The elephant in the room: the role of consciousness in psychiatry research
Despite significant progress in our understanding of biological mechanisms in psychiatry, it remains unknown HOW changes in the brain lead to the emergence of psychiatric symptoms. This is due to the mind-body problem, where emergent phenomena, such as consciousness, are more than the sum of the parts of the underlying system (the brain).
The study of consciousness provides methods that may complement the neuroscience methods used in psychiatry for addressing how symptoms emerge. Specifically, the use of philosophical theory and method, such as phenomenology, may prove useful. Phenomenology explores the experiential aspect of experience. I propose to study the philosophical methods used in consciousness research and to combine them with neuroscience methods used in psychiatry to address how it is that psychiatric symptoms emerge.
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