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The Brain as Hologram 25

grams. Conversely, perhaps most of us have memories that are much
retinas. Yet we do not perceive the person as being on our retinas. We 

less vivid because our access is limited to smaller regions of the mem-
perceive them as being in the "world-out-there. " Similarly, when we 

9 ory holograms.
stub our toe we experience the pain in our toe. But the pain is not really 

in our toe. It is actually a neurophysiological process taking place 

somewhere in our brain. How then is our brain able to take the multi- 

tude of neurophysiologicalprocesses that manifest as our experience, 

Pribram believes the holographic model also sheds light on our 
all of which are internal, and fool us into thinking that some are 

ability to transfer learned skills from one part of our body to another. internal and some are located beyond the confines of our gray matter?

As you sit reading this book, take a moment and trace your first name Creating the illusion that things are located where they are not is 

in the air with your left elbow. You will probably discover that this is the quintessential feature of a hologram. As mentioned,if you look at 

a relatively easy thing to do, and yet in all likelihood it is something a hologram it seems to have extension in space, but if you pass your 

you have never done before. It may not seem a surprising ability to hand through it you will discover there is nothing there. Despite what 

you, but in the classic view that various areas of the brain (such as the your senses tell you, no instrument will pick up the presence of any 

area controlling the movements of the elbow) are "hard-wired," or abnormal energy or substance where the hologram appears to be 

able to perform tasks only after repetitive learning has caused the hovering. This is because a hologram is a virtual image, an image that 

proper neural connections to become established between brain cells, appears to be where it is not, and possesses no more extension in space 

this is something of a puzzle. Pribram points out that the problem than does the three-dimensionalimage you see of yourself when you 

becomes much more tractable if the brain were to convert all of its look in a mirror. Just as the image in the mirror is located in the 

memories, including memories of learned abilities such as writing, into silvering on the mirror's back surface, the actual location of a holo- 

a language of interfering wave forms. Such a brain would be much gram is always in the photographic emulsionon the surface of the film 

more flexible and could shift its stored information around with the recording it.

same ease that a skilled pianist transposes a song from one musical Further evidence that the brain is able to Tool us into thinking that 

key to another.
inner processes are located outside the body comes from the Nobel 

This same flexibility may explain how we are able to recognize a Prize-winning physiologist Georg von Bekesy. In a series of experi- 

familiar face regardless of the angle from which we are viewing it. ments conducted in the late 1960s Bekesy placed vibrators on the 

Again, once the brain has memorized a face (or any other object or knees of blindfolded test subjects. Then he varied the rates at which 

scene) and converted it into a language of wave forms, it can, in a the instruments vibrated. By doing so he discovered that he could 

sense, tumble this internal hologram around and examine it from any make his test subjects experience the sensation that a point source of 

perspective it wants.
vibration was jumping from one knee to the other. He found that he 

could even make his subjects feel the point source of vibration in the 

space their knees. In short, he demonstrated that humans 
have the ability to seemingly experience sensation in spatial locations
where they have absolutely no sense receptors.

To most of us it is obvious that our feelings of love, hunger, anger, Pribram believes that Bekesy's work is compatible with the holo-

and so on, are internal realities, and the sound of an orchestra playing, graphic view and sheds additional light on how interfering wave 

the heat of the sun, the smell of bread baking, and so on, are external fronts—or in Bekesy's case, interfering sources of physical vibra- 

realities. But it is not so clear how our brains enable us to distinguish tion—enable the brain to localize some of its experiences beyond the 

between the two. For example, Pribram points out that when we look physical boundaries of the body. He feels this process might also 

at a person, the image of the person is really on the surface of our
explain the phantom limb phenomenon,or the sensation experienced

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