Free Energy and Virtual Reality in Neuroscience and Psychoanalysis: A Complexity Theory of Dreaming and Mental Disorder.

Written on:July 30, 2016
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Original source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27471478?dopt=Abstract

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Free Energy and Virtual Reality in Neuroscience and Psychoanalysis: A Complexity Theory of Dreaming and Mental Disorder.

Front Psychol. 2016;7:922

Authors: Hopkins J

Abstract
The main concepts of the free energy (FE) neuroscience developed by Karl Friston and colleagues parallel those of Freud’s Project for a Scientific Psychology. In Hobson et al. (2014) these include an innate virtual reality generator that produces the fictive prior beliefs that Freud described as the primary process. This enables Friston’s account to encompass a unified treatment-a complexity theory-of the role of virtual reality in both dreaming and mental disorder. In both accounts the brain operates to minimize FE aroused by sensory impingements-including interoceptive impingements that report compliance with biological imperatives-and constructs a representation/model of the causes of impingement that enables this minimization. In Friston’s account (variational) FE equals complexity minus accuracy, and is minimized by increasing accuracy and decreasing complexity. Roughly the brain (or model) increases accuracy together with complexity in waking. This is mediated by consciousness-creating active inference-by which it explains sensory impingements in terms of perceptual experiences of their causes. In sleep it reduces complexity by processes that include both synaptic pruning and consciousness/virtual reality/dreaming in REM. The consciousness-creating active inference that effects complexity-reduction in REM dreaming must operate on FE-arousing data distinct from sensory impingement. The most relevant source is remembered arousals of emotion, both recent and remote, as processed in SWS and REM on “active systems” accounts of memory consolidation/reconsolidation. Freud describes these remembered arousals as condensed in the dreamwork for use in the conscious contents of dreams, and similar condensation can be seen in symptoms. Complexity partly reflects emotional conflict and trauma. This indicates that dreams and symptoms are both produced to reduce complexity in the form of potentially adverse (traumatic or conflicting) arousals of amygdala-related emotions. Mental disorder is thus caused by computational complexity together with mechanisms like synaptic pruning that have evolved for complexity-reduction; and important features of disorder can be understood in these terms. Details of the consilience among Freudian, systems consolidation, and complexity-reduction accounts appear clearly in the analysis of a single fragment of a dream, indicating also how complexity reduction proceeds by a process resembling Bayesian model selection.

PMID: 27471478 [PubMed]

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ONE BRAIN, TWO MINDS: AN ESSAY ON PRIMORDIAL AND ADVANCED MENTAL ACTIVITY.

Dropped on:July 20, 2016
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