People experience perceptions such as blue, sensations such as pain, emotions such as happiness, and thoughts such as believing that spring has finally arrived. Will psychology and neuroscience ever be able to explain how people have these kinds of consciousness?
Psychology and neuroscience have made major progress in explaining many kinds of thinking such as problem solving, learning, and language use. But many people still have the intuition that, no matter how far cognitive science progresses, it will still be unable to deal with the mystery of consciousness. On this view, we all have a basic understanding of conscious experience from our own episodes of perception, sensation, emotion, and reflection. But there is an unbridgeable explanatory gap that prevents science from drawing consciousness within its scope.
Science would indeed be incapable of explaining consciousness if mental experiences were the properties of non-material souls, whose operations would have to remain totally mysterious from the perspective of the mechanisms that physicists, chemists, biologists, and psychologists use to explain what happens. But there is scant evidence for the view that minds are anything more than brains, so non-materialism does not seem to generate a barrier for explaining consciousness. Another possibility is that consciousness is just too complicated to be understood by human minds that evolved to find food, water, shelter, and mates in simple environments. But these minds have been able to create marvelous cultural tools such as written language, mathematics, and scientific instruments from telescopes to brain scanning machines. So it would be premature by centuries to give up on the attempt to find scientific explanations of mental processes including consciousness.