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Behavioral Methods in Consciousness Research$
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Morten Overgaard

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199688890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688890.001.0001

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The challenge of measuring consciousness

The challenge of measuring consciousness

(p.7) Chapter 2 The challenge of measuring consciousness
Behavioral Methods in Consciousness Research

Morten Overgaard

Oxford University Press

In spite of much recent effort to make progress in the study of consciousness, we are still far from a common ground with regards to how to measure consciousness. As there is no method to transform subjective experiences to third-person accessible information without losing subjectiveness, measures inevitably have to be indirect. This is, however, not very different from the case in many other scientific disciplines, where one has no “direct” knowledge of, say, genes, yet one is fully able to conduct experiments, create generally accepted and understood scientific explanations, and predict future events. The problem may not be that a science of consciousness is, at least in these regards, “special,” but rather that the scientific field is still a long way from having standardized methods. This chapter debates fundamental questions that must be answered in order to associate experience with a behavioral measure and take a step towards methodological consensus.

Keywords:   consciousness, methodology, subjective, objective, introspection

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