An academic survey on theoretical foundations, common assumptions and the current state of consciousness science

Franken, Jolien C, Beerendonk, Lola, Molenaar, Dylan, Fahrenfort, Johannes J, Kiverstein, Julian D, Seth, Anil K and van Gaal, Simon (2022) An academic survey on theoretical foundations, common assumptions and the current state of consciousness science. Neuroscience of Consciousness. ISSN 2057-2107

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Abstract

We report the results of an academic survey into the theoretical and methodological foundations, common assumptions, and the current state of the field of consciousness research. The survey consisted of 22 questions and was distributed on two different occasions of the annual meeting of the Association of the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC, 2018 and 2019). We examined responses from 166 consciousness researchers with different backgrounds (e.g., philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, computer science) and at various stages of their careers (e.g., junior/senior faculty, graduate/undergraduate students). The results reveal that there remains considerable discussion and debate between the surveyed researchers about the definition of consciousness and the way it should be studied. To highlight a few observations, a majority of respondents believe that machines could have consciousness, that consciousness is a gradual phenomenon in the animal kingdom and that unconscious processing is extensive, encompassing both low-level as well as high-level cognitive functions. Further, we show which theories of consciousness are currently considered most promising by respondents and how supposedly different theories cluster together, which dependent measures are considered best to index the presence or absence of consciousness, and which neural measures are thought to be the most likely signatures of consciousness. These findings provide us with a snapshot of the current views of researchers in the field and may therefore help prioritise research and theoretical approaches to foster progress.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 27 May 2022 07:05
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 14:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/106104

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