A Stable Mind is a Conscious Mind, by Anil Ananthaswamy

“The hard problem” – how does our experience of consciousness arise from brain activity – looks as intractable as ever. But here is scientific study which seems to chip away at that problem.

Aaron Schurger at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has used fMRI scanners to peer inside the brains of people during conscious and unconscious experiences. It turns out that when people’s brains are conscious of something, that they are temporarily in a more stable neural state. It is as if consciousness reflects the uniting of stable activity across several brain areas simultaneously.

“Somehow, processes in the brain lead us to report that we have conscious experiences. What are these processes? How do they occur? This study is a beautiful example of pinning down the speculation with data.” – Michael Graziano, Princeton University.

New Scientist No. 3016, 11th April 2015, p.10.


Published by


I teach psychology at Graveney School in Tooting, London.