What is consciousness?
How does it depend on the brain and the body?

Explaining consciousness

Understanding consciousness is one of the greatest challenges for 21st Century science. How does the wetware inside your skull give rise to rich inner universe of ‘being you’? My mission is to explain how consciousness happens, and to use the insights from consciousness science for the benefit of medicine, technology, and society. For general introductions, my Aeon essay The Real Problem has a short summary of my approach to consciousness science, as does my 2017 TED talk (17 mins). My conversation with Sam Harris gets into more detail.

With over 200 academic publications, I have been recognized as a Web Of Science Highly Cited Researcher (2019, 2020) – a list which identifies the top 1% of researchers by field in terms of sustained impact over a decade. My publications are available through PubMed, Google Scholar, or ORCID.

!Job alert! Come work with me (with David Schwartzman & Fiona Macpherson) on an exciting large-scale science-art project, as part of Festival UK 2022. We have a 12 month full-time postdoctoral position available, focusing on measuring perceptual diversity. Application deadline October 22nd.

  • Conscious

  • Being a beast machine

  • Causality, emergence, complexity

  • Phenomenological control

  • Perceptual expectations

  • Active inference and machine learning

  • Time perception and memory

  • Unusual conscious states

  • Extended reality and perceptual presence

  • Metascience


Current lab members include Lionel Barnett, Reny Baykova, Clémence Compain, Guillaume Corlouer, Tomasz Korbek, Federico Micheli, Peter Lush, Alberto Mariola, Maxine Sherman, David Schwartzman, Nadine Spychala, and Alexander Tschantz.

Lab alumni: Edgar Bermudez, Paul Chorley, Tom Froese, Peter Passaro, Daniel Bor, Colin Reveley, Adam Barrett, Cassandra Gould van Praag, Acer Chang, Yair Pinto, Marte Otten, Michael Schartner, Darren Rhodes, Jim Parkinson, Warrick Roseboom, Marta Suarez-Pinilla, Lina Skora, Keisuke Suzuki.


My research and outreach has been supported by the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, the EPSRC, the ERC, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), and the Wellcome Trust.