Consciousness and the Brain by Stanislas Dahaene

Neuroscience and discussions about the brain and consciousness are powering ahead at a fomidable pace. It’s hard to keep up without being involved full time in the research. Here, though, is a book from 2014 which will take you to the cutting edge. Stanislas Dehaene ( and|m=#course|) describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other cognitive neuroscientists worldwide have accomplished.

The broad ambition is to define, test, and explain the brain events that correlate with conscious states. It’s now possible to pin down the neurons that fire when a person reports becoming aware of a piece of information and understand the crucial role unconscious computations play in how we make decisions. The emerging theory enables a test of consciousness in animals, babies, and those with severe brain injuries. This is a joyous exploration of the mind/brain and its thrilling complexities. There are vast philosophical, personal, and ethical implications of finally quantifying consciousness. This whole subject and this book have me gripped. I hope the same is the case for you.

Enquire at your local library or available at

Read this in conjunction with Headhunters by Ben Shephard (reviewed at and also We Are Our Brains by Dick Swaab (reviewed at

It’s all guaranteed to scramble your brains.

Warm up to this subject by listening to the BBC Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’ 30 minute episode on Brain and Consciousness. Available from the link With Steven Rose, Professor of Biology and Director of the Brain and Behaviour Research Group, Open University; and Dan Robinson, Distinguished Research Professor, Georgetown University and visiting lecturer in Philosophy and Senior Member of Linacre College, Oxford. Chaired by Melvyn Bragg. First broadcast Thu 19 Nov 1998.

For a good, entertaining, summary of the state of discussion on consciousness – read the Guardian article published January 2015 available at

352 pages in Penguin paperback edition

First published 30 Jan 2014

ISBN 978-0143126263

Stanislas Dehaene

Scroll to Top