Are you comfortably numb?

This friday the Royal Insitution is asking Are you comfortably numb?, with an event about what we can learn about consciousness from unconsciousness:

Until very recently it was thought that consciousness couldn’t be studied scientifically, but now the drive to find out how your brain can make you self-aware is one of the most significant areas of new research. What’s more, scientists are now making headway with some of the big questions. What is consciousness? How can we hope to study it empirically when it’s all about each person’s subjective experience?

Some clues to these answers may come from studying anaesthesia. When you go under anaesthesia you’re in a strange position with regard to consciousness. It’s a much deeper oblivion than sleep, but we all know stories of people becoming aware during surgery. It even appears that patients under perfectly adequate anaesthesia can still hear, and in one experiment, patients were able to learn while under!

The event features Prof Mike Alkire & Prof Peter Sebel and is Chaired by Baroness Susan Greenfield. Date & Time: Friday 12 May 2006, 7.00pm–8.30pm, and tickets are £8/£5 for members and concessions.

If you’d like an even more in-depth look at the topic, you can join the preceding day-long Consciousness and Anaesthesia meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine.

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