10 Books That Will Change the Way You Understand the Mind

A new wave of science fiction, from the show Person of Interest to the movie Her, features artificial intelligences whose minds are truly alien. These AIs have plural selves, or many identities running in parallel; they are basically hive minds within one consciousness. But this idea of a hive mind has a long history… » 1/13/14 11:19am 1/13/14 11:19am

Does consciousness arise from quantum processes in the brain?

Stuart Hameroff is a Professor of Anesthesiology and Psychology at the University of Arizona — but he's a pariah as far as most neuroscientists are concerned. The reason? Consciousness, he dares say, is far more than just a computational process — it's actually quantum. » 9/13/13 12:49pm 9/13/13 12:49pm

8 Things We Simply Don't Understand About the Human Brain

Despite all the recent advances in the cognitive and neurosciences, there’s still much about the human brain that we do not know. Here are 8 of the most baffling problems currently facing science. » 7/29/13 10:05am 7/29/13 10:05am

No, dolphins are not your 'therapists.' So just stop it.

Though it might not fit with New Age dolphin lore, the reality is that dolphins, even those born in captivity, are wild. There's absolutely no evidence to support the burgeoning practice of dolphin-assisted therapy. Here's why dolphins are not healers — and why this practice needs to stop. » 6/19/13 3:40pm 6/19/13 3:40pm

Do zombies experience consciousness?

In most pop-zombie lore, zombies have been infected with a contagion that turns them into mindless, soulless monsters on the hunt for human flesh. Even if a reanimated corpse used to be your mother/father/brother/girlfriend/BFF, now it's a zombie, and it has to die. End of story. But the latest film in the zombie… » 2/06/13 12:20pm 2/06/13 12:20pm

These 19th-century diagrams were one man's attempt to illustrate human…

Could you represent the stages of human consciousness with a diagram? In the late 19th century, New Zealand psychologist Benjamin Betts tried to apply mathematics to the problem of visualizing human consciousness. What he produced were striking, almost floral designs that he believed represented the shape of out… » 11/25/12 5:00pm 11/25/12 5:00pm

A new tool that could help us measure awareness in comatose patients

One of the more frustrating aspects of treating patients who are in a vegetative or minimally conscious state is that we really have no idea just how conscious or unconscious they really are. As a consequence, medical practitioners are left guessing about how to best treat their patients, while family members struggle … » 10/16/12 2:40pm 10/16/12 2:40pm

Neuroscientists take aim at Naomi Wolf's theory of the "conscious vagina"

Well, if Naomi Wolf wanted to draw attention to herself through the publication of her new book, Vagina: A New Biography, she has certainly succeeded — though it may not be the kind of attention she was hoping for. A number of commentators have taken exception to her unfortunate foray into neuroscience, particularly… » 9/06/12 2:40pm 9/06/12 2:40pm

Prominent scientists sign declaration that animals have conscious…

An international group of prominent scientists has signed The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in which they are proclaiming their support for the idea that animals are conscious and aware to the degree that humans are — a list of animals that includes all mammals, birds, and even the octopus. But will this make … » 8/23/12 5:00pm 8/23/12 5:00pm

Rare neurological patient shows that self-awareness does not require a …

Neuroscientists who study consciousness have suggested that self-awareness depends on the presence of very specific "higher order" regions of the brain. In turn, that means that any serious impairment to these critical areas would virtually eliminate any sense someone has of themselves as a separate person. At least,… » 8/23/12 10:54am 8/23/12 10:54am

This man can read the minds of vegetative patients

Neuroscientist Adrian Owen estimates that 20 percent of patients in a so-called "vegetative state" are, in fact, capable of communicating with the outside world. This is not a delusion. Using brain imaging techniques like fMRI, Owen — pictured above — has provided some remarkably compelling evidence that "non-responsive"… » 6/15/12 12:40pm 6/15/12 12:40pm