Welcome to the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section
It's been a great year so far with the recent Annual Conference 2013, the first ASC event in the series and many member achievements announced on twitter and facebook.
psychology4students Wednesday 4 December 2013
The Annual Conference 2014 Theme
Full announcement for ASC 2: Drug States on Saturday 21 June 2014
Thanks again to everyone who joined us in September for our 2013 Annual Conference
. It was a great success and the conference review is just about to be submitted to the JCS.
Aims of the Section
Consciousness was the original focus of psychological research and is once more a central topic of enquiry. The growth of interest and research over recent years has been explosive, and to foster this development a new section of the British Psychological Society, the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section (CEP) was formed in 1997. Its purpose is to advance our understanding of consciousness, to bring scientific research on consciousness closer to other traditions of inquiry into the nature of mind, and to explore how this research can be used to improve the quality of life.
In the modern era, CEP was the first and is still the only subsection of a nationally representative body of professional psychologists devoted to the study of Consciousness.
BackgroundAt the turn of the last century, Wundt, James and the other founders of scientific psychology took it for granted that conscious experience was the discipline's central phenomenon. In the behaviourist period (roughly the first 50 years of the 20th Century) the study and even the mention of consciousness was largely suppressed. With the reintroduction of "mind" in cognitive psychology (over the second half of the 20th Century) mention of consciousness was gradually reintroduced, usually in connection with studies of selective attention and short-term memory. It was generally assumed however that consciousness was nothing more than a form of information processing, with little attention paid to how its rich phenomenology is experienced. The effort to develop an understanding of the mind that paid closer attention to the phenomenology of consciousness gathered pace from the early 1990's, along with a growing understanding of how the methods used to understand consciousness affect the ways that we think about it. In 1994 the founders of CEP were motivated by the conviction that the study of consciousness should be fully reincorporated into mainstream psychology. Official approval for CEP was announced on April 4th 1997, during the BPS Annual Conference. The ballot attracted over 3000 votes (about 10% of BPS membership) - an overwhelming majority in favour. The study of consciousness is now firmly re-established at the heart of the discipline.
There are now many consciousness research groups, for example the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, the Science and Consciousness Review and the Tucson Conferences. Not only psychologists, but individuals from many different disciplines study consciousness, including philosophers, neuroscientists, physicists, engineers working in artificial intelligence, anthropologists, and artists. There are also many ancient traditions for investigating consciousness that have developed in the East.
Journals, such as Journal of Consciousness Studies and Consciousness and Cognition have appeared (including the e-journal, PSYCHE) and there are literally hundreds of books on the topic, for example:
- The Nature of Consciousness (1997), Block, Flanagan and Guzeldere (eds)
- Towards a Theory of Consciousness (1996), Chalmers
- Journey to the Centre of the Mind (1995), Greenfield
- On The Nature of Consciousness (1995), Hunt
- Consciousness in Action (1998), Hurley
- Consciousness and Experience (1996), Lycan
- Ten Problems of Consciousness: A Representational Theory of the Phenomenal Mind (1995), Tye
- Consciousness: An Introduction (2003), Blackmore, Susan
- Essential Sources in the Scientific Study of Consciousness (2003), Baars, B., Banks, William P., Newman, James B. (eds)
- The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness (2007), Velmans, M. & Schneider, S. (eds)
- Understanding Consciousness, Second Edition (2009), Velmans
There are also many additional resources available on the web. Particularly useful collections of on-line papers can be found in the CogPrints archive and on the website of the philosopher David Chalmers.