Psychophysiological correlations form the basis for different medical and scientific disciplines, but the nature of this relation has not yet been fully understood. One conceptual option is to understand the mental as “emerging” from neural processes in the specific sense that psychology and physiology provide two different descriptions of the same system. Stating these descriptions in terms of coarser- and finer-grained system states (macro- and microstates), the two descriptions may be equally adequate if the coarse-graining preserves the possibility to obtain a dynamical rule for the system. To test the empirical viability of our approach, we describe an algorithm to obtain a specific form of such a coarse-graining from data, and illustrate its operation using a simulated dynamical system. We then apply the method to an electroencephalographic recording, where we are able to identify macrostates from the physiological data that correspond to mental states of the subject.

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