Total Brain Development

Brain, Consciousness and Cognition

The “Hard” Problem of Consciousness

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Travis, F.T. (2005)

The Significance of Transcendental Consciousness for Addressing the “Hard” Problem of Consciousness, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 17, 123-135.


This paper considered the impact of deep experiences during practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique on the so called “hard” problem of consciousness: Why perceptual and cognitive functions are accompanied by (inner) conscious experience. TM practice appears to isolate self-awareness from the processes and content of experience. This experience of self-awareness, called Transcendental Consciousness, is subjectively characterized by the absence of the framework and content that define waking experiences. Physiologically, it is distinguished by apneustic breathing, autonomic orienting, and increases in the frequency of peak EEG power. When self-awareness is combined with perceptual and cognitive processes, through the agency of attention, conscious experience may result. Cortical circuits are discussed that may underlie inner self awareness and the content of experience.

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May 7th, 2007 at 12:35 am

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