BMBS Action COST BM0605
Consciousness: A Transdisciplinary, Integrated Approach
Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.
The main objective of the Action is to increase the understanding of (1) the defining features, (2) the behavioural markers, (3) the computational principles, and (4) the neural mechanisms associated with conscious experience in humans and animals, and to identify the clinical, societal, and ethical implications of such findings. Secondary Objectives - To contribute to the understanding assessment, and treatment of disorders of consciousness, including (1) coma, minimally conscious state, and vegetative state conditions, and (2) certain psychiatric diseases (e.g., schizophrenia) - To promote the emergence of a consensus on the definition of consciousness - To improve both behavioural and brain imaging methods used to explore differences between conscious and unconscious information processing - To improve the design of educational curricula based on current neuroscientific knowledge - To translate neuroscientific knowledge about subjective experience to fields where it can provide wide human benefit, such as education or mental health care. As stated above, the central objective of the Action is, essentially, to contribute to the understanding of mechanisms associated with consciousness. This is achieved by coordinating ongoing research dedicated to consciousness in Europe so as to make it possible to achieve the close interdisciplinary interactions that are necessary to advance knowledge in the domain. In particular, the Action aims (1) to create, on a European scale, a network of active researchers in the domain, and (2) to foster interactions between junior and senior scientists so as to contribute to the emergence of a “consciousness” community in Europe. The means to achieve these objectives are essentially consisting in: 1. bi-annual Training Schools 2. bi-annual Scientific Dissemination Meetings 3. Annual Working Group Meetings focused on horizon-scanning and identifying innovative collaborations 4. Short-Term Scientific Missions implementing identified collaborations 5. The creation of electronic tools to facilitate interactions and knowledge building: A web site providing detailed information about ongoing research, conferences, training opportunities, as well as a basis for forum discussions (tentative); several mailing lists; an e-print archive. The target audience of the Action is essentially the transdisciplinary scientific community from the many disciplines for which conscious experience and its neurobiological bases are central research topics (neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, psychiatry etc.), with a specific focus on junior scientists. Because the proposed Action also has societal relevance, it is also targeted towards the educational and mental health care communities. Relevant deliverables resulting from the Action include (1) scholarly publications in leading journals, (2) prospective foresight documents from Working Group Meetings, Conferences, and Training School proceedings, (3) high-level training opportunities for junior scientists.
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