Sizing up Consciousness: Towards an objective measure of the capacity for experience

ISBN : 9780198728443

Marcello Massimini; Giulio Tononi
216 ページ
138 x 216 mm

Everyone knows what consciousness is: it is what vanishes when we fall into dreamless sleep and reappears when we wake up or when we dream. However, we become less and less confident when we are called to answer fundamental questions about the relationships between consciousness and the physical world. Using the Integrated information theory (IIT) as a guiding principle, Sizing up Consciousness takes the reader vis-a-vis with these question along a fascinating journey from the cerebral cortex to the cerebellum, from wakefulness to sleep, anesthesia, and coma, supercomputers, octopuses, dolphins, and much more besides.


1 A Brain in your Hand
2 Zombies and Dolls
3 Brain Islands
4 Mysteries in the Cranium
5 A Theoretical Principle
6 The First Leg of the Journey: Into the cranium
7 Assessing Consciousness in Humans: From theory to practice
8 The World View of Consciousness
9 A universe in your hand


Marcello Massimini was trained as a Medical Doctor and received a PhD in Neurophysiology. He worked at Laval University (Canada), at the University of Wisconsin (USA), at the ComaScience Group, University of Liege (Belgium) and is currently Professor of Physiology at the University of Milan (Italy). In 2013, he received the James S. McDonnell Scholar Award. His research team investigates the mechanisms of loss and recovery of consciousness in different conditions such as wakefulness, sleep, dreaming, anaesthesia and coma. His current goal is to bring theoretical and basic neuroscience closer to the bedside of brain-injured patients.; Giulio Tononi received his medical degree and specialized in Psychiatry at the University of Pisa, Italy. After serving as an Army medical officer, he obtained a Ph.D. in neuroscience as a fellow of the Scuola Superiore. He is currently Professor of Psychiatry, Distinguished Professor in Consciousness Science, the David P. White Chair in Sleep Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness. In 2005 he received the NIH Director's Pioneer Award for his work on sleep. His laboratory studies consciousness and its disorders as well as the mechanisms and functions of sleep.