Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1628 (2003) 111 – 122 Characterization of ciprofloxacin binding to the linear single- and double-stranded DNA Igor D. Vilfana,b,1, Petra Drevensˇeka, Iztok Turela, Natasˇa Poklar Ulriha,c,* a Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Asˇkercˇeva 5, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia b School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0400, USA
Patriziotressoldi.itThe Primordial Psyche Abstract: Scientific materialism is still influential in certain academic
spheres. In this article, I examine multiple lines of empirical evidence
showing that this ideology, while partially true, is woefully incomplete
and, therefore, obsolete. This evidence indicates that we humans can-
not be reduced to powerless, biophysical machines since the psyche
greatly influences the activity of the brain and the body, and can oper-
ate telosomatically. Based on this evidence, I introduce the Theory of
Psychelementarity (TOP) and present a few predictions. This theory
proposes that the psyche plays a role as primordial as that of matter,
energy, and space-time. Another central premise of this theory is that
the psyche cannot be reduced to physical processes. The TOP
accounts for a number of well-studied psychophysical phenomena,
which are reinterpreted in light of a post-materialist perspective. This
theory also accounts for anomalous phenomena that are currently
rejected by materialists.
Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 For personal use only -- not for reproduction 1.1. The Legacy of Scientific Materialism Few scientists are aware that the modern science's view of reality ispredicated on basic epistemological and ontological assumptions thatare rooted to a great extent in classical physics. Materialism — theidea that everything in the universe is composed of collections ofmaterial particles and fields — is one of these assumptions (the terms‘materialism' and ‘physicalism' are used interchangeably in this arti-cle). A related assumption is reductionism, the notion that complex Correspondence:Mario Beauregard PhD, Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health,Department of Psychology, The University of Arizona, PO Box 210068, Tucson,AZ 85721-0068, USA.
Journal of Consciousness Studies, 21, No. 7–8, 2014, pp. 132–57
THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE things can be understood by reducing them to the interactions of theirparts, or to simpler or more fundamental things.
Materialism and reductionism imply that the psyche (i.e. the totality of all mental processes — conscious and unconscious — includingconsciousness and self) is identical with or can be reduced to electri-cal-chemical processes in the brain. According to eliminativism, aradical materialist position, mental events such as thoughts are mereillusions generated by neural activity and we humans are mechanicalautomata largely determined by biophysical processes (Dennett,1991).
The metaphysical assumptions grounded in classical physics turned into dogmas during the nineteenth century, and coalesced into an ideo-logical belief system that came to be known as ‘scientific materialism'(Burtt, 1949). This ideology became dominant in academia during thetwentieth century. So dominant that a majority of scientists started tobelieve that it was based on established empirical evidence and repre-sented the only rational view of the world. According to an increasingnumber of theorists, the dominance of scientific materialism in theacademic world has hampered the development of the mind sciences(Beauregard and O'Leary, 2007; Nagel, 2012; Wallace, 2012).
Over a century ago, it became obvious that classical physics was limited; it was just not able to explain certain phenomena at the atomiclevel. The acknowledgment of these limitations led to the develop-ment of a revolutionary new branch of physics called quantum phys-ics (QP). The new physics refuted the metaphysical assumptionsassociated with classical physics. For instance, QP showed that atoms Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 and subatomic particles are not really objects — they do not exist withcertainty at definite spatial locations and definite times. Rather, they For personal use only -- not for reproduction show ‘tendencies to exist', forming a world of potentialities within thequantum domain (Heisenberg, 1976). Furthermore, QP demonstratedthat particles being observed and the observer — the physicist and themethod used for observation — are somehow linked, and the results ofthe observation seem to be influenced by the observer's consciousintent. This phenomenon has been called ‘the observer effect'.
Regarding this issue, a few theoretical physicists have argued that thephysical world cannot be fully understood without making referenceto the psyche (Wigner, 1967; Stapp, 2009).1  However, other physicists do not think that the psyche is required to interpret this phenom- enon (Rosenblum and Kuttner, 2006).
1.2. Introducing the Theory of Psychelementarity Various neuroscience methods (e.g. recording, stimulation, lesion,pharmacological) have allowed researchers to make strides toward theidentification of the neural correlates of mental processes and events.
The results of the studies done using these experimental methods indi-cate that mental activity is closely associated with neuroelectrical andneurochemical activity. For instance, electrical stimulation of thefusiform gyrus (FG) in epileptic patients can lead to selective distor-tion during the visual perception of human faces (Parvizi et al., 2012).
This finding provides evidence for a key role of the FG in face percep-tion. But it does not imply that conscious visual perception of facescan be ontologically reduced to neural activity in the FG. Indeed, neu-roscience studies do not demonstrate that neural correlates directlyproduce mental phenomena, and they do not establish that mentalstates and conscious experiences are ontologically identical to brainprocesses (such as the propagation of nerve impulses across synapsesor the release of neurotransmitters via exocytosis).
Materialist theories fail to elucidate how the brain could generate the psyche, and are unable to account for a plethora of empirical find-ings indicating that mental phenomena can causally interact withevents occurring within and outside the confines of the brain andbody. Materialistically inclined scientists and philosophers refuse totake into account some of these findings — or deny their existence —because they are not consistent with the materialist conception of theworld. This is antithetical to the true spirit of scientific enquiry.
Indeed, great advances in science are always made by following the Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 evidence, wherever it leads (Beauregard, 2012).
For personal use only -- not for reproduction In the present article, I shall review evidence that illustrates a num- ber of serious limitations of the materialist framework. This corpus ofevidence suggests that the psyche exerts a causal influence on theactivity of the brain and the body. Other evidence indicates that thepsyche can operate telosomatically, i.e. beyond the confines of thebrain and body. To better account for these phenomena, I propose aTheory of Psychelementarity (TOP). This theory posits that the psy-che plays a role as primordial as that of matter, energy, and space-time.
Another central premise of the TOP is that the psyche cannot bereduced to physical processes. Contrary to other theories, the TOP hasa fledgling yet solid base of empirical evidence to support it.
Some historical antecedents of the TOP have to be acknowledged.
In terms of pre-modern thought, these antecedents include Vedantaand Neoplatonic philosophies; in terms of modern scientific thought, THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE William James had similar ideas with respect to the mind–brain rela-tionship. In regard to this issue, he wrote: ‘When we think of the lawthat thought is a function of the brain, we are not required to think ofproductive function only; we are entitled also to consider permissiveor transmissive function' (James, 1898/1900, p. 15).
2. Effect of the Psyche upon Brain Activity
A strong body of psychological research supports mental causation ofbehaviour. For instance, a number of studies show that thoughts cancausally affect behavioural outcomes via implementation intentionsthat are translated into specific plans (Baumeister et al., 2011). In linewith this, it has been shown that the explanatory and predictive valueof agentic factors (e.g. beliefs, goals, aspirations, desires, expecta-tions) is very high (Bandura, 2001).
These psychological studies imply that mental phenomena signifi- cantly influence neurophysiological activity. With respect to thisquestion, materialists/physicalists commonly allege that the psychecannot have a causal effect upon the body because such an effect isincompatible with the principle of the causal closure of the physicalworld. This principle states that the non-physical causation of physi-cal events would have to conduce to an increase in the amount ofenergy that is present in the physical world (by non-physical, I meannot pertaining to matter, energy, and the fundamental forces of phys-ics). Now, such an increase would violate the principle of the conser-vation of energy, according to which the total amount of energy in aclosed system remains constant. Therefore, the physical world cannot Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 be affected by non-physical factors. In regard to this question, it is For personal use only -- not for reproduction crucial to know that the principle of the causal closure of the physicalworld is based on the premises of classical — not quantum — physics(Stapp, 2011).
There is now considerable evidence that mental phenomena greatly affect the functioning of the brain. This evidence is examined in thenext subsections.
2.1. Emotional Self-Regulation The construct of emotional self-regulation refers to the cognitive pro-cesses by which we can consciously and voluntarily influence whichemotions we have, when we have them, and how we experience andexpress these emotions (Gross, 1999). The cognitive strategies used toself-regulate emotion include, among others, reappraisal (reinterpret-ing/transforming the meaning of the emotion-eliciting stimulus/event to change one's emotional response to it) and cognitive distancing(viewing a stimulus from the perspective of a detached and distantobserver).
Since the turn of the millennium, several functional neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that we can consciously and volitionallyalter the activity of brain regions involved in emotional processing.
My research team carried out the first of these studies (Beauregard etal., 2001). The main objective of the study was to identify the neuralcorrelates of self-regulation of sexual arousal using functional mag-netic resonance imaging (fMRI). Healthy male volunteers werescanned during a sexual arousal condition and a down-regulation con-dition. In the sexual arousal condition, the volunteers viewed a seriesof erotic film clips. They were instructed to react normally to thesestimuli. In the down-regulation condition, the volunteers wereinstructed to use cognitive distancing while they were watching com-parable erotic film clips. To assess the emotional reactions of the vol-unteers to the film excerpts, they were asked at the outset of eachcondition to rate on a numerical (analogue) rating scale the intensityof primary emotions felt during the viewing of the film segments.
Experientially, the viewing of the erotic film clips during both con- ditions induced a state of sexual arousal in all volunteers. In thedown-regulation condition, most volunteers reported having beensuccessful at cognitively distancing themselves from the erotic filmclips. Consistent with this, the mean level of sexual arousal was sig-nificantly higher in the sexual arousal condition than in the down-reg-ulation condition. Furthermore, a significant activation of the right Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 amygdala, right anterior temporal pole, and hypothalamus was notedin the sexual arousal condition whereas in the down-regulation condi- For personal use only -- not for reproduction tion no blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) activation wasmeasured in these regions. However, activation peaks were noted inthe right lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) and the rostro-ventral ante-rior cingulate cortex (ACC).
Using a similar paradigm, we conducted another fMRI study to cir- cumscribe the neural correlates of self-regulation of sadness(Lévesque et al., 2003). Healthy female volunteers were scanned dur-ing a sad condition and a down-regulation condition. Transient sad-ness was induced using film clips. As expected, the mean level ofreported sadness was significantly higher in the sad condition than inthe down-regulation condition. Moreover, significant loci of activa-tion were measured during the sad condition in the anterior temporalpole, midbrain, right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), leftamygdala, and left insula. In the down-regulation condition, signifi- THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE cant activation peaks were detected only in the right orbitofrontal cor-tex (OFC) and right LPFC.
A number of fMRI studies have been carried out regarding the self-regulation of negative emotion. In one of those studies, Ochsnerand colleagues (2002) presented emotionally negative pictures tohealthy female volunteers. The volunteers were instructed to eitherallow themselves to experience/feel any emotional response the pic-tures might elicit (attend condition) or to reinterpret the pictures sothat they no longer generated a negative emotional response(reappraise condition). After the presentation of each picture, volun-teers had to rate on a scale the strength of current negative emotion.
Experientially, reappraisal of negative pictures successfully lessenednegative emotion. The average ratings of the strength of negativeemotion were significantly lower on reappraise trials than on attendtrials. In addition, the right amygdala was significantly more activatedon attend than reappraise trials, and reappraisal was associated with asignificant activation of the dorsal and ventral regions of the leftLPFC as well as the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. Ochsner et al.
(2004) subsequently performed another fMRI study in healthy femalevolunteers to compare the neural systems supporting down- andup-regulation with reappraisal of negative emotion induced by pic-tures. Results indicated that amygdala activation was modulated up ordown in agreement with the regulatory goal.
Collectively, these studies indicate that conscious voluntary regula- tion of emotion is mediated mainly by a neural system encompassing afew prefrontal regulatory areas (e.g. LPFC, OFC, rostral ACC).
Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 Importantly, the findings of these studies demonstrate that, in healthypeople, the conscious and voluntary use of cognitive strategies selec- For personal use only -- not for reproduction tively alters the activity of brain regions and circuits involved in emo-tion processing.
During the last few decades, many functional neuroimaging studieshave been carried out to measure the effects of different types of psy-chotherapy on brain function. To date, cognitive-behavioural therapy(CBT) has been the most extensively investigated psychotherapeuticapproach. CBT helps people overcome dysfunctional emotionalresponses and choose new behaviours through various behaviouraland cognitive techniques.
In an influential study (Schwartz et al., 1996), individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were studied during resting state with positron emission tomography (PET) before and after 10weeks of the four-step cognitive-behavioural treatment method devel-oped by research psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz. The main objective ofthis approach is to teach OCD sufferers to respond cognitively tointrusive thoughts and urges — which comprise the core symptoms ofthis anxiety disorder — in a novel and more adaptive way. In treat-ment responders, results showed significant bilateral decreases incaudate glucose metabolic rates that were greater than those measuredin poor responders. Before treatment, significant correlations werefound, in the right hemisphere, between the orbitofrontal gyrus andthe head of the caudate nucleus, and the orbital gyrus and thethalamus. These correlations diminished markedly after effectivetreatment.
So far, a few neuroimaging studies have been conducted to identify regional brain changes following CBT in individuals with specificphobias. In one of those studies (Paquette et al., 2003), we used fMRIin spider phobics to measure, one week before CBT and one weekafter CBT, brain responses to the viewing of film clips depicting spi-ders. The CBT consisted of gradual exposure-based treatment to spi-ders using guided mastery and education for correcting misbeliefsabout these arthropods. During four consecutive weeks, phobic vol-unteers met once a week with two psychotherapists for an intensivegroup session. In the first session, phobic volunteers were graduallyexposed to an exercise book containing colour pictures of spiders. Inthe second session, they were gradually exposed to film excerpts ofliving spiders. Self-exposure homework, with the exercise book and Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 the videotape, was given between each session. In the third session,volunteers were exposed to real spiders. During this session, a spider For personal use only -- not for reproduction expert from the Montreal Insectarium provided volunteers with a lotof information about spiders, helping them to correct their erroneousbeliefs concerning these arthropods. In the fourth and last session,volunteers were asked to touch a tarantula. All phobic volunteersresponded successfully. fMRI results showed that in phobic volun-teers before CBT, the transient state of fear triggered by the phobo-genic stimuli was associated with significant activation of the rightLPFC, the parahippocampal gyrus, and the visual associative corticalareas. After successful completion of CBT, no significant activationwas seen in the LPFC and the parahippocampal gyrus.
The impact of CBT has been investigated in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) (Goldapple et al., 2004). Depressed vol-unteers were scanned, using 18FDG PET, before and after a 15- to20-session CBT treatment. During this treatment, volunteers learned THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE behavioural and cognitive strategies aimed at combating dysphoricmood and reducing automatic reactivity to negative thoughts. Signifi-cant clinical improvement was noted in all study completers. Thisimprovement was associated with increases in hippocampus and dor-sal ACC, and decreases in dorsal, ventral, and medial prefrontal corti-cal areas.
The effects of other forms of psychotherapy have also been exam- ined in depressed individuals. For instance, Brody et al. (2001)explored the impact of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) — a briefform of psychotherapy that addresses interpersonal issues — onregional cerebral metabolic activity in individuals with MDD.
Depressed volunteers and normal controls underwent 18FDG PETscanning before and after 12 weeks. Depressed volunteers weretreated with IPT between the initial and repeat scans while controlsreceived no treatment. The initial 18FDG PET scan revealed thatdepressed volunteers had higher metabolism than controls in the PFC,caudate, and thalamus, while lower metabolism was found in the ante-rior inferior temporal lobe. Following IPT, depressed volunteers hadmetabolic changes in the direction of normalization in these brainregions. Symptomatic improvement was associated with decreases inthe right PFC and left anterior cingulate gyrus, and increases in the lefttemporal lobe. Normal controls had no significant changes in thesecerebral structures.
Taken together, these neuroimaging investigations suggest that the mental functions and processes (e.g. conscious recognition of nega-tive thoughts and beliefs, voluntary regulation of negative emotional Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 states) involved in the various types of psychotherapy do exert a sig-nificant influence on the functioning and plasticity of the brain.
For personal use only -- not for reproduction 2.3. Placebo Effect The word placebo is Latin for ‘I shall please'. Placebo refers to anytreatment (e.g. drugs, surgery, psychotherapy) used for its ameliora-tive effect on a disease but that is actually ineffective for the conditionbeing treated (Shapiro and Shapiro, 1997). The physiologicalresponses induced by placebos appear to reflect a mind/body interac-tion that is driven by subjective factors such as beliefs, expectations,meaning, hope for improvement, and relational parameters.
Several neuroimaging studies have investigated brain responses to placebo treatments administered to clinical and non-clinical popula-tions. Some of these studies have focused on Parkinson's disease(PD). This neurological disorder is characterized by a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the dorsal striatum (caudate andputamen). Clinically, PD is associated with poverty of movements.
Classic treatment with levodopa (L-dopa) aims at increasing dopa-mine levels in the dorsal striatum. Such increase improves motorfunction (de la Fuente-Fernandez and Stoessl, 2004).
De la Fuente-Fernandez et al. (2001) have scanned patients with PD using PET and a labelled dopaminergic agonist ([11C] raclopride),which binds to dopamine D2/D3 receptors. The striatal raclopridebinding potential was evaluated under two conditions: (1) a placebo-controlled, blinded study in which the patients did not know whenthey were receiving placebo or active drug (apomorphine, a dopaminereceptor agonist) — all patients received both placebo and activedrug; (2) an open study in the same patients without placebo (base-line). When placebo was administered, a significantly decreasedraclopride binding potential was found in the dorsal striatum relativeto baseline. This decrease in raclopride binding capacity was corre-lated with improvement in clinical symptoms. Of note, the magnitudeof the placebo response was similar to that of apomorphine. Theseresults provide evidence for substantial release of endogenous dopa-mine in the dorsal striatum of PD patients in response to placebo. Thispowerful placebo effect in PD seems to be mediated by an increase inthe synaptic levels of dopamine in the impaired nigrostriatal dopa-mine system. Interestingly, the estimated amount of released dopa-mine was higher in those patients who experienced a placebo effectthan in those who did not.
It is well established that the placebo effect plays a pivotal role in Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 controlled clinical trials of antidepressant drugs (Shapiro and Shapiro,1997). To learn more about the neural mechanisms underlying this For personal use only -- not for reproduction effect, Mayberg and colleagues (2002) used FDG PET to measurechanges in regional brain glucose metabolism in patients with MDDwho were participating in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-con-trolled study of the antidepressant fluoxetine. Responses to the admin-istration of placebo or fluoxetine were assessed after a six-week trial.
FDG PET scans were acquired before treatment (baseline) and afterone and six weeks of treatment. For the responders in both groups(placebo and fluoxetine), clinical response at the end of the six-weektrial was associated with increases in prefrontal, parietal, and poste-rior cingulate cortices, and decreases in subgenual cingulate cortex,parahippocampus, and thalamus. These results indicate that placebocan generate metabolic changes in cortical and paralimbic areas thatare relatively comparable to those of fluoxetine, a selective seroto-nergic reuptake inhibitor known to uplift mood and reduce dysphoria.
THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE The brain mechanisms associated with placebo analgesia have also been examined. Placebo-induced analgesia seems to depend upon theendogenous opioid system since it can be blocked by the administra-tion of the opioid antagonist naloxone (Levine et al., 1978). Thiseffect of naloxone suggests that placebo analgesics can promote therelease of endogenous opioids. To explore this question, Petrovic etal. (2002) scanned healthy volunteers with PET. The analgesic effectsof a placebo treatment (saline) and remifentanil, a rapidly actingopioid agonist, were compared in a pain-stimulus paradigm contain-ing six different conditions: heat pain and opioid treatment; non-pain-ful warm stimulation and opioid treatment; heat pain and placebotreatment; non-painful warm stimulation and placebo treatment; heatpain only; and non-painful warm stimulation only. To produce pla-cebo responses, volunteers were told that each of the drugs was apotent analgesic. The placebo treatment was also preceded by activeopioid during noxious stimulation. Remifentanil was associated withrCBF increases in the rACC and lower brainstem, two cerebral struc-tures known to be involved in opioid analgesia. Pain intensity ratingduring the placebo condition decreased in most volunteers, comparedto the pain condition. The placebo analgesia (heat pain and placebotreatment vs. heat pain only) was accompanied by increased rCBF inthe orbitofrontal regions, bilaterally, and the contralateral rACC(rostral to the ACC activation during pain). These results support theview that the rACC is involved in the analgesic response mechanismduring placebo.
Many other neuroimaging studies have been conducted with Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 respect to the placebo effect. The results of these studies provide con-vincing evidence that beliefs, expectations, and hope for improve- For personal use only -- not for reproduction ment can markedly modulate neurophysiological and neurochemicalactivity in brain regions involved in a variety of functions (e.g. per-ception, movement, pain, emotion).
3. Psychosomatic Influence
The sphere of influence of the psyche is not restricted to the brain.
Indeed, there is now a wealth of evidence suggesting that the psycheplays a key role in health and disease. Concerning this question, adirect connection was discovered in the 1980s between nerve fibres ofthe sympathetic nervous system and cells of the immune system in thespleen, lymph nodes, thymus, and bone marrow. At about the sametime, neuropeptide receptors were found in the immune system.
Neuropeptides — composed of short chains of amino acids — are small molecules that are used by neurons to communicate with eachother. These molecules are implicated in various functions includingemotions, motivation, learning, and memory, as well as food intake.
These findings established the field of psychoneuroimmunology (orPNI), the study of the interactions between mental processes and thenervous and immune systems.
PNI researchers demonstrated that there are, in fact, a myriad of connections between the brain and the immune system. Studies con-ducted during the last 30 years have shown that chemical messengersproduced by immune cells signal the brain, and the brain sends chemi-cal signals to the immune system. Other studies have confirmed thatour thoughts and feelings do affect our health and well-being. Thesestudies indicate that the causes, development, and outcomes of an ill-ness are determined by the interaction of psychological and social fac-tors with biochemical changes that affect the immune system, theendocrine system, and the cardiovascular system (Ray, 2004).
In line with this, events and situations that we perceive as uncon- trollable can lead to important disruption of the immune and endo-crine systems. For instance, during marital discord, immuneresponses are weakened, and the levels of stress hormones are ele-vated in the spouse who experiences the greatest amount of stress andfeelings of helplessness (Vitetta et al., 2005). In contrast, a positiveemotional state can bolster the immune function. In regard to thisquestion, Cohen et al. (2006) have performed experiments in whichvolunteers were administered standard doses of infectious organismssuch as rhinovirus (common cold) and influenza virus. The responses Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 to the viruses were analysed in relation to the emotional state of theparticipants. In these studies, volunteers were monitored in quaran- For personal use only -- not for reproduction tine. Results revealed that participants whose affect remained verypositive over several days had reduced risk of developing aninfection.
The influence of the psyche on the activity of the physiological sys- tems connected to the brain is exerted mostly in a non-conscious man-ner. However, there is some evidence that the psyche can influence thebody consciously and volitionally. For example, it has been shownthat healthy volunteers can intentionally use mental imagery to posi-tively influence the functioning of their immune system, in particularthe activity of neutrophils, the most abundant type of white blood cells(Trakhtenberg, 2008).
THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE 4. The Extended Psyche
Materialist scientists and philosophers commonly argue that whatappear to be instances of mental influence on brain activity are, inreality, the result of the action of certain cerebral structures on otherareas of the brain (Dennett, 1991). Other, non-materialist dual-aspect,theorists propose that while normal, embodied mental experiencesappear causally effective from a first-person perspective, the causaleffects of these experiences can also be explained in neural terms froma third-person perspective (see, for instance, Velmans, 2002). As faras these analyses go, neither of them examines the possibility that thepsyche might be able to exert an influence outside of the confines ofthe body (with the exception of Velmans, who proposes that distantmental influence on physical and living systems might reflect connec-tions within the unconscious ground of being — see Velmans, 2012and 2013). However, such extended causal effects have to be takenseriously. As we shall see in this section, empirical evidence indicatesthat the psyche can exert telosomatic effects that can operate evenwhen the brain is non-functional.
4.1. Psi Phenomena Psi effects refer to mental phenomena that cannot be explained byknown physical principles (i.e. via sensory capacities and motor activ-ity). People throughout history and across all cultures have reportedthese phenomena, and thousands of controlled scientific experimentsconducted over the last several decades have demonstrated the realityof psi effects. Nevertheless, psi phenomena are still being rejected as Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 impossible by scientists who have faith in the materialist ideology.
For personal use only -- not for reproduction Why? Because these phenomena demonstrate that scientific material-ism is just an obsolete ideology.
Telepathy — the mental transmission of information from one per- son to another without the use of ordinary senses — represents onetype of psi phenomenon whose existence has been empirically estab-lished. In the 1970s, three researchers — Charles Honorton, AdrianParker, and William Braud — independently arrived at the hypothesisthat a reduction of sensory stimulation should favour the occurrenceof psi. Honorton, Parker, and Braud surmised that psi operates as aweak signal that is usually concealed in stronger signals related to oursenses and continually bombarding us. Separately, these researchersdevised a telepathy experiment based on the ganzfeld condition — asensory deprivation technique that rapidly evokes an agreeable,dreamy state of awareness, and which was originally developed to investigate visual mental imagery. The three researchers speculatedthat with sensory stimulation blocked, the likelihood of perceivingsubtle impressions would be greatly enhanced.
Ganzfeld telepathy experiments typically involve two participants: one who concentrates on mentally transmitting an image — the sender— and another who receives it — the receiver. These experiments aregenerally conducted in three phases: preparation, sending, and judg-ing. In the preparation phase, the receiver sits in the ganzfeld room ina cozy reclining chair, wearing translucent hemispheres (usuallyhalved ping-pong balls) over her eyes and headphones on her ears. Ared light shines on her face as she listens to a constant stream of whitenoise played through the headphones. The experimenter asks an assis-tant to randomly select one ‘target pack' of pictures out of a large poolof such packs. Each pack comprises four pictures, and all the targetpacks and target pictures are hidden inside opaque envelopes. Thereceiver is then locked in the room. During the sending phase, theexperimenter gives the sender the target, still in its opaque envelope,and the sender is then locked in a room. The sender views the targetpicture and tries to mentally send it to the receiver. The sender isrequested to attempt to become ‘immersed' in the target picture and tosend her ‘full experience'. In the judging phase, the experimenterinforms both the sender and the receiver that the sending phase is ter-minated. The red lamp and the white noise are turned off, and theping-pong ball eyeshades are removed. The experimenter then pres-ents the receiver with copies of the four pictures and asks her to rankthese pictures (1 to 4) as to how well each accords with her subjective Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 impressions during the sending phase. A ‘hit' is scored if the receiverranks the target number 1. If not, the experiment is considered a For personal use only -- not for reproduction ‘miss'. Statistically this experiment has a 25 percent chance hit rate —that is, it should produce a hit every four trials (Radin, 1997).
At the beginning of the 1980s, Honorton and his colleagues improved the methodological quality of ganzfeld experiments by cre-ating a fully automated procedure they called the ‘autoganzfeld'. Intypical autoganzfeld experiments, the target pool consists of 80 shortaudio-video clips (taken from motion pictures, cartoons, and TVshows). The video-based target pack and the video-clip target areselected randomly by a computer, and a closed-circuit video systempresents the target to the sender over a video monitor. Additionally,the interactions between the experimenter, receiver, and sender aretotally automated, and a computer presents the four targets in randomorder to a video monitor in the receiver's room.
THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE Honorton and his co-workers carried out a six-year research pro- gramme using autoganzfeld sessions. Overall, 240 people partici-pated as receivers in 354 autoganzfeld sessions. The hit rate was 37percent (12 percent above chance expectation) and the odds againstchance were 45,000 to one (Honorton and Schecter, 1987).
From 1974 through 2004, 88 ganzfeld experiments had been reported by researchers Dean Radin, Dick Bierman, Daryl Bem, andAdrian Parker. A meta-analysis of the replication studies conductedby these researchers revealed a hit rate of 32 percent (a 7 percent effectabove chance) with odds against chance of 29 quintillion(29,000,000,000,000,000,000) to one (Radin, 2006). The results ofthis meta-analysis provide strong evidence that that the results werenot due to chance.
One complication in conducting meta-analysis has been called the ‘file-drawer problem'. This problem refers to hypothetical studies thatscientists performed but did not bother to publish — and consigned tothe ‘file drawer' — because they produced a null result. For a longtime, critics have argued that these hypothetical studies were con-cealed on purpose by psi researchers. Fortunately, meta-analyses pro-vide a solid basis for calculating how many file-drawer studies therewould have to be to explicate the positive results that have been pub-lished. In the case of the experiments conducted by Radin, Bierman,Bem, and Parker, a conservative assessment of the number of experi-ments required to invalidate this finding is 2,002. This number repre-sents a ratio of 23 file-drawer studies to each published experiment. Inother words, each of the 30 known investigators would have had to Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 perform but not report 67 supplementary experiments. Consideringthat the average ganzfeld experiment had 36 trials, these 2,002 ‘con- For personal use only -- not for reproduction cealed' investigations would have required 72,072 additional ses-sions. To produce this number of sessions would entail unceasinglyrunning ganzfeld sessions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 36years. As Radin (2006) notes, this is highly unlikely.
At this point in time, more than 50 researchers have reported suc- cessful replications from laboratories across the United States, Swe-den, UK, Argentina, Australia, and Italy. Some ask why hit rates arenot higher, but it is important to realize that the 32 percent hit rate wasobtained mainly with volunteers who do not claim any particular abil-ity (Tressoldi et al., 2010). When special populations are investigated,such as creative artists, much higher hit rates (e.g. 47 percent, i.e. 22percent above chance expectation) are measured (Holt, 2007).
Ganzfeld telepathy experiments suggest that we can send informa- tion across space without the use of ordinary senses to other human beings. Can we also mentally influence at a distance physical systemsand living organisms? Some researchers have explored these intriguing questions. In the 1960s physicist Helmut Schmidt began using random-number genera-tors (RNGs) to explore mental interaction with inanimate matter. Arandom-number generator (RNG) is an electronic circuit that pro-duces thousands of random coin-flips per second. But rather thanheads and tails, the RNG produces sequences of random bits, 0s and1s. Contemporary RNG devices mainly rely upon one of two randomsources, radioactive decay times or electronic noise based on quantumprocesses. These two sources provide electronic spikes that may occurrandomly a thousand times a second. These spikes are used to gener-ate sequences of random bits by interrupting a precise, crystal-con-trolled clock. The random bit used is determined by the state of theclock when it is interrupted by a random spike.
In a prototypical experiment, participants sit in front of a computer screen, observing a moving graphic line which represents the outputsof the RNG. They are asked to mentally influence the RNG's output sothat it produces more 0s than 1s (or vice versa). When, for example,the RNG produces more 0s than 1s, the graphic line moves upwards;with more 1s than 0s, it moves downwards (or vice versa). Under nor-mal circumstances, the graphic line is expected to fluctuate slightly,moving up and down randomly.
In 1987, research psychologist Roger Nelson, of Princeton Univer- sity, and psi researcher Dean Radin conducted a meta-analysis ofRNG experiments. A total of 597 studies conducted by 68 different Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 researchers were included in their meta-analysis. The overall resultsgenerated odds against chance beyond one trillion to one. The number For personal use only -- not for reproduction of unreported studies required to render null the statistically signifi-cant RNG effect was found to be 54,000 (Nelson and Radin, 1987).
Later, engineer Robert Jahn and his colleagues at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory (PEAR Lab) publisheda review of 12 years of RNG experiments performed in their lab.
These experiments included more than 100 volunteers, who wereasked to try to intentionally influence the RNG outputs to drift abovethe chance-expected average (the High aim condition), then below-chance (the Low aim condition). The results showed that when theparticipants wished for high scores, the RNG outputs drifted up;whereas when the participants wished for low scores, the RNG out-puts drifted down. Jahn and his co-workers estimated that the resultsover the entire database produced odds against chance of 35 trillion toone. Interestingly, in some of the PEAR experiments, the participants THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE were thousands of miles away from the RNG, and no decline in effectswas found as a function of distance (Jahn et al., 2000).
Psychologist William Braud and his colleague, anthropologist Marilyn Schlitz, have carried out several experiments to investigatewhether it is possible to mentally influence at a distance living organ-isms. In these experiments, skin resistance in the receiver (the targetperson) was constantly monitored while at randomly selected periodsa sender in a separate room attempted to arouse or calm the receiver bymeans of intentions, thoughts, and images. During the control periods,that were also randomly selected, the sender was asked to focus his/her attention elsewhere. Braud and Schlitz performed a meta-analysisof all these experiments (n = 37), which comprised 655 sessions, with153 people acting as senders and 449 people or animals acting asreceivers. The combined experiments resulted in odds against chanceof more than a hundred trillion to one. The results of these experi-ments provided evidence for successful remote influence of skin con-ductance (Braud and Schlitz, 1991). These studies support the viewthat people can respond unconsciously to distant mental influences.
Other investigations indicate that people can mentally influence at adistance living organisms such as enzymes, bacteria, plants, mice, anddogs.
Various sceptical theories have been proposed to explain reports of psi. These theories include wishful thinking, embellishment, sensoryillusions, delusion, memory tricks, experimental design flaws, under-estimates of the frequency of coincidence, selective reporting, andfraud (Alcock, 1981; Hyman, 1989). Under certain circumstances, Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 these factors may mimic psi effects. However, the experimental proto-cols used to collect the data presented in this section were designed to For personal use only -- not for reproduction preclude such explanations. In this context, sceptical theories cannotbe the sole explanation for psi phenomena (Radin, 2006).
To sum up, psi research indicates that the human psyche can obtain specific, meaningful information in ways that transcend the usual lim-itations of space and time. Moreover, psi research suggests that physi-cal systems and living organisms can be influenced by mentalintention.
4.2. Near-Death Experiences in Cardiac Arrest Near-death experiences (NDEs) are vivid, realistic, and often deeplylife-changing experiences occurring to people who have been physio-logically or psychologically close to death (Holden, 2009). Enhancedmental activity, a clear memory of the experience, and a conviction that the experience is more real than ordinary waking consciousnessare core features of NDEs (Greyson, 2011). Other common featuresinclude an out-of-body experience (OBE), i.e. a sense of having leftone's body and watching events going on around one's body and,occasionally, at some distant physical location; feelings of peace andjoy; passage though a region of darkness or a dark tunnel; seeing anotherworldly realm of great beauty; encountering deceased relativesand friends; seeing an unusually bright light, sometimes experiencedas a ‘Being of Light' that radiates complete acceptance and uncondi-tional love and may communicate telepathically with the near-deathexperiencer (NDEr); seeing and reliving major and incidental eventsof one's life, sometimes from the perspective of the other peopleinvolved; and returning to the physical body, often unwillingly (ibid.).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a number of materialist interpretations have attempted to explain away the subjective experience of NDEs.
Some researchers have speculated that NDEs are hallucinationsproduced by lowered levels of oxygen, i.e. hypoxia or anoxia(Blackmore, 1993). However, NDEs can occur in the absence ofhypoxia or anoxia (as in non-life-threatening illnesses and near-acci-dents), and the subjective effects of hypoxia do not have much in com-mon with NDEs (Holden, 2009). Furthermore, when oxygen levelsdecrease markedly, individuals whose lungs or hearts do not workproperly experience an ‘acute confusional state', during which theyare highly confused and agitated, and have little or no memory recall.
In stark contrast, during NDEs people experience lucid conscious-ness, well-structured thought processes, and clear reasoning (Parnia Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 et al., 2001). In addition, if anoxia would play a central role in the pro-duction of NDEs, most cardiac arrest patients would report an NDE.
For personal use only -- not for reproduction Studies show that this is clearly not the case (van Lommel et al.,2001).
Other researchers have hypothesized that increased levels of car- bon dioxide — hypercarbia — may be implicated in NDEs (Morse etal., 1989). However, NDE-like features are rarely reported in hyper-carbia. Moreover, there have been instances in which arterial bloodgases in NDErs did not reflect elevated carbon dioxide levels (Parniaet al., 2001).
It has also been speculated that temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) can produce all the main features of NDEs (Saavedra-Aguilar andGÙmez-Jeria, 1989). A review of the literature on epilepsy, however,indicates that the typical features of NDEs are not associated with epi-leptic seizures located in the temporal lobes (Rodin, 1989). Experi- THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE ential symptoms of such seizures include mental confusion, hallucina-tions, illusions, and negative emotional states.
Nearly half of the NDErs report an OBE. Reports of OBE percep- tion of events (e.g. attempts of medical personnel to resuscitate theNDErs) are quite important because they can be independently cor-roborated, i.e. proven to coincide with reality. With respect to thisissue, several reports of OBE perception have been corroborated byindependent witnesses (Holden, 2009). Veridical OBE perceptionconstitutes a serious hurdle for materialist theories of the psyche.
Some proponents of these theories (Saavedra-Aguilar and GÙmez-Jeria, 1989; Woerlee, 2004) argue that OBE perception of events hap-pening around the NDEr's body is simply a retrospective imaginativereconstruction based on the memory of events that the NDEr mighthave witnessed just before losing consciousness or while regainingconsciousness. This hypothesis is incorrect since, generally, memoryof events occurring just before or after loss of consciousness is eitherconfused or totally absent (Holden, 2009; van Lommel et al., 2001).
Importantly, confused experiences remembered by individuals as theylose or regain consciousness do not have a life-transforming impact(Greyson, 2011).
NDEs occurring in cardiac arrest pose another major problem for materialist theories of the psyche. During cardiac arrest, breathingstops, and blood flow and oxygen uptake in the brain are rapidly inter-rupted. When this happens, the electroencephalogram (EEG)becomes isoelectric (flatline) within 10–20 seconds and brainstemreflexes disappear (Clute and Levy, 1990). The individual having the Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 cardiac arrest is then considered to be clinically dead. Because thebrain structures mediating conscious experience and higher mental For personal use only -- not for reproduction functions, such as perception and memory, are severely impaired,such patients are expected to have no clear and lucid mental experi-ences that will be remembered. Nonetheless, studies conducted in theNetherlands (van Lommel et al., 2001), United Kingdom (Parnia etal., 2001), and United States (Schwaninger et al., 2002; Greyson,2003) have revealed that approximately 15 percent of cardiac arrestsurvivors do report some recollection from the time when they wereclinically dead. In those studies, more than 100 cases of full-blownNDEs were reported. In some of these cases, NDErs provided evi-dence for veridical OBE perception.
Advocates of materialist theories of the psyche frequently argue that, even if the EEG is isoelectric, there may be some residual brainactivity that goes undetected because of the limitations of scalp-EEGtechnology. This is possible given that current scalp-EEG technology measures mainly the activity of large populations of cortical neurons.
However, as notes Greyson, the crucial ‘issue is not whether there isbrain activity of any kind whatsoever, but whether there is brain activ-ity of the specific form agreed upon by contemporary neuroscientistsas the necessary condition of conscious experience' (Greyson, 2011,p. 4688). This form of neuroelectrical activity, which is well detectedvia current EEG technology, is clearly abolished by cardiac arrest.
The fact that enhanced mental experiences and accurate OBE per- ception can occur at a time when brain activity is greatly impaired orseemingly absent (during clinical death) strongly challenges the prev-alent neuroscientific view that the psyche results solely from brainactivity. It is noteworthy that, from an ontological perspective, NDEsoccurring in cardiac arrest suggest that there may be other levels ofreality that are non-physical.
5. Postulates and Predictions
The goal of this section of the article is to enumerate and explain suc-cinctly the postulates of the TOP. These postulates are mostly basedon the empirical evidence presented in the preceding sections. A fewpredictions derived from some of these postulates are also presented.
Postulate 1: The Psyche is Primordial and Irreducible The first postulate of the TOP is that the psyche is irreducible and itsontological status is as primordial as that of matter, energy, andspace-time. In regard to this question, philosopher David Chalmers(1996) and cosmologist Andrei Linde (1990) have both argued that Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 consciousness, one of the psyche's core properties, is a fundamental For personal use only -- not for reproduction constituent of the universe.
This postulate is based on the undeniable and irremediable fact that the world we experience is apprehended subjectively through the psy-che. Consciousness is a prerequisite for reality because it allows us tohave subjective experiences related to both the physical side and themental side of the world. Without consciousness, we could not enjoythe musical genius of Mozart or the exquisite taste of a Dom Perignonchampagne, and there would be no sense of self, no science, and noapprehension of the world.
In keeping with this, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the universe cannot be adequately explained without taking the psycheinto consideration. As we have seen, this view is supported by the factthat, at the quantum level, the human psyche does appear to influencethe physical events being measured (Wigner, 1967; Rosenblum and THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE Kuttner, 2006; Stapp, 2009). Moreover, at a macro-level, it is not pos-sible to reach a correct understanding of the causal determinants ofbehaviour if mental processes are not integrated into our conceptualframe of reference (Bandura, 2001; Baumeister et al., 2011).
Postulate 2: The Psyche is a Fundamental Force Albeit non-physical, the psyche is a force because it has the capacityto cause change. Furthermore, it is fundamental since its acknowledg-ment allows us to account for a multitude of natural phenomena at var-ious levels of organization. The psyche is also fundamental in thesense that it is the means through which we humans can incessantlyconstruct and transform the world.
The evidence reviewed here indicates that mental phenomena do exert a causal influence on the functioning of the brain and body, aswell as on behaviour. As shown in this article, numerous neuro-imaging studies demonstrate that the subjective nature and the inten-tional content (what they are ‘about' from a first-person perspective)of mental phenomena causally influence neurophysiologicalprocesses.
The activity of the psyche can be seen as mental information pro- cessing. I have proposed earlier (Beauregard, 2007) that consciousand unconscious mental events are specifically encoded by the brain,i.e. translated through a psychoneural transduction mechanism, intodifferent forms of information, i.e. neural events at the various levelsof brain organization (e.g. biophysical, molecular, chemical, neuralcircuits). In turn, the resulting neural events are translated into other Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 forms of information, that is, events in other physiological systemsthat are part of the psychosomatic network.
For personal use only -- not for reproduction As shown above, the impact of the psyche is not limited to the body since mental intentions can influence at a distance the activity of phys-ical and biological systems.
Postulate 3: The Psyche and the Physical World are DeeplyInterconnected Our experiences of physical phenomena may be very different thanour experiences of mental phenomena. Nonetheless the empirical evi-dence presented here indicates that the psyche and physis (the physi-cal world) interact because they are not really separated — they onlyappear to be separated (except during certain transcendent states ofconsciousness) (Beauregard, 2012). De facto, the psyche and physisare deeply interconnected since they arise out of a common ground, i.e. they are complementary aspects (or manifestations) of anundividable whole that we call reality (as already suggested byWolfgang Pauli, Carl Gustav Jung, David Bohm, and Max Velmans)(Atmanspacher, 2012; Velmans, 2013). It is this undividable whole-ness which renders the psyche capable of influencing various physicaland biological phenomena.
Mental interaction at a distance with physical systems and living organisms suggests that the unconscious part of the psyche is commu-nicating — i.e. exchanging meaningful mental information capable oftriggering an action — with the physical world. Moreover, the resultsof ganzfeld telepathy experiments indicate that the unconscious partsof individual human psyches are linked together.
The basic interconnectedness between the psyche and physis does not appear to rest on quantum entanglement. Indeed, non-local con-nections between entangled particles do not involve the transfer ofinformation (Kafatos and Nadeau, 1999), whereas interaction at a dis-tance between humans, or between humans and physical systems orliving organisms, seems to implicate a mental information transfer.
Furthermore, this type of interaction implicates various types of men-tal phenomena that are not accounted for by QP.
Postulate 4: The Psyche is not Produced by the Brain The findings of neuroscience studies clearly show that under normalcircumstances mental activity is closely associated (correlated) withneuroelectrical and neurochemical activity. That is, concomitant vari-ation between states of the psyche and states of the brain are found in Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 these studies. Nevertheless, the fact that mental functions are dis-turbed when the brain is damaged does not prove that the brain gener- For personal use only -- not for reproduction ates mind and consciousness. In addition, enhanced mental experi-ences and accurate OBE perception occurring at a time when cerebralactivity is seemingly absent (i.e. in cardiac arrest) accord with theview that the psyche is not generated by the brain.
This organ appears to act as an interface for the psyche. This idea was first proposed by William James, the father of American psychol-ogy. James further speculated that the brain acts as a filter normallyrestricting the access to extended forms of consciousness. This ideawas also defended by philosopher Ferdinand Schiller (Beauregard,2012; Schiller, 1891). It implies that during transcendent experiences(e.g. NDEs), the filter function of the brain is deactivated to variousdegrees. Phenomenologically, such a deactivation can lead to an THE PRIMORDIAL PSYCHE expansion of consciousness and the experience of domains of realitythat are non-physical.
In line with the idea that the brain may be an interface for the psy- che, this organ may be compared to a television (TV) set. This devicereceives broadcast signals (electromagnetic waves) and converts theminto image and sound. If we damage the electronic components withinthe TV set, we may induce a distortion of (or even lose) the image onthe screen and the sound because the capacity of the TV to receive anddecode the broadcast signals is impaired. But this does not mean thatthe broadcast signals (and the programme) are actually produced bythe TV set. Likewise, damage to a specific region of the brain may dis-rupt the mental processes mediated by this cerebral structure. But suchdisruption does not entail that these mental processes are totallyreducible to neural activity in this area of the brain.
Some of the postulates of the TOP lead to a number of testable predic-tions. With respect to the influence of the psyche on the soma, this the-ory predicts that the activity of brain regions and circuits, and thesecretion and release of neurotransmitters, can be altered in a specificmanner, via the psychoneural transduction mechanism, by voluntarilychanging the nature of the thoughts and the emotional states experi-enced (for instance, positive thoughts and feelings vs. negativethoughts and feelings). Moreover, the theory predicts that physiologi-cal responses to medications and drugs, as well as the neuralresponses to various types of brain stimulation (electric, magnetic), Copyright (c) Imprint Academic 2013 can be affected volitionally. In addition, the psychoneural trans-duction mechanism entails that the neurochemical correlates of posi- For personal use only -- not for reproduction tive vs. negative thoughts and/or emotional feelings are markedlydifferent. Another prediction is that thoughts, emotional feelings,beliefs, and intentions can lead to changes in the expression of genesrelated to behaviour (inasmuch as genes should be seen as compo-nents of the psychosomatic network).
As a force, it is likely that the ‘power' of the psyche — i.e. its capac- ity to exert an influence somatically and exosomatically — differsbetween individuals. Importantly, it is possible to enhance its powerby undergoing mental training. For example, meditative training tech-niques can be used to develop sustained concentration (the ability todirect volitionally mental activity toward a specific object). In thiscontext, the TOP predicts that the more focused the psyche is, thegreater is its somatic and telosomatic power.
Scientific materialism still continues to be influential in certain aca-demic spheres. Nevertheless, quantum physics and the multiple linesof empirical evidence examined in this article indicate that this ideol-ogy is obsolete and erroneous. This evidence tells us that we humanscannot be reduced to powerless, biophysical machines, since the psy-che can greatly influence the activity of the brain and body, and oper-ate exosomatically. Given this, it is now time to recognize theprimordial role played by the psyche, and to integrate this fundamen-tal and irreducible non-physical force into a post-materialist view ofthe world. The TOP aims to achieve such objectives. This theoryaccounts for a number of well-studied psychophysical phenomena,which are reinterpreted in light of a post-materialist perspective. TheTOP also accounts for anomalous phenomena that are currentlyrejected by materialists.
I am grateful to Gary Schwartz and two anonymous reviewers fortheir constructive comments.
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PUSH DRAFT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY CONSULTATION Start: 21st July 2010 End: 21st September 2010 Table of Contents Foreward ………………………………….….3 Executive Summary.5 Questions.7 Your Views.8 How to Respond.9 Next Steps.9 Annex A – List of consultees.9 Foreword This Economic Development Strategy sets out our ambitions for the PUSH area in the light of substantial changes to the economic and policy environment since we developed our previous strategy. Our fundamental ambitions have not changed. We wish to see a more prosperous future for the residents of South Hampshire. We wish to see everyone sharing in the benefits, with reduced levels of deprivation and increased levels of labour market participation. We wish to see our cities fulfil their potential as engines of economic growth and we wish to see the sub-region becoming an even greater place to live, work and do business, offering a fantastic quality of life. In order to deliver this, our strategy is centred on sustainable development, on ensuring the quality of life which we value so highly is enhanced and enriched, not jeopardised. However, the context has changed. The recession has led to more of our residents becoming unemployed. It has created substantial challenges for both public and private sector investment both now and in the future. The change in Westminster government has changed the public policy environment. Whilst these changes could be seen as challenges, we see them as opportunities. They have forced us to look at how we work in this sub-region and how we can do things more efficiently. We must work together, pool our resources and align our priorities around a common agenda. We already have a track record of doing this in this sub-region. We are not starting from scratch, we are already ahead of the game. We therefore believe we can deliver higher levels of growth, we can deliver more and better for less, we can grasp the opportunities afforded to us through the changes being proposed by the Coalition. Central to our strategy is taking action to be innovative in how we deliver and fund activities. Central to our strategy is joining up the public and private sectors to work together. Central to our strategy is using the assets we already have in the sub-region; our people, our world class businesses; our universities and our fantastic natural environment. We have identified the areas of our economy where we need to invest and focus our efforts. Those sectors where we have great specialisms, world class innovation and skills and opportunities to drive economic output, those sectors which will underpin employment growth and create opportunities for our residents to access jobs and those sectors which are fundamental to South Hampshire offering a high quality of life.