Monograph of Dr. rer. nat. Andreas Heinrich Malczan
I wrote this monograph when my wife Margitta took a four-week cure in Prerow in mid-March 2021 to improve her health. I did not have more than these four weeks to write down the brain theory of man, which had already been worked out quite comprehensively in my mind. Since I have not yet been able to find a publisher or a mentor, this monograph will contain spelling mistakes, possibly even arithmetical errors or typos when typing equations. Please forgive me for this. All readers should be informed that a year earlier a brain theory of vertebrates was published by me, which is also available on the internet in German and English. The English version was created mainly through the use of an excellent translation programme.
The knowledge about the brain and consciousness gathered over thousands of years is so extensive that it seemed appropriate to me to develop a system that supports the understanding of this subject.
Two approaches emerged that seemed promising. On the one hand, I was able to develop four concepts that facilitate the understanding of the origin of the brain, its structure and its principles of action. When talking about the brain, this monograph ultimately refers to the human brain, but all concepts refer to the brains of chordates, vertebrates, mammals, primates and humans.
I will develop four concepts in this monograph:
1. The concept of segments
2. The concept of neuron classes
3. The concept of signal classes
4. The concept of the modules
In my monograph "Brain Theory of Vertebrates", published in March 2020, the segment concept was described in detail. It is only presented here in an abbreviated form and expanded by essential points. It is important because humans are vertebrates and the segment concept explains the emergence of segmented organisms and thus the emergence of segmented nervous systems. The archetype of all central nervous systems of the chordates was the simple rope ladder nervous system, already this was segmented and present on the left and right half of the body respectively. The cortex, for example, developed from the uppermost segment. This is described in the chapter on the evolutionary history of the brain.
The concept of neuron classes, in conjunction with the segment concept, explains the emergence of the six most important classes of projection neurons, which we also find in the six-layered cortex of humans. These six neuron classes are numbered consecutively, each neuron class is assigned the number of the cortex layer in which this neuron class occurs. Thus we find neuron class 4 in the fourth cortex layer. Each of the six neuron classes assumes independent and important tasks in the segment concept.
Analogous to the neuron classes, there are signal classes. Here the number is smaller, there are only three types of signal classes in the brain: analogue signals encode the strength of one quantity. In extreme value coded signals, the extreme value of the neuronal excitation in a neuron population encodes the strength of several quantities. Complex signals are the third class of signals. They replace the simultaneous excitation of a neuron population with the excitation of a single neuron, which leads to the saving of neurons and the compression of signal quantities.
The basis of neuronal signals are action potentials. A classification of the signals facilitates the understanding of the principle signal processing in the brain. Signals are prerequisites for consciousness. They provide the signal images of the inner and outer world in the most diverse modalities, which we ultimately become aware of in consciousness in the brain. In this monograph, the neuronal signals are divided into three signal classes, to which different levels of representation in our consciousness correspond.
The module concept extends the segment concept in a very successful way. Here it is shown that the segmented nervous system of vertebrates and mammals becomes easier to understand when one realises that especially in the head segments the signal processing is done by modules. These are basic neuronal structures that can be found in almost every head segment. Each module makes its own contribution to neuronal signal processing in almost every segment. Different modules make specific contributions to signal processing in the brain.
Once you have realised that the module structure in most head segments is almost identical, it is sufficient to understand one head segment. The other head segments work almost in the same way and use the same modules interconnected in the same way. Ultimately, the head segments differed only in their different inputs. The top, olfactory segment receives olfactory input. The second, optical segment receives visual input. One segment receives vestibular input, and in fish there is an additional segment that receives input from the lateral line organ. Some fish have an electrosensory segment in their nervous system. And one segment receives sensory signals from the trunk and sends its output to those very trunk regions where they cause motor responses.
If one has understood the basic principles according to which any head segment processes its input, one can abstract from the concrete segment and from the concrete modality. Then, for example, it is no longer necessary to analyse all neuron columns in the cortex (barrel columns, motor columns, orientation columns in the visual cortex). It is sufficient to understand the basic principle of an abstract neuron column.
The brain applies the signal processing developed in modules in the course of evolution to every modality in principle. The signal processing of visual signals does not differ significantly from the processing of olfactory, vestibular, gustatory, motor, tactile and other signals. The concrete modality can then be abstracted from.
Certainly, in retrospect, each modality can be assigned its own specificity, but the basic principles of module-by-module signal processing remain.
If one takes out any modality, the signal processing can be explained by an interconnection of these modules. The input originates from the selected modality and already represents an image, which either refers to body signals of a receptor class and is thus a body model. Or it is based on signals of an environmental image (such as visual, olfactory, vestibular signals, lateral line signals, electrosensory signals, ...).
These signal images are the input for the modules, they are changed in the modules, specified, new types of signals are generated from them, so that the images become more specific, more meaningful, more abstract and appeared to us in consciousness as higher levels.
Through interactions between the different signal images, new output is generated, which leads to movements in the form of motor signals, but also in the form of feelings, moods, ideas, thoughts, evaluations, etc., which emerge from the subconscious and become conscious to us.
The module concept facilitates the understanding of multimodal signal analysis in the brain because it abstracts from the concrete modality and clarifies the signal-theoretical connections of signal processing. At the same time, the parallel processing of signals from the most diverse modalities becomes understandable, i.e. the brain's ability to multitask.
All brain researchers are called upon to comment on these concepts and modules and to contribute to the elaboration of a human brain theory that can be understood by laypersons.
Andreas Heinrich Malczan
Monografie von Dr. rer. nat. Andreas Heinrich Malczan