their bodies cooperate. "In tasks requiring bimanual activity the left hand would frequently perform oppositely to what she desired to do with the right hand. For example, she would be putting on clothes with her right and pulling them off with her left, opening a door or drawer with her right hand and simultaneously pushing it shut with the left. These uncontrollable acts made her increasingly irritated and depressed."

Another patient experienced difficulty while shopping, the right hand would place something in the cart and the left hand would put it right back again and grab a different item.

A recently divorced male patient complained that on several occasions while walking about town he found himself forced to go some distance in another direction by his left leg. Later (although his left hemisphere was not conscious of it at the time) it was discovered that this diverted course, if continued, would have led him to his former wife's new home.

Geschwind (1981) reports a callosal patient who complained that his left hand on several occasions suddenly struck his wife--much to the embarrassment of his left (speaking) hemisphere. In another case, a patient's left hand attempted to choke the patient himself and had to be wrestled away.

Bogen (1979, p. 333) indicates that almost all of his "complete commissurotomy patients manifested some degree of intermanual conflict." One patient, Rocky, experienced situations in which his hands were uncooperative; the right would button up a shirt and the left would follow right behind and undo the buttons. For years, he complained of difficulty getting his left leg to go in the direction he (or rather his left hemisphere) desired. Another patient often referred to the left half of her body as "my little sister" when she was complaining of its peculiar and independent actions.

Another split-brain patient reported that once when she had overslept her left hand began slapping her face until she (i.e. her left hemisphere) woke up. This same patient, in fact, complained of several instances where her left hand had acted violently toward herself and other people (Joseph, 1988a).

Split brain patient, 2-C, complained of instances in which his left hand would perform socially inappropriate actions, such as striking his mother across the face (Joseph, 1988b). Apparently his left and right hemisphere also liked different TV programs. He complained of numerous instances where he (his left hemisphere) was enjoying a program, when, to his astonishment, the left half of his body pulled him to the TV, and changed the channel.

The right and left hemisphere also liked different foods and had different attitudes about exercise. Once, after 2-C had retrieved something from the refrigerator with his right hand, his left took the food, put it back on the shelf and retrieved a completely different item "Even though that's not what I wanted to eat!" On at least one occasion, his left leg refused to continue "going for a walk" and would only allow him to return home.

In the laboratory, 2-C's left hemisphere often became quite angry with his left hand, and he struck it and expressed hate for it. Several times, his left and right hands were observed to engage in actual physical struggles, beating upon each other. For example, on one task both hands were stimulated simultaneously (while out of view) with either the same or two different textured materials (e.g., sandpaper to the right, velvet to the left), and he was required to point (with the left and right hands simultaneously) to an array of fabrics that were hanging in view on the left and right of the testing apparatus. However, at no time was he informed that two different fabrics were being applied.

After stimulation he would pull his hands out from inside the apparatus and point with the left to the fabric felt by the left and with the right to the fabric felt by the right.

Surprisingly, although his left hand (right hemisphere) responded correctly, his left hemisphere vocalized: "Thats wrong!" Repeatedly he reached over with his right hand and tried to force his left extremity to point to the fabric experienced by the right (although the left hand responded correctly! His left hemisphere didn't know this, however). His left hand refused to be moved and physically resisted being forced to point at anything different. In one instance a physical struggle ensued, the right grappling with the left with the two halves of the body hitting and scratching at each other!

Moreover, while 2-C was performing this (and other tasks), his left hemisphere made statements such as: "I hate this hand" or "This is so frustrating" and would strike his left hand with his right or punch his left arm. In these instances there could be little doubt that his right hemisphere mental system was behaving with purposeful intent and understanding, whereas his left hemisphere mental system had absolutely no comprehension of why his left hand (right hemisphere) was behaving in this manner (Joseph, 1988b).

These conflicts are not limited to behavior, TV programs, choice of clothing, or food, but to actual feelings, including love and romance. For example, the right and left hemisphere of a male split-brain patient had completely different feelings about an ex-girlfriend. When he was asked if he wanted to see her again, he said "Yes." But at the same time, his left hand turned thumbs down!

Another split-brain patient suffered conflicts about his desire to smoke. Although is left hemisphere mental system enjoyed cigarettes, his left hand would not allow him to smoke, and would pluck lit cigarettes from his mouth or right hand and put them out. He had been trying to quit for years.

Because each head contains multiple minds, similar conflicts also plague those who have not undergone split-brain surgery. Each half of the brain and thus each mental system may have different attitudes, goals and interests. As noted above, 2-C experienced conflicts when attempting to eat, watch TV, or go for walks, his right and left hemisphere mental systems apparently enjoying different TV programs or types of food (Joseph 1988b). Conflicts of a similar nature plague us all. Split-brain patients are not the first to choke on self-hate or to harm or hate those they profess to love.

Each half of the brain is concerned with different types of information, and may react, interpret and process the same external experience differently and even reach different conclusions (Joseph 1988a,b; Sperry, 1966). Moreover, even when the goals are the same, the two halves of the brain may produce and attempt to act on different strategies.

Each mental system has its own reality. Singularity of mind, is an illusion.

9. Dissociation and Self-Consciousness

The multiplicity of mind is not limited to the neocortex but includes old cortical structures, such as the limbic system (Joseph 1992). Moreover, limbic nuclei such as the amygdala and hippocampus interact with neocortical tissues creating yet additional mental systems, such as those which rely on memory and which contribute to self-reflection, personal identity, and even self-consciousness (Joseph, 1992, 1998, 1999b, 2001).

For example, both the amygdala and the hippocampus are implicated in the storage of long term memories, and both nuclei enable individuals to visualize and remember themselves engaged in various acts, as if viewing their behavior and actions from afar. Thus, you might see yourself and remember yourself engage in some activity, from a perspective outside yourself, as if you are an external witness; and this is a common feature of self-reflection and self-memory and is made possible by the hippocampus and overlying temporal lobe (Joseph, 1996, 2001).

The hippocampus in fact contains "place neurons" which cognitive map one's position and the location of various objects within the environment (Nadel, 1991; O'Keefe, 1976; Wilson & McNaughton, 1993). Further, if the subject moves about in that environment, entire populations of these place cells will fire. Moreover, some cells are responsive to the movements of other people in that environment and will fire as that person is observed to move around to different locations or corners of the room (Nadel, 1991; O'Keefe, 1976; Wilson and McNaughton, 1993).

Electrode stimulation, or other forms of heightened activity within the hippocampus and overlying temporal lobe can also cause a person to see themselves, in real time, as if their conscious mind is floating on the ceiling staring down at their body (Joseph, 1998, 1999b, 2001). During the course of electrode stimulation and seizure activity originating in the temporal lobe or hippocampus, patients may report that they have left their bodies and are hovering upon the ceiling staring down at themselves (Daly, 1958; Penfield, 1952; Penfield & Perot 1963; Williams, 1956). That is, their consciousness and sense of personal identity appears to split off from their body, such that they experience themselves as as a consciousness that is conscious of itself as a conscious that is detached from the body which is being observed.

One female patient claimed that she not only would float above her body, but would sometimes drift outside and even enter into the homes of her neighbors. Penfield and Perot (1963) describe several patients who during a temporal lobe seizure, or neurosurgical temporal lobe stimulation, claimed they split-off from their body and could see themselves down below. One woman stated: "it was though I were two persons, one watching, and the other having this happen to me." According to Penfield (1952), "it was as though the patient were attending a familiar play and was both the actor and audience."

Under conditions of extreme trauma, stress and fear, the amygdala, hippocampus and temporal lobe become exceedingly active (Joseph, 1998, 1999b). Under these conditions many will experience a "splitting of consciousness" and have the sensation they have left their body and are hovering beside or above themselves, or even that they floated away (Courtois, 2009; Grinker & Spiegel, 1945; Noyes & Kletti, 1977; van der Kolk 1987). That is, out-of-body dissociative experiences appear to be due to fear induced hippocampus (and amygdala) hyperactivation.

Likewise, during episodes of severe traumatic stress personal consciousness may be fragmented and patients may dissociate and experience themselves as splitting off and floating away from their body, passively observing all that is occurring (Courtois, 1995; Grinker & Spiegel, 1945; Joseph, 1999d; Noyes & Kletti, 1977; Southard, 1919; Summit, 1983; van der Kolk 1987).

Noyes and Kletti (1977) described several individuals who experienced terror, believed they were about to die, and then suffered an out-of body dissociative experience: "I had a clear image of myself... as though watching it on a television screen." "The next thing I knew I wasn't in the truck anymore; I was looking down from 50 to 100 feet in the air." "I had a sensation of floating. It was almost like stepping out of reality. I seemed to step out of this world."

One individual, after losing control of his Mustang convertible while during over 100 miles per hour on a rain soaked freeway, reported that "time seemed to slow down and then... part of my mind was a few feet outside the car zooming above it and then beside it and behind it and in front of it, looking at and analyzing the respective positions of my spinning Mustang and the cars surrounding me. Simultaneously I was inside trying to steer and control it in accordance with the multiple perspectives I was given by that part of my mind that was outside. It was like my mind split and one consciousness was inside the car, while the other was zooming all around outside and giving me visual feedback that enabled me to avoid hitting anyone or destroying my Mustang."

Numerous individuals from adults to children, from those born blind and deaf, have also reported experiencing a dissociative consciousness after profound injury causing near death (Eadie 1992; Rawling 1978; Ring 1980). Consider for example, the case of Army Specialist J. C. Bayne of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. Bayne was "killed" in Chu Lai, Vietnam, in 1966, after being simultaneously machine gunned and struck by a mortar. According to Bayne, when he opened his eyes he was floating in the air, looking down on his burnt and bloody body: "I could see me... it was like looking at a manikin laying there... I was burnt up and there was blood all over the place... I could see the Vietcong. I could see the guy pull my boots off. I could see the rest of them picking up various things... I was like a spectator... It was about four or five in the afternoon when our own troops came. I could hear and see them approaching... I looked dead... they put me in a bag... transferred me to a truck and then to the morgue. And from that point, it was the embalming process. I was on that table and a guy was telling jokes about those USO girls... all I had on was bloody undershorts... he placed my leg out and made a slight incision and stopped... he checked my pulse and heartbeat again and I could see that too... It was about that point I just lost track of what was taking place.... [until much later] when the chaplain was in there saying everything was going to be all right.... I was no longer outside. I was part of it at this point" (reported in Wilson, 1987, pp 113-114; and Sabom, 1982, pp 81-82).

Therefore, be it secondary to the fear of dying, or depth electrode stimulation, these experiences all appear to be due to a mental system which enables a the conscious mind to detach completely from the body in order to make the body an object of consciousness (Joseph, 1998, 1999b, 2001).

10. Quantum Consciousness

It could be said that consciousness is consciousness of something other than consciousness. Consciousness and knowledge of an object, such as a chair, are also distinct. Consciousness is not the chair. The chair is not consciousness. The chair is an object of consciousness, and thus become discontinuous from the quantum state.

Consciousness is consciousness of something and is conscious of not being that object that is is conscious of. By knowing what it isn't, consciousness may know what it is not, which helps define what it is. This consciousness of not being the object can be considered the "collapse function" which results in discontinuity within the continuuum.

Further, it could be said that consciousness of consciousness, that is, self-consciousness, also imparts a duality, a separation, into the fabric of the quantum continuum. Therefore this consciousness that is the object of consciousness, becomes an abstraction, and may create a collapse function in the continuun.

However, in instances of dissociation, this consciousness is conscious of itself as a consciousness that is floating above its body; a body which contains the brain. The dissociative consciousness is not dissociated from itself as a consciousness, but only from its body. That is, there is an awareness of itself as a consciousness that is floating above the body, and this awareness is simultaneously one with that consciousness, as there is no separation, no abstractions, and no objectification. It is a singularity that is without form, without dimension, without shape.

Moreover, because this dissociated consciousness appears to be continuous with itself, there is no "collapse function" except in regard to the body which is viewed as an object of perception.

Therefore, in these instances we can not say that consciousness has split into a duality of observer and observed or knower and known, except in regard to the body. Dissociated consciousness is conscious of itself as consciousness; it is self-aware without separation and without reflecting. It is knowing and known, simultaneously.

In fact, many patients report that in the dissociated state they achieve or nearly achieved a state of pure knowing (Joseph, 1996, 2001).

A patient described by Williams (1956) claimed she was lifted up out of her body, and experienced a very pleasant sensation of elation and the feeling that she was "just about to find out knowledge no one else shares, something to do with the link between life and death." Another patient reported that upon leaving her body she not only saw herself down below, but was taken to a special place "of vast proportions, and I felt as if I was in another world" (Williams, 1956).

Other patients suffering from temporal lobe seizures or upon direct electrical activation have noted that things suddenly became "crystal clear" or that they had a feeling of clairvoyance, of having the ultimate truth revealed to them, of having achieved a sense of greater awareness and cosmic clarity such that sounds, smells and visual objects seemed to have a greater meaning and sensibility, and that they were achieving a cosmic awareness of the hidden knowledge of all things (Joseph, 1996, 2001).

Although consciousness and the object of consciousness, that which is known, are not traditionally thought of as being one and the same, in dissociative states, consciousness and knowing, may become one and the same. The suggestion is of some type of cosmic unity, particularly as these patients also often report a progressive loss of the sense of individuality, as if they are merging into something greater than themselves, including a becoming one with all the knowledge of the universe; a singularity with god.

Commonly those who experience traumatic dissociative conscious states, not only float above the body, but report that they gradually felt they were losing all sense of individuality as they became embraced by a brilliant magnificent whiteness that extended out in all directions into eternity.

Therefore, rather than the dissociated consciousness acting outside the quantum state, it appears this mental state may represent an increasing submersion back into the continuity that is the quantum state, disappearing back into the continuum of singularity and oneness that is the quantum universe.

Dissociated consciousness may be but the last preamble before achieving the unity that is quantum consciousness, the unity of all things.

11. Conclusion: Quantum Consciousness and the Multiplicity of Mind

What is “Objective Reality” when the mind is a multiplicity which is capable of splitting up, observing itself, becoming blind to itself, and becoming blind to the features of the world which then cease to exist for the remaining mental realms?

Each mental system has its own "reality." Each observer is a multiplicity that engages in numerous simultaneous acts of observation. Therefore, non-local properties which do not have an objective existence independent of the “act of observation” by one mental system, may achieve existence when observed by another mental system. The "known" and the "unknown" can exist simultaneously and interchangeably and this may explain why we don't experience any macroscopic non-local quantum weirdness in our daily lives.

This means that quantum laws may apply to everything, from atoms to monkeys and woman and man and the multiplicity of mind. However, because of this multiplicity, this could lead to seemingly contradictory predictions and uncertainty when measuring macroscopically objective systems which are superimposed on microscopic quantum systems. Indeed, this same principle applies to the multiplicity of mind, where dominant parallel streams of conscious awareness may be superimposed on other mental systems, and which may be beset by uncertainty.

Because of the multiplicity of mind, as exemplified by dissociative states, the observer can also be observed, and thus, the observer is not really external to the quantum state as is required by the standard collapse formulation of quantum mechanics. This raises the possibility that the collapse formulation can be used to describe the universe as a whole which includes observers observing themselves being observed.

The multiplicity of mind also explains why an object being measured by one mental system therefore becomes bundled up into a state where it either determinately has or determinately does not have the property being measured. Measurements performed by one mental system are not being performed by others, such that the same object can have an initial state and a post-measurement state and a final state simultaneously as represented in multiple minds in parallel, or separate states as represented by each mental realm individually.

The collapse dynamics of observation supposedly guarantees that a system will either determinately have or determinately not have a particular property. However, because the observer is observing with multiple mental systems the object can both have and not have specific properties when it is being measure and not measured, simply because it is being measured and not measured, or rather, observed and not observed or its different features observed simultaneously by multiple mental systems. Therefore, it can be continuous and discontinuous in parallel, and different properties can be known and not known in parallel simultaneously.

And the same rules apply to the mental systems which exist in multiplicity within the head of a single observer. Mental systems can become continuous or discontinuous, and can be known and not known simultaneously, in parallel. Thus, the standard collapse formulation can be used to describe systems that contain observers, as the mind/observer can be simultaneously internal and external to the described system.

The mind is a multiplicity and there is no such thing as a "single observer state." Therefore, each element may be observed by multiple observer states which perceive multiple object systems thereby giving the illusion that the object has been transformed during the collapse function. What this also implies is that contrary to the standard or Copenhagen interpretations, states may have both definite position and definite momentum at the same time.

Each mental system perceives a different physical world giving rise to multiple worlds and multiple realities which may be subordinated by one or another more dominant stream of conscious awareness.

Moreover, as the multiplicity of mind can also detach and become discontinuous with the body, whereas dissociative consciousness is continuous with itself, this indicates that the mind is also capable of becoming one with the continuum, and can achieve singularity so that universe and mind become one.


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