© 2017 Benjamin D Young

Consciousness

My greatest area of research concerns consciousness and its qualitative nature. My first paper published was “Stinking Consciousness!” an adaptation of the fourth chapter of my dissertation, which argued that the current neuroscientific theories of consciousness were false or at best inadequate. “Smelling Phenomenal” an outgrowth of the concluding chapter, was published in Frontiers in Psychology and offers a new understanding of phenomenal-consciousness with empirical support that shows a subject can undergo a qualitative olfactory experience in the absence of awareness.

 

In addition to continuing my own original research on consciousness and smell, I co-edited   Olfactory Consciousness with Andreas Keller. It is the first collection of its kind covering a wide swath of fields, which has generated a great deal of attention for this underdeveloped field. Our contributors include: Bernard Baars, Clare Batty, Bill Lycan, Jonas Olofsson, David Rosenthal, and Richard Stevenson. Additionally, Keller and I co-authored a review article on Olfactory Consciousness, as well as collaborating with David Rosenthal on an original article “Quality-Space Theory in Olfaction,” which is the first application of a modality other than vision to Quality-Space theory.

 

Recently, Ran Hassin and I have begun a collaborative experimental project to study non-conscious phenomenology. The project combines his laboratory’s success developing methods for measuring our capacities for reading and computing mathematical equations non-consciously, with my research concerning methods for measuring the qualitative character of cognitive states in the absence of conscious awareness. We ambitiously hope to measure non-conscious subjective reports of phenomenology. We recently were awarded a grant for $216,000 from The John Templeton Foundation. I will research will being starting this December 2016 with a completion date in August 2019.  

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