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Try this demonstration:
       please click below.   
(Click on the "stop" box at the bottom of the video to see that it's all in your mind...)

A WebCourse for Fall, 2007.




September 25 - Course is starting this week. Discussions will be on Saturday and Sunday live, on the d2l.arizona.edu site. (Check your time zone.)


The Readings page will have the Lectures and audio files for you, if you have trouble downloading them from D2L or Yousendit.


Starting September 24, 2007:     


* Click here for WebCourse Readings


* Click here for Baars et al publications


For our new introductory textbook for cognitive neuroscience,     please see below.


  Consciousness: The Webcourse --- 



              (please scroll down for details...)

For anyone interested in contemporary understanding of consciousness



        Sponsored by the University of Arizona

Center for Consciousness Studies

Tucson, Arizona.







      We can explore our own consciousness (from the First Person perspective); share our experiences with others (the Second Person); and look at conscious beings from the outside (the Third Person or public point of view). These three basic perspectives organize our course.

       Weekly Phenomenology Labs will adopt the First Person perspective, using personal consciousness diaries and experiential demonstrations. Our Lectures will explore new scientific findings about everyday consciousness (from the public or Third Person point of view), and talk about what we know about altered conscious states.

     The Second Person emerges in ethical relations to others, interpersonal experiences, and in the brain regions involved in romantic love and parent-child attachment.


      The three basic perspectives on consciousness are compatible with Global Workspace Theory, a well-known framework for thinking about consciousness. Other theoretical views will be discussed.


     We will not settle the philosophical question “what is consciousness?” but we will gain a better understanding of consciousness in modern science as well as in the great wisdom traditions.

     We will do our best to make Consciousness: The WebCourse fun and exciting for you, as well as thought-provoking.



     To download the Syllabus, click here:   Consciousness_syllabus2007.pdf


      The course will be presented over the web, with weekly Lectures, audio files, Web Discussions, and Phenomenology Labs for experiential exploration. It will focus on evidence and theory about our conscious experience, embracing all three classical approaches:  Personal, Intersubjective, and Scientific.


     To register, go to www.consciousness.arizona.edu.


     Any questions? Please contact:  center@consciousness.arizona.edu


     Additional textbook copies can be ordered via Oxford University Press. (B.J. Baars, 1997, In the Theater of Consciousness: The Workspace of the Mind.) Oxford page is here.  Used copies may be available on Alibris and similar sites.


     Discussion Groups: Will be presented via the University of Arizona system called D2L. You will receive registration emails.


     For registered participants, you are welcome to download Readings here, including the first two chapters of the textbook.


     Note: We are no longer recommending William James' Psychology: Briefer Version as additional reading (although it's a wonderful classic). Instead, we will provide selected quotations from James at various points throughout the course. We find that many students have difficulty with James' 19th century prose style. This way we can provide a lot of historical and conceptual context for the James material, and just give you the crucial bits.


     However, if you want to tackle that that challenging material, James' Principles of Psychology is available free at the York University History of Psychology website.




Textbook for the WebCourse.


 B.J. Baars (1997) In the Theater of Consciousness: The Workspace of the Mind. Oxford University Press. Oxford page is here.






A newly published introduction to cognitive neuroscience:


B.J. Baars & N.M. Gage (Eds)


Cognition, Brain & Consciousness:


An Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience.


From Elsevier, Inc./Academic Press.


 Textbook Links:





A textbook for psychology, neuroscience, and pre-medical students.


A wave of new research is transforming our understanding of the human mind

and brain. Many educational fields now require a basic understanding of

the new topic of cognitive neuroscience. However, available textbooks are

written more for biology audiences than for psychology and related majors.


This text aims to bridge that gap.


 * A thematic approach builds on accepted concepts in psychology such as

working memory, selective attention, and social cognition


 * Introduces the brain in a step-by-step, readable style, with gradually

increasing sophistication


* Richly illustrated in full color with clear and detailed drawings that

build the brain from top to bottom, simplifying the layout of the brain

for students


* Pedagogy includes exercises and study questions at the end of each

chapter, including drawing exercises



Companion Websites


Student's companion web site includes:


* Selected multimedia material for some of the chapters, including movies

* Study guides for all chapters

* Additional drawing exercises

* Further reading material


Instructors' manual web site:


* Image bank with all figures and legends

* "Lightbox" feature allows the collection of marked figures for

customized slides and presentations

* A set of Powerpoint lectures

* Movies that promote understanding of specific topics in the text

* Sample syllabi

* Drawing exercises and study questions with solutions to both

* Related reading materials specifically for instructors

* An advanced computational modeling software (NRM) supporting Appendix A

(Neural Models: A Route to Cognitive Brain Theory), and exercises

supporting the software


Access to Instructor's manual via registration here...




Instructor Reviews



"This is a wonderful, unique textbook...numerous helpful, vivid color

illustrations and an engaging writing style throughout, the text makes

inherently technical material accessible without losing sight of the

exciting new findings and ideas coming from the research."


Nelson Cowan

Curators' Professor

Department of Psychological Sciences,

University of Missouri

Columbia, USA



"Masterfully organized and comprehensive in its coverage, this textbook

will surely be THE introduction to cognitive neuroscience..."


Patricia Smith Churchland


UC President's Professor of Philosophy

University of California, San Diego




"...it can be read with profit by all with an interest in how the brain

supports cognition, whether student or established researcher."


Michael D. Rugg


Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

University of California, Irvine, USA




For visitors interested in future projects:


Demonstrations, brain images and experiments

Discussions, debates and new findings...

If you want to join a Conscious*Brain Web Seminar or WebCourse, please email me



  • The brain basis of consciousness is now a lively frontier question. (See SCIENCE magazine, 2005)


  • GWT suggests some ideas for that search. Professors Stan Dehaene and Murray Shanahan, and their coworkers, have pursued varieties of "neuronal global workspace theory".  Jim Newman, before his tragic death, made important contributions. A number of others have provided ideas, questions, and challenges.


  • Parallel efforts are coming from a number of researchers. I will try to keep a list of links and references here.




Soon we will have a downloadable copy of my 1988 book, A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness (published by Cambridge University Press, but soon to be in the Google book domain). This book is widely cited as the source of Global Workspace Theory, a framework for scientific evidence about human consciousness. It is still the most complete statement of the theory.






We will develop this wiki site for discussions, seminars, web links, and references.


Blog updates ...


Emerging questions, and maybe a few answers...


Working papers on Global Workspace Theory (GWT), and discussion of other efforts to try to understand one of the most intriguing mysteries in the biosphere ...



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