Time and Consciousness

  • Markus A. Maier
  • Vanessa L. Buechner
Part of the Cognitive Systems Monographs book series (COSMOS, volume 29)


Some theories in physics and beyond argue that the emergence of an arrow of time is strongly related to conscious experience. Few approaches—known under the term quantum models of the mind- even claim that consciousness creates time. In the following we will provide theoretical arguments and empirical evidence showing that the arrow of time disappears when an individual’s information processing mode changes from conscious to unconscious states of mind. This implies that unconscious processing allow for a better than chance anticipation of random future events. The theoretical and practical implications of these models are discussed.


Time Consciousness Retro-causation Precognition Quantum mind 


  1. 1.
    Dainton, B.: Temporal consciousness. In: Zalta, E.N. (ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition) (2014)
  2. 2.
    Römer, H.: Weak quantum theory and the emergence of time. Mind Matter 2, 105–125 (2004)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Searle, J.R.: The rediscovery of the mind. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA (1992)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chalmers, D.: The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford (1996)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chalmers, D.: Consciousness and its place in nature. In: Stich, S., Warfield, F. (eds.) Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell (2003)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hameroff, S., Penrose, R.: Reply to seven commentaries on “Consciousness in the universe: review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory”. Phys. Life Rev. 11, 94–100 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Feil, D., Atmanspacher, H.: Acategorial states in a representational theory of mental processes. J. Conscious. Stud. 17, 72–101 (2010)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    McTaggart, J.E.: The unreality of time. Mind 17, 456–473 (1908)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Genz, H.: Wie die Zeit in die Welt kam [How time came into the world]. Rowohlt, Hamburg (2002)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lebowitz, J.L.: Boltzmann’s entropy and time’s arrow. Phys. Today 46, 32–38 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Penrose, R.: Cycles of time. The Bodley Head, London (2010)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Smolin, L.: Time reborn: from the crisis in physics to the future of the universe. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Penguin and Random House, Canada (2012)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Smolin, L.: Temporal naturalism. Posted at>physics>arXiv:1310.8539 (2013)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Smythies, J.: Space, time and consciousness. J. Conscious. Stud. 10, 47–56 (2003)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Atmanspacher, H., Filk, T.: Contra classical causality: violating temporal bell inequalities in mental systems. J. Conscious. Stud. 19, 95–116 (2012)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Atmanspacher, H., Römer, H., Walach, H.: Weak quantum theory: complementarity and entanglement in physics and beyond. Found. Phys. 32, 379–406 (2002)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Filk, T., Römer, H.: Generalized quantum theory: overview and latest developments. Axiomathes 21, 211–220 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hameroff, S., Penrose, R.: Orchestrated reduction of quantum coherence in brain microtubules: a model for consciousness. Math. Comput. Simul. 40, 453–480 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mensky, M.B.: Logic of quantum mechanics and phenomenon of consciousness. J. Cosmol. 14, 1–18 (2011)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Mensky, M.B.: Everett interpretation and quantum concept of consciousness. NeuroQuantology 11, 85–96 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Penrose, R.: The emperor’s new mind. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1989)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Penrose, R.: Shadows of the mind: a search for the missing science of consciousness. Oxford University Press, London (1994)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Penrose, R., Hameroff, S.: What gaps? Reply to Grush and Churchland. J. Conscious. Stud. 2, 98–112 (1995)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Penrose, R., Hameroff, S.: Consciousness in the universe: neuroscience quantum space-time geometry and orch Or theory. J Cosmol. 14, 1–32 (2011)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Schrödinger, E.: Die gegenwärtige Situation in der Quantenmechanik [The present situation in quantum mechanics]. Naturwissenschaften 23, 807–812, 823–828, 844–849 (1935)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Stapp, H.P.: Mindful universe: quantum mechanics and the participating observer. Springer, New York (2007)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Everett, H.: Theory of the Universal Wavefunction. Thesis, Princeton University (1973)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    DeWitt, B., Graham, N.: The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Princeton University Press, Princeton (1973)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Tegmark, M.: The mathematical universe. Found. Phys. 38, 101–150 (2008)zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Maier, M.A., Buechner, V.L., Kuhbandner, C., Pflitsch, M., Fernández-Capo, M., Gamiz-Sanfeliu, M.: Feeling the future again. J. Conscious. Stud. 21, 121–152 (2014)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Bem, D.J.: Feeling the future: experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 100, 407–425 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Robinson, E.: Not feeling the future: a failed replication of retroactive facilitation of memory recall. J. Soc. Psychol. Res. 75, 142–147 (2011)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Galak, J., LeBoeuf, R.A., Nelson, L.D., Simmons, J.P.: Correcting the past: failures to replicate psi. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 103, 933–948 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ritchie, S., Wiseman, R., French, C.: Failing the future: three unsuccessful attempts to replicate Bem’s ‘Retroactive facilitation of recall’ effect. PLoS ONE 7, 1–5 (2012)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Alcock, J.: Back from the future: parapsychology and the Bem affair. Skeptical Inquirer 35, 31–39 (2011)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Wagenmakers, E.J., Wetzels, R., Borsboom, D., van der Maas, H.L.J.: Why psychologists must change the way they analyze their data: the case of psi: Comment on Bem. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 100, 426–432 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Honorton, C., Ferrari, D.C.: Future telling—a metaanalysis of forced-choice precognition experiments 1935–1987. J. Parapsychol. 53, 281–308 (1989)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Hyman, R.: The Ganzfeld psi experiment: a critical appraisal. J. Parapsychol. 49, 3–50 (1985)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Mossbridge, J., Tressoldi, P., Utts, J.: Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis. Front. Psychol. 3, 390–390 (2012)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Rouder, J.N., Morey, R.D.: A Bayes factor meta-analysis of Bem’s ESP claim. Front. Psychol. 18, 682–689 (2011)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Baumeister, R.F., Finkenauer, C., Vohs, K.D.: Bad is stronger than good. Rev. Gen. Psychol. 5, 323–370 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Hawking, S.W.: The chronology protection conjecture. Phys. Rev. 46, 603–661 (1992)MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Einstein, A.: Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper [On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies]. Ann. Phys. Chem. 17, 891–921 (1905)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Stenner, M.D., Gauthier, D.J., Neifeld, M.A.: The speed of information in a ‘fast light’ optical medium. Nature 425, 695–697 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Seife, C.: Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information is Explaining Everything in the Cosmos from Our Brains to Black Holes. Penguin Books, New York (2006)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Hameroff, S., Chopra, D.: The quantum soul: a scientific hypothesis. In: Moreira-Almeida, A., Santana Santos, F. (eds.) Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship, pp. 79–97. Springer, New York (2012)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Hameroff, S.: How quantum brain biology can rescue conscious free will. Front. Integr. Neurosci. 6, 93 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Eccles, J.C.: How the self controls its brain. Springer, Berlin (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Esfeld, M.: Is quantum indeterminism relevant to free will? Philos. Nat. 37, 177–181 (2000)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Radin, D., Michel, L., Galmadez, K., Wendland, P., Rickenbach, R., Delorme, A.: Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: six experiments. Phys. Essays 25, 157–171 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations