Smell and the Quantum Canine

Everything is connected, everything is a repeating module elaborating from simple structures into more and more complex ones. As I develop my body language series, I will illustrate how the social sense of the canine mind is analogous literally, to the quantum mechanics of the sense of smell. This will not prove to be a difficult concept, one just needs to see the picture.

“Lock and key”

The means by which a detected molecule is translated into a smell within the brain has already been the subject of Nobel prize-winning research.

But how precisely an odorant molecule is detected remains a mystery.

As with the picture of molecular interactions that drives our understanding of enzymes and drugs, the very shape of odorant molecules has been assumed to be the way it is detected in the nose.

In this scenario, molecules are seen to be the “key” that fits neatly into a detector molecule in the nose that acts as a lock.

But in 1996, Luca Turin, now of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, suggested that the “vibrational modes” of an odorant were its signature.

Molecules can be viewed as a collection of atoms on springs, and energy of just the right frequency – a quantum – can cause the spring to vibrate.

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It’s a very interesting idea; there’s all sorts of interesting biological physics that implement quantum processes that’s cropping up”

Jennifer BrookesMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Since different assemblages of molecules have different characteristic frequencies, Turin proposed, these vibrations could act as a molecular signature.

The idea has been debated in the scientific literature, but presentations at the American Physical Society meeting put the theory on firmer footing.

Most recently, Dr Turin published a paper showing that flies can distinguish between molecules that are chemically similar but in which a heavier version of hydrogen had been substituted.

Like a spring with a heavier weight at one end, the vibration frequency is lowered, and flies appear to notice.”

In other words, “grounding” occurs. So the interplay between the Big-Brain-in-the-Head and the little-brain-in-the-gut, i.e. can nerve stimulation be converted into smooth peristaltic wave action, is the phenomenon of emotional grounding and the feeling of being whole and safe. This determines the vibrational quality of the individual’s body movements and this “language” is transmitted to other individuals in terms of how they perceive that individual’s “predatory aspect” relative to its “preyful aspect.” This computes an overall conductive value and a charge is absorbed or reflected between these two individuals, just as an electron “tunnels” through the nasal receptors. In other words, every animal is the carrier of stress and we can think of this as the charge in a state of superposition. When any given individual is “charged,” i.e. the deepest layer of stress is activated, then all of sudden this represents the charge taking up a specific position instead of being a probability.

Note that reinforcement theory and the notion that the concept of dominance can have anything to do with social structure, is analogous to the mechanical world view that prevailed in science until the quantum revolution in physics. It’s time for a new behavioral paradigm. The clearest window into its structures is provided by an immediate-moment manner of analysis. This is the only method which doesn’t project human thoughts onto animal behavior in order to explain the phenomenon of learning and social structure.

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Published January 31, 2013 by Kevin Behan
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4 responses to “Smell and the Quantum Canine”

  1. john says:

    every time i read one of these informative post i try to relate it to my experiences with dogs and often get left with more questions than answers, i know some of my questions are not very scientific and often wonder whom these posts are directed towards i feel they are posted with one eye on the scientific community

    i try to break everything down to its most simple form because that way i can relate it to other people with doggy interests with no real interest in science just the dog

    my question on this post would be if by using olfactory receptors a charge can be grounded , why do we see behaviour like rolling in fox poop, why does the dog need further action after the olfactory receptors have been in play, is the predator like smell an overwhelming attraction as opposed to the ingesting more preylike poop from rabbits or sheep with no real responce

    thanks John,

  2. There’s a new study out of Greece that reinforces Luca Turin’s theory:


  3. kbehan says:

    John you have the knack of asking exactly the best question. When the dog smells something, he feels grounded and this then arouses old physical memories. Physical memories are stored in layers, the deeper the layer, the more intensity is needed to trigger it. So he feels grounded, and thus excited since whatever charge he was in at that moment is now grounded. But only to the degree that smell can ground something. The intensity level of the excitement he’s now experiencing triggers old physical memories (stress) that the dog is now processing in terms of hunger/arousal since the dog feels grounded, i.e. completed, by the scent. In this state, his appetite for physical contact becomes stronger than smell can complete. Smelling can’t gratify that appetite for tactile input and so in this sensual body state one outlet would be rolling in something on the ground. (The excrement has a form, and it is a preyful aspect, i.e. a product of the body.) We can also note that dogs are doing something similar when they dissipate the tension on encountering another dog, by first rolling on the ground. A dog is indirectly making contact with the new dog by rolling on the ground. This grounds out the aroused physical memory and so now the dog is a more neutral state can either approach the new dog in a more measured way, or take more time in approaching it, perhaps first seeking instead to align by finding a common direction of travel. If it just plowed into the other dog in a happy aroused state, this could knock the other dog out of balance and provoke an incident.
    So in order to get DIS (Deep Inner Stress, that last .01% which correlates to the dog being able to sense its p-cog as a specific point within its body) up and moving out of the body, there has to be a process of elaboration, a complex ping and pong back and forth between two individuals so that they eventually become aligned and synchronized relative to a common object of attraction that can satisfy their combined energies. < > The smelling is completing the first cycle of this process, I liken it to two fax machines querying each other and then doing that ping/pong electronic back and forth we all remember hearing over the modem as the machines aligned (on the same circuit) by synchronizing (which machine goes first and then which next) in order to transfer data. The ping/ponging in dog-to-dog interactions is their projection of p-cog onto the form of whatever they are attracted to. Attached to the p-cog is the physical memories of momentum (destabilization of balance circuitry), this is the degree to which they become excited. In order to fully transfer their momentums to each other (which also means these momentums will be combined, like two waves coming into phase and increasing their force, i.e. their capacity to do work) they will have to be aligned and synchronized so that they become like moon in orbit around planet, a transfer of momentum that sustains itself, as opposed to an asteroid hitting planet. The former is a coherent transfer of momentum, the latter is an incoherent transfer because it is not a repeatable cycle. It will not persist over time. This is the distinction between dogs getting along or getting into a fight.
    So a dog rolling in fox poop is indirectly making contact with the resistance of the fox, a momentum the dog is not likely able to absorb in reality given a fox’s wily and especially fleet ways of escape. But were a fox to have the same appetite for physical contact as a dog, then it could trigger a process of elaboration and the two could connect.

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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