Consciousness is one of the most significant scientific problems today. Renewed interest in the nature of consciousness - a phenomenon long considered not to be scientifically explorable, as well as increasingly widespread availability of multimodal functional brain imaging techniques (EEG, ERP, MEG, fMRI and PET), now offer the possibility of detailed, integrated exploration of the neural, behavioral, and computational correlates of consciousness. The present volume aims to confront the latest theoretical insights in the scientific study of human consciousness with the most recent behavioral, neuroimaging, electrophysiological, pharmacological and neuropathological data on brain function in altered states of consciousness such as: brain death, coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, locked-in syndrome, dementia, epilepsy, schizophrenia, hysteria, general anesthesia, sleep, hypnosis, and hallucinations. The interest of this is threefold. First, patients with altered states of consciousness continue to represent a major clinical problem in terms of clinical assessment of consciousness and daily management. Second, the exploration of brain function in altered states of consciousness represents a unique lesional approach to the scientific study of consciousness and adds to the worldwide effort to identify the "neural correlate of consciousness". Third, new scientific insights in this field have major ethical and social implications regarding our care for these patients.


Neurologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, pharmacologists, and physiologists.

Table of Contents

What in the world is consciousness? A neuroscientific approach to consciousness Functional neuroimaging during altered states of consciousness: How and what do we measure Global workspace theory of consciousness: Toward a cognitive neuroscience of human experience? Skill, corporality and alerting capacity in an account of sensory consciousness Methods for studying unconscious learning Computational correlates of consciousness Machine consciousness Consciousness, information integration and the brain Dynamics of thalamo-cortical network oscillations and human perception From synchronous neuronal discharges to subjective awareness? Genes and experience shape brain networks of conscious control Visual phenomenal consciousness: A neurological guided tour The mental self Posterior cingulate, precuneal and retroplenial cortices: Cytology and components of the neural network correlates of consciousness Human cognition during REM sleep and the activity profile within frontal and parietal cortices. A reappraisal of functional neuroimaging data General anesthesia and the neural correlates of consciousness Brain imaging in research on anesthetic mechanisms: Studies with propofol The cognitive modulation of pain: Hypnosis and placebo-induced analgesia Consciousness and epilepsy: Why are patients with absence seizures absent? Two aspects of impaired consciousness in Alzhemier's disease Functional brain imaging of symptoms and cognition in schizophrenia Hysterical conversion and brain function The out-of-body experience: Precipitation factors and neural correlates Near-death experiences in cardiac arrest survivors The concept and practice of brain death


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© 2005
Elsevier Science
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"Laureys and contributors have taken up the task to link biocognitive theories, functional neuroimaging, and clinial descriptions of known comatose states, and the result is impressive. The authors have mined this complex and disputatious field and its entire consolidated work is very readable." --FOREWORD by Eelco F.M. Wijdicks, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, U.S.A. "The distinguished panel of philosophers, modelers, psychologists, physicians, and neuroscientists assembled here provides an accessible, yet in-depth perspective on many of those fields of research. Rarely has such a diversity of points of view been made available in a single volume. Browsing through them provides an exciting window into the forefront of consciousness research, as well as the associated philosophical, ethical and clinical issues." --FOREWORD by Stanislas Dehaene, President-elect of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness