Study of the Formation, Practice, and Effect of Adversarial Collaboration in Consciousness Research​


Director: Aaron Panofsky

Institution: The Regents of the University of California

Templeton World Charity Foundation's Accelerating Research on Consciousness (ARC) initiative seeks to surmount seemingly intractable debates in consciousness studies. Using an innovative adversarial collaboration model, ARC aims to translate these arguments into concrete scientific experiments that test competing theories.

The initiative has the potential to make progress on specific debates in consciousness research. ARC may also emerge as a useful model for solving other scientific debates in both consciousness research and experimental science more generally. For this to occur, it is necessary to understand the possibilities and limitations of such a novel scientific model.

This project brings together sociologists of science with extensive publications on the sciences of the mind and brain, reproducibility, and open science. The team is thus uniquely positioned to study this scientific project.

They will detail the formation and practice of adversarial collaboration to understand how scientists can translate long-standing theoretical debates into doable experiments. After the individual ARC-funded projects reach their conclusions, the team will interview scholars who have participated in the debate but who were not participants in ARC to see how the experiment affected the field.

The project will use interviews, ethnographic observations, and document review to investigate these two lines of research. Together, they promise to provide both useful case studies of adversarial collaborations and a theoretical description of its important elements, dynamics, and obstacles that future scientists can use. ​


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