TOWARD A SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS: sponsored by The Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona

April 9-14, 2012
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort Hotel
Tucson, Arizona

The program is taking shape for the tenth biennial Tucson conference, Toward a Science of Consciousness 2012. For the first time, the conference will be held at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort Hotel in the Catalina Foothills above Tucson, Arizona (with a special conference room rate of $99 dollars / per room. See booking link:

As in previous conferences, the program will include plenary and keynote talks, concurrent talks, posters, art/science demos and exhibits, pre-conference workshops, side trips and social events in the Tucson conference tradition. Summaries of plenary/keynote sessions and pre-conference workshops are below.

Plenary and Keynote Speakers Will Include:
Daryl Bem
Ned Block
Melanie Boly
Deepak Chopra
Biyu Jade He
Robert Kentridge
Daniel Kish
Victor Lamme
Hakwan Lau
Steven Laureys
George Mashour
Leonard Mlodinow
Cynthia Moss
Jesse Prinz
David Rosenthal
Lore Thaler
…and others

Conference Co-Chairs
David Chalmers
Stuart Hameroff

Plenary/Keynote Session themes will include:

HOT or NOT: Debate on higher-order theories of consciousness – Does consciousness require “higher-order thought” in the prefrontal cortex? This debate pits HOT proponents from philosophy (David Rosenthal) and neuroscience (Hakwan Lau) against skeptical counterparts (Ned Block and Victor Lamme).

War of the Worldviews: Chopra and Mlodinow on consciousness
Physician, author, spiritualist Deepak Chopra debates physicist Leonard Mlodinow (co-author of ‘Grand Design’ with Stephen Hawking) on their alternative visions of consciousness and its place in the universe.

Consciousness and Echolocation
What is it like to echocolate? Echolocation is perception of objects by sensing their echoes. Animals including bats and dolphins use echolocation, as do some humans, e.g. those who have lost their vision, by emitting sounds. Daniel Kish will give the perspective of a human echolator, and Lore Thaler and Cynthia Moss will discuss echolocation in humans and bats respectively.

Fractal consciousness: Scale-free brain structure and dynamics
Brain structure and dynamics have scale-free, 1/f fractal-like layering: self-similar neural structure and activity repeat at different, multiple scales. What do nested brain frequencies and structure tell us about consciousness? Biyu Jade He and other speakers will discuss their work on temporal structures and functional significance of scale-free brain activity.

Retrocausality and consciousness
Cornell psychologist Daryl Bem published the controversial 2011 paper Feeling the ‘Future’, describing 9 experiments showing backward time effects in brain functions. Bem and skeptics will debate the question: Is retrocausality a feature of consciousness? (n.b. not common.)

Searching for consciousness in coma and anesthesia
Are patients in coma and vegetative states completely unconscious? Evidence suggests that consciousness may sometimes be present in these patients, raising medical, philosophical and ethical issues. Keynote speaker neurologist Steven Laureys will review relevant findings and implications for brain mechanisms underlying conscious awareness. In a related session, neurologist Melanie Boly will discuss further studies on comatose patients, and anesthesiologist George Mashour will describe research efforts to detect (and prevent) conscious awareness during anesthesia, and reveal brain pathways and supporting consciousness.

Can attention occur without consciousness?
Using experimental data from blindsight, neuroscientist Robert Kentridge suggests that there can be attention in unconscious perception. Philosopher Jesse Prinz contends that attention is both necessary and sufficient for conscious awareness.

2012 Pre-Conference Workshops

Monday Morning, April 9, 2012 9:00-1:00

– The Neuroscience of Music – Alexander Graur
– Pranahuti Aided Meditation…- Sastry, Zeng et al
– Synesthesia/Cross-Modal Consciousness 1 – Seaberg, Duffy et al
– The survival of consciousness after death hypothesis: Implications and applications – Beischel, Boccuzzi

Monday Afternoon, April 9, 2012 2:00-6:00

– How do Doctors Measure (Un) Consciousness – Steven Laureys
– Bayesian Statistics – The Bem-Wagenmaker Debate – Klein, Morash
– Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship 1 – Moreira-Almeda, Fenwick et al
– Synesthesia/Cross-Modal Consciousness 2 – Seaberg, Duffy et al
– Meditation 2 – Sastry, Zeng, et al

Special Workshop

Monday evening, April 9, 2012 6:30 to 10:30 pm

– The Neuroscience of Enlightenment – Deepak Chopra

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:00-1:00

– Functional Neuroimaging of (Un)Consciousness – Steven Laureys
– Consciousness and Video Game Play – Gackenbach, Schafer, et al
– Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship 2 – Moreira-Almeda, Fenwick etc
– William James ‘On the Fringe’ – Bruce Mangan
– Quantum Consciousness Update – Stuart Hameroff
– Philosophical Overview of Theories of Consciousness – Kriegel, Weisberg

Program Committee – Toward a Science of Consciousness 2012
David Chalmers, Australian National University, Co-Chair
Stuart Hameroff, University of Arizona, Co-Chair
Uriah Kriegel, University of Arizona
Hakwan Lau, Columbia University
Marilyn Schlitz, Institute of Noetic Sciences
Heather Berlin, Mount Sinai Medical Center
Jonathan Schooler, University of California, Santa Barbara
Melanie Boly, University of Liege
Moran Cerf, UCLA/NYU
Abi Behar-Montefiore, conference manager,

Abi Behar-Montefiore, Manager, Center for Consciousness Studies, University of Arizona –

Conference Links:



Abstract Submission Template and Taxonomy

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