"Measuring consciousness": Combining objective and subjective data, and what it may all mean

Document Type: 
ASSC Conference Item
Article Type: 
Theory of Consciousness
study of consciousness, measuring, subjective data, objective data, first-person, third-person, interdisciplinarity, information processing
Deposited by: 
ASSC Eprints chair
Date of Issue: 
Event Dates: 
22-25 Jun 2007
Event Location: 
Las Vegas, USA
Event Title: 
11th annual meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness
Event Type: 
ASSC Workshop
Presentation Type: 
Number of Pages: 
Can we measure consciousness? Does the question even make sense? Consciousness presents unique methodological challenges for its study. In particular, it requires that one combines subjective ("first-person") and objective ("third-person") data. The main goal of this tutorial is to overview the different methods one can deploy to contrast information processing with and without consciousness. Many such methods are inherently interdisciplinary, and the tutorial will therefore highlight complementary methods ranging (1) from neuroimaging to introspection, (2) from methods appropriate to study normal cognition to methods best applied to patients, (3) from methods aimed at characterizing states or levels of consciousness to methods aimed at appreciating its contents and dynamics. In all three cases we will focus specifically on how to best combine subjective and objective data, as well as on metatheoretical issues, such as the problem of bias in subjective methods or the problem of spurious correlations between performance and consciousness in imaging studies. The tutorial will be illustrated with recent experimental data.