Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Application of the Catecholaminergic Neuron Electron Transport (CNET) Physical Substrate for Consciousness and Action Selection to Integrated Information Theory

Version 1 : Received: 18 October 2021 / Approved: 8 November 2021 / Online: 8 November 2021 (09:33:34 CET)

How to cite: Rourk, C.J. Application of the Catecholaminergic Neuron Electron Transport (CNET) Physical Substrate for Consciousness and Action Selection to Integrated Information Theory. Preprints 2021, 2021110126 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0126.v1). Rourk, C.J. Application of the Catecholaminergic Neuron Electron Transport (CNET) Physical Substrate for Consciousness and Action Selection to Integrated Information Theory. Preprints 2021, 2021110126 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0126.v1).

Abstract

A newly-discovered physical mechanism involving electron tunneling in layers of the protein ferritin that are found in catecholaminergic neurons (catecholaminergic neuron electron transport or CNET), is hypothesized to support communication between neurons. Recent tests further confirm that these ferritin layers can also perform a switching function (in addition to providing an electron tunneling mechanism) that could be associated with action selection in those neurons, consistent with earlier predictions based on CNET. While further testing would be needed to confirm the hypothesis that CNET allows groups of neurons to communicate and act as a switch for selecting one of the neurons in the group to assist in reaching action potential, this paper explains how that hypothesized behavior would be consistent with Integrated Information Theory (IIT), one of a number of consciousness theories (CTs). While the sheer number of CTs suggest that any one of them is not sufficient to explain consciousness, this paper demonstrates that CNET can provide a physical substrate that is consistent with IIT and which can also be applied to other CTs, such as to conform them into a single explanation of consciousness.

Keywords

consciousness; catecholaminergic neurons; substantia nigra pars compacta; locus coeruleus; ferritin; electron transport; voluntary action selection

Subject

BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, Behavioral Neuroscience

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