Consciousness & Altered States


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Consciousness & Altered States
Night school

New evidence suggests that we can learn while we sleep, but do we really want to put our hours of rest to work?

Kenneth Miller

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Consciousness & Altered States
How the light gets out

Consciousness is the ‘hard problem’, the one that confounds science and philosophy. Has a new theory cracked it?

Michael Graziano

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Neuroscience
The real problem

It looks like scientists and philosophers might have made consciousness far more mysterious than it needs to be

Anil K Seth

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Consciousness & Altered States
Off-beat Zen

How I found my way out of depression, thanks to the writings of the English priest who brought Buddhism to the West

Tim Lott

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Consciousness & Altered States
Hallucinogenic nights

Sleep paralysis has tormented me since childhood. But now it’s my portal to out-of-body travel and lucid dreams

Karen Emslie

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Consciousness & Altered States
The mathematics of mind-time

The special trick of consciousness is being able to project action and time into a range of possible futures

Karl Friston

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Sleep & Dreams
Falling for sleep

When wakefulness is seen as the main event, no wonder so many have trouble sleeping. Can we rekindle the joy of slumber?

Rubin Naiman

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Consciousness & Altered States
The mental block

Consciousness is the greatest mystery in science. Don’t believe the hype: the Hard Problem is here to stay

Michael Hanlon

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Consciousness & Altered States
Hive consciousness

New research puts us on the cusp of brain-to-brain communication. Could the next step spell the end of individual minds?

Peter Watts

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Neuroscience
I feel therefore I am

How exactly did consciousness become a problem? And why, after years off the table, is it a hot research subject now?

Margaret Wertheim

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Addiction
Missing marijuana

When I stopped smoking weed, my appetite shrivelled and my head throbbed – but it was the dreams that really shook me

Malcolm Harris

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Spirituality
Does meditation work?

It’s hailed as the panacea for everything from cancer to war. Does research into its efficacy meet scientific standards?

Ute Kreplin

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History
Drugs du jour

LSD in the ’60s; ecstasy in the ’80s; ‘smart’ drugs today: how we get high reflects the desires and fears of our times

Cody Delistraty

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Art
How wonder works

One emotion inspired our greatest achievements in science, art and religion. We can manipulate it – but why do we have it?

Jesse Prinz

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Philosophy of Mind
Are you sleepwalking now?

Given how little control we have of our wandering minds, how can we cultivate real mental autonomy?

Thomas Metzinger

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Computing & Artificial Intelligence
Conscious exotica

From algorithms to aliens, could humans ever understand minds that are radically unlike our own?

Murray Shanahan

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Consciousness & Altered States
Caves all the way down

Do psychedelics give access to a universal, mystical experience of reality, or is that just a culture-bound illusion?

Jules Evans

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Values & Beliefs
Dissolving the ego

You don’t need drugs or a church for an ecstatic experience that helps transcend the self and connect to something bigger

Jules Evans

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Cognition & Intelligence
Build-a-brain

We could build an artificial brain that believes itself to be conscious. Does that mean we have solved the hard problem?

Michael Graziano

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Consciousness & Altered States
Into the deep

Just when you crave one more sensual hit, the void of the float tank stops time, strips ego and unleashes the mind

M M Owen

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Consciousness & Altered States
Zapped

I strapped TDCS electrodes to my head to see if I could make myself smarter by stimulating my brain. Here’s what happened

Mary H K Choi

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Consciousness & Altered States
Model hallucinations

Psychedelics have a remarkable capacity to violate our ideas about ourselves. Is that why they make people better?

Philip Gerrans & Chris Letheby

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Consciousness & Altered States
A good trip

Researchers are giving psychedelics to cancer patients to help alleviate their despair — and it’s working

Linda Marsa

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Mood & Emotion
Why the long face?

Sadness makes us seem nobler, more elegant, more adult. Which is pretty weird, when you think about it

Adam Roberts

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Consciousness & Altered States
Planet boredom

On Mars I learned that boredom has two sides – it can either rot the mind or rocket it to new places

Kate Greene

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Bioethics
Being a sandpiper

Animals have thoughts, feelings and personality. Why have we taken so long to catch up with animal consciousness?

Brandon Keim