With Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology Dr Peter Naish
What is consciousness, and how do physical processes in the brain give rise to the subjective life of a conscious mind?
Simple animals like the amoeba presumably have no such experience, since they have no brain or nervous system, yet they can react to their surroundings well enough to survive without it. Many of our own cognitive functions such as perceiving objects, making decisions, and even performing apparently voluntary actions can take place without consciousness intervening, but if we can function without conscious awareness, why should consciousness be there at all? Is consciousness just an accidental by-product of having a large brain, or has it been selected for by evolution because creatures with consciousness have improved prospects for survival?
Historically, questions about the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness have primarily been a topic for philosophers, but advances in neuroscience are bringing us closer to a scientific understanding. Peter Naish, a senior lecturer in cognitive psychology at The Open University, will be revealing many of the latest developments in our efforts to unravel the mysteries of consciousness.
“A fascinating exploration of the mysteries of consciousness”
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