PSY 342

The Biology of Consciousness

Major Discipline(s):
Fall Semester
This course is cross listed with NSCI 342

Consciousness has been considered one of great mysteries in human existence. Historically, psychologists and neuroscientists have largely ignored the problem of conscious awareness because it was considered subjective falling outside the realm of scientific inquiry. However, over the past several decades scientists have begun to try to tackle the problem using modern scientific tools. In fact, several years ago, a new journal was established entitled Neuroscience of Consciousness.

In this course, we will begin by trying to define the term and consider the so-called “hard” and “easy” problems of consciousness. A brief history of ancient civilizations’ views on mental experience will be discussed with particular attention to Greek thinkers from the classical period. We will then go over basic neuroscientific concepts and methods that are being used to study the neural correlates of consciousness. We will explore different states of consciousness and disruptions of consciousness in human patients. We will touch on the related problems of intentionality and free will. Finally, we will discuss prevailing scientific theories of consciousness.