The conscious phenotype

Year of award: 2012


  • Prof Geraint Rees

    University College London

Project summary

Consciousness is central to the human condition, furnishing us with phenomenal awareness of the external world and the ability to reflect upon our own thoughts and experiences. Almost half our communication concerns the contents of our thoughts and experiences. The shared language we use to communicate these thoughts obscures the recent realisation that there is substantial variability in how different people experience the same physical environment. Professor Rees's research seeks to characterise the brain structures and mental processes that define this conscious phenotype, using brain imaging to study how such a phenotype may differ in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and to establish powerful new approaches to modifying the conscious phenotype using real-time fMRI.