On the Hierarchical Organization of Oscillatory Assemblies: Layered Superimposition and a Global Bioelectric Framework

Ravinder Jerath, Connor Beveridge, Michael Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Bioelectric oscillations occur throughout the nervous system of nearly all animals, revealed to play an important role in various aspects of cognitive activity such as information processing and feature binding. Modern research into this dynamic and intrinsic bioelectric activity of neural cells continues to raise questions regarding their role in consciousness and cognition. In this theoretical article, we assert a novel interpretation of the hierarchical nature of “brain waves” by identifying that the superposition of multiple oscillations varying in frequency corresponds to the superimposing of the contents of consciousness and cognition. In order to describe this isomorphism, we present a layered model of the global functional oscillations of various frequencies which act as a part of a unified metastable continuum described by the Operational Architectonics theory and suggested to be responsible for the emergence of the phenomenal mind. We detail the purposes, functions, and origins of each layer while proposing our main theory that the superimposition of these oscillatory layers mirrors the superimposition of the components of the integrated phenomenal experience as well as of cognition. In contrast to the traditional view that localizations of high and low-frequency activity are spatially distinct, many authors have suggested a hierarchical nature to oscillations. Our theoretical interpretation is founded in four layers which correlate not only in frequency but in evolutionary development. As other authors have done, we explore how these layers correlate to the phenomenology of human experience. Special importance is placed on the most basal layer of slow oscillations in coordinating and grouping all of the other layers. By detailing the isomorphism between the phenomenal and physiologic aspects of how lower frequency layers provide a foundation for higher frequency layers to be organized upon, we provide a further means to elucidate physiological and cognitive mechanisms of mind and for the well-researched outcomes of certain voluntary breathing patterns and meditative practices which modulate the mind and have therapeutic effects for psychiatric and other disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number426
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - Dec 4 2019


  • consciousness
  • default space
  • hierarchical model
  • layered model
  • metastable
  • neural oscillation
  • oscillation
  • phenomenology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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