Elective course - The feeling of being: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches to the Study of Human Consciousness

Course content

This course introduces the main theoretical models and the empirical methods employed to explain and measure consciousness. Students are offered the opportunity to learn about the neurobiological mechanisms possibly underlying the emergence of consciousness and to grasp why science needs to embrace also conceptual and philosophical levels of analysis. The course outlines the multi-faceted nature of consciousness by discussing different aspects of the phenomenon in normal as well as in abnormal conditions. Students are encouraged throughout the course to actively participate in discussions and to make critical thinking regarding the current state of knowledge about how the brain relates to the mind.

The following topics will be covered during the course:

Theme 1: Framing consciousness

  • What do we mean by ‘conscious’?
  • The hard vs. the easy problem
  • Mapping different aspects of consciousness
  • Consciousness and Accessibility


Theme 2: Theoretical Approaches to the study of consciousness

  • Globalist vs. localist models
  • Theories: Baars; Damasio; Zeki; Tononi; Lamme; Edelman; Carrara-Augustenborg
  • The emergence of consciousness and the problem of binding
  • Understanding consciousness from the social psychology perspective


Theme 3: Methodological challenges

  • Objective and Subjective assessments of consciousness
  • Consciousness and Emotions
  • Disorders of consciousness: coma, vegetative states, locked-in syndrome
  • Anesthesia and brain default network


Theme 4: Consciousness applied (selected topics)

  • Schizophrenia
  • Somnambulism and Crime
  • Non-human consciousness
Learning outcome

Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  •  Appreciate the multi-faceted nature of consciousness
  •  Identify the conceptual and methodological problems in studying consciousness
  •  Discuss some of the key approaches to consciousness
  •  Recognize the strengths and weakness of current methodologies
  • Trace the neurobiological mechanisms possibly underlying the emergence of consciousness


Not relevant
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Free written assignment submitted in Digital Eksamen according to the exam schedule.

The exam paper can be written in groups of maximum 3 students.
1 student max 12 pages, 2 students max 15 pages and 3 students max 18 pages
Exam registration requirements

For all elective subjects, a minimum of 75% of alle classes must be attended as a prerequisite for submitting the final exam. However, the teaching is based on full participation.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Se eksamensplan.


Se eksamensplan.

Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.




  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 30
  • English
  • 30


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

10 weeks, starts week 6 or 36
About 30 students per class, 15 Bachelor and 15 Master students
Department of Psychology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Psychology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Claudia Carrara-Augustenborg   (14-65656377697775766770647174694272757b306d7730666d)
Saved on the 21-02-2024

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