During this month, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, biologists, and philosophers from all around the globe gathered in Montreal to discuss the role of conscious processing in the brain and how consciousness, as a functional tool in the human brain, may have evolved. It is a noteworthy event; especially because, not so long ago, the topic of consciousness was considered taboo in psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience. The conference was titled, “Evolution and the Function of Consciousness,” which is part of the Summer School in Cognitive Sciences organized by the University of Quebec at Montreal. It was a wonderful scientific event.

Each of the talks at the conference was videotaped and can be downloaded and viewed here.

For those who are curious, my own talk has been uploaded on Youtube and can be viewed here (note that there are three parts to the talk).

One important point to keep in mind regarding the function of consciousness in the brain is that, even if consciousness serves no functional role whatsoever (as some propose), we scientists still must explain what consciousness is and how it is part of the natural world.

About the Author

Ezequiel Morsella

Ezequiel Morsella, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Social Cognitive Neuroscience at San Francisco State University.

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