May 3, 2009

Understanding Consciousness, 2nd Edition

books,phenomenology,philosophy,theory — alice @ 10:51 pm


Authored by Max Velmans

Understanding Consciousness, 2nd Edition provides a unique survey and evaluation of consciousness studies, along with an original analysis of consciousness that combines scientific findings, philosophy and common sense. Building on the widely praised first edition, this new edition adds fresh research, and deepens the original analysis in a way that reflects some of the fundamental changes in the understanding of consciousness that have taken place over the last 10 years.

The book is divided into three parts; Part one surveys current theories of consciousness, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. Part two reconstructs an understanding of consciousness from first principles, starting with its phenomenology, and leading to a closer examination of how conscious experience relates to the world described by physics and information processing in the brain. Finally, Part three deals with some of the fundamental issues such as what consciousness is and does, and how it fits into to the evolving universe. As the structure of the book moves from a basic overview of the field to a successively deeper analysis, it can be used both for those new to the subject and for more established researchers.

Understanding Consciousness tells a story with a beginning, middle and end in a way that integrates the philosophy of consciousness with the science. Overall, the book provides a unique perspective on how to address the problems of consciousness and as such, will be of great interest to psychologists, philosophers, neuroscientists and other professionals concerned with mind/body relationships, and all who are interested in this subject.

2009, 408 pp, paperback and hardback
ISBN: 978-0-415-42516-2

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March 5, 2008

Neuropsychologia special issue: Consciousness & Perception

Neuropsychologia hosts a special issue in relation to the work of Larry Weiskrantz. It contains a densely packed number of articles on the topic of blindsight and hindsights.

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August 2, 2007

Language and self-awareness


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June 19, 2007

Phenomenology & the Cognitive Sciences

journal,phenomenology,theory — thomasr @ 2:53 am

A new issue of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences is out with headlines such as

See the full TOC here.

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April 4, 2007

Event perceptions

perception,phenomenology,theory — thomasr @ 2:11 pm

goossensflowoftime_jpg2.jpgSo how do we really experience the world around us, and events as they occur? As discrete units of experiences or as one flow of experience. In a recent paper in Psychologial Bulletin authors Jeffrey Sacks and colleagues suggest that we perceive and conceive of activity in terms of discrete events, and that the perception of boundaries between events arises from ongoing perceptual processing. The elaboration of this view and  accompanying consequences are laid out in this paper. Here we link to the abstract as well as the manuscript.

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January 17, 2007

A Neurobiology of Sensitivity? Sentience as the Foundation for Unusual Conscious Perception

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December 31, 2006

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences — latest issue

cognitive science,journal,phenomenology — thomasr @ 11:15 am

phencover-image-medium.gifA new issue of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences is out.

Articles include topics such as

  • introspective reports
  • perception and action
  • evolutionary autonomous agents

We here bring the TOCs and links

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December 23, 2006

Journal of Phenomenological Psychology: New issues

journal,phenomenology — thomasr @ 4:24 am

jpp.gifDid you know that there is a journal that seeks to combine phenomenology and psychology? Phenomenology is, among other things, described as “an approach to philosophy that takes intuitive experience of phenomena (what presents itself to us in phenomenological reflexion) as its starting point and tries to extract from it the essential features of experiences and the essence of what we experience.”

Two new issues of the Journal of Phenomenological Psychology are now out, and include articles on altruism, the experiences of not belonging and of ambivalence, and on being a couple.
Here, we bring the TOC of both issues.

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December 22, 2006

Inducing a dreamy state

braineletrodes.jpgBrain stimulation provides an interesting tool to study the functions of a given area of the brain. In a study by Vignal et al. published in Brain, artificial stimulation or seizures in specific mesial temporal lobe structures were assessed both in terms of location and phenomenology.

Among the findings, the researchers found that “Forty-five per cent of dreamy states were evoked by stimulation of the amygdala, 37.5% by the hippocampus and 17.5% by the para-hippocampal gyrus.”

Furthermore, they found that their study “demonstrates the existence of large neural networks that produce recall of memories via activation of the hippocampus, amygdala and rhinal cortex.”

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February 14, 2006

Autobiographic memory and rumination in ageing

phenomenology — thomasr @ 11:58 am

Intrusion of negative memories happens to all of us. But is there a change in this as we get older? A study by Schlagman and colleagues demonstrates that older people tend to have fewer intrusions of negative memories.

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January 19, 2006

Stressing the brain to forget

phenomenology — thomasr @ 7:10 am

Are memories formed under stressful situations the same as those formed under normal, neutral situations? A study by Payne et al demonstrates that this is not the case. Stress induces very specific alterations in emotional memory, while leaving non-emotional memory relatively intact.

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January 4, 2006

Language colours vision

phenomenology — thomasr @ 9:56 am

The left brain may view the world through the prism of language.

Our perception of colours can depend on whether we view them from the left or the right, scientists have found. They say this demonstrates how language can alter the way we see the world.

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December 26, 2005

Beauty in the brain of the beholder

phenomenology — thomasr @ 8:56 pm

A new study by Jacobsen et al. demonstrate brain areas involved in aesthetic judgements of beauty.

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Fooling the brain-sense

phenomenology — thomasr @ 5:20 pm

In a new study, Schaefer et al demonstrate that the primary sensory cortex is involved in a special illusion of sensation in a limb that is not one’s own.

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December 6, 2005


phenomenology — thomasr @ 7:43 pm

Research on smell – what scientists call olfaction – is discussed in the December issue of the Reader’s Digest magazine in an article by Paula Dranov. She explains how smells are composed of molecules that bind to our smell receptors located at the top of the nasal cavity. According to Nobel Prize-winner Linda Buck “A slight change in the chemistry of an orange scent and you get something that smells like sweaty socks”.


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