Michael Graziano
Human Neuroscience
Human Neuroscience

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Ph.D., Princeton University, 1996
Faculty

Research: Brain Basis of Consciousness

graziano@princeton.edu
Research Lab
609-258-7555
281 Neuroscience


Research Focus

My lab currently focuses on the brain basis of consciousness. Brains arrive at the conclusion that they have an internal, subjective experience of things — an experience that is non-physical and inexplicable. How can such a thing be studied scientifically? When an information-processing device such as the brain introspects, or accesses internal data, and on that basis arrives at the conclusion that it has a magic property inside of it, the first question for a scientist is probably not: how did that device produce magic? Or even: what is the magic? Such questions are probably not coherent. Instead, in my lab we are asking: how does a brain arrive at that kind of self-description? What is the adaptive advantage of that style of self-description? What systems in the brain compute that information? What happens when those systems are damaged? When and how did they evolve? All of these questions are scientifically approachable. My lab is currently testing a specific, mechanistic theory of awareness described in my recent book, Consciousness and the Social Brain.
 

Selected Publications