General anaesthesia has come a long way since its first public demonstration in the 19th century, depicted here.
Wellcome Library, London/Wikimedia
Terrifying accounts of surgery 200 years ago remind us how far general anaesthesia has come. Yet we still know little about how anaesthetics alter consciousness.
A patient who suffered a traumatic brain injury works with a therapist.
Neuroscience can now make a difference in the lives of people with severe brain injury, but will they get the care they deserve? More than a question of entitlements, this is an issue of civil rights.
Changes in arousal can alter introspective confidence.
Scientists are increasingly working out that the body actually shapes the mind. New research even raises hopes about new treatments for mental health problems.
Your brain picks up more than you’re aware of.
It has long been claimed that subliminal messages work. Now two studies have set the record straight.
Most functions attributed to the soul can be explained by the brain.
Many people believe they have a soul. But for psychologists, who study behaviour, it is not so much that souls do not exist, it is that there is no need for them.
Taking the plunge. What can entrepreneurs teach you?
Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen/Flickr
How to embrace the characteristics that give start-up businesses their edge.
Take me to the stars.
Lucid dreaming is showing some promise in treating nightmares. Could it help treat some mental illnesses, too?
Are compound eyes the window to the soul?
Gilles San Martin/Flickr
Insects have similar structures in their brains as do we, and that might mean that have a basic form of consciousness.
Vladimir Wrangel / shutterstock
The idea of non-human consciousness raises a host of philosophical questions.
Consciousness remains one of the most puzzling phenomena in science.
Consciousness is one of the most puzzling phenomena in science. How does the electric and chemical activity in your brain produce your subjective experiences; the colour red or the taste of chocolate?
Consciousness might emerge from a particular kind of information processing.
Consciousness is one of the most mysterious phenomena we know of. But evidence is emerging that it might just be a very special kind of information processing.
Doctors currently have no perfectly reliable way of ensuring patients are adequately unconscious before an operation begins.
Measuring certain kinds of brain activity may help doctors track and predict how patients will react to anaesthesia before going under for surgery, our research has found.
Can a machine really think, be in awe and wonder?
As machines get ever more complex as we strive to make them complete more complex tasks, it's time to ask again: will they ever be able to think? But what is thinking anyway?
Have questions about robots and artificial intelligence?
Is genuine artificial consciousness possible? Should we protect jobs from automation? Your questions on AI and robots answered here.
Scientists have pinned down what happens inside the brain when the scenes change in our dreams.
Your eye movements may be changing the images in your dreams when you sleep.
Baby Joe (Joseph Christopher Wilson) at 1 day old did nothing but sleep, feed and cry.
Will we ever have a scientific measure of consciousness? This was the essay topic I set my student a few months ago – only days before I went on maternity leave for the recent birth of my baby Joe (more…
Does Hemingway feel what I feel?
Take the screen on which you are reading this article. When you look at it, you see one complete scene, but you know that this scene is composed of millions of pixels that only come in three colours: red…
Consciousness: understandable, but no less amazing.
We have no entirely satisfactory explanation for why a relentless stream of experiences normally fills your mind. On close examination, consciousness can seem truly miraculous and hopelessly ineffable…
Where do our thoughts gather?
Consciousness is one of the most fascinating and elusive phenomena we humans face. Every single one of us experiences it but it remains surprisingly poorly understood. That said, psychology, neuroscience…
Search and rescue.
When patients suffer from a brain injury and are unresponsive, we often don’t know whether they have suffered irreversible damage from which they will never recover, or whether the damage is a temporary…