Developing The Consciousness Theories Studies (ConTraSt) Community Hub

TWCF0608

Director: Liad Mudrik

Institution: Tel Aviv University

How does consciousness arise from neural activity? In recent decades, more and more theories have attempted to answer this long-lasting question. These theories have developed in parallel, with very little cross talk; as a result, the field of consciousness studies now abounds with theories, each supported by empirical data, that have yet to converge onto one agreed-upon account.

In a recent work, Dr. Liad Mudrik and her team at Tel Aviv University's School of Psychological Sciences examined this state of affairs, analyzing 412 experiments reported in 365 papers that referred to four leading theories in the field. This gave rise to a very unique database of studies and classifications, which has been turned into an open access interactive website, featuring the Consciousness Theories Studies (ConTraSt) database. The website ContrastDB allows researchers in the community to get a bird’s eye view of the field, conduct their own queries of the data, generate plots to examine prominent trends and download lists of relevant papers.

With TWCF-funding, this project seeks to establish ConTraSt as a main hub for the consciousness community, in the spirit of open science and knowledge dissemination. It focuses on devising a governance mechanism that will make sure the database rightfully represents the field and is built in a way that would allow users to maximize its utility. This project is associated with TWCF’s Accelerating Research on Consciousness initiative.

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