Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness
The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (commonly referred to as the ASSC) is a professional membership organization that aims to encourage research on consciousness in cognitive science, neuroscience, philosophy, and other relevant disciplines in the sciences and humanities, directed toward understanding the nature, function, and underlying mechanisms of consciousness. The organization was created in 1994 in Berkeley immediately after the first Tucson meeting by Patrick Wilken. The original aim of the organization was to act as a framework by which the international academic community could generate meetings devoted to the academic study of consciousness. The original founding members included Bernard Baars, William Banks, David Chalmers, Stanley Klein, George Buckner, David Rosenthal, Thomas Metzinger and Patrick Wilken. Since 1994 the organization has put on eleven meetings and taken on a host of other activities, including an e-print archive and the online journal Psyche.
In 2008 the executive committee of the association was composed as follows: Michael Gazzaniga (Past-President), David Rosenthal (President), Giulio Tononi (President-Elect); and six Members-at-Large, Christof Koch, Alva Noë, Susana Martinez-Conde, Paula Droege, and John-Dylan Haynes. In 2007 Christof Koch took over as Director and Chair of the Board from Patrick Wilken.
Since 1997, the ASSC has organised annual conferences to promote interaction and spread knowledge of scientific and philosophical advances in the field of consciousness research. The 2008 meeting was organized by Allen Houng and Ralph Adolphs, and held between the 19th and 22nd of June at the Gis Convention Center, National Taiwan University in Taipei. The June 2009 meeting was held in Berlin, and organized by Patrick Wilken and Michael Pauen.
In addition to organizing annual meetings, the association promotes the academic study of consciousness in a number of other ways:
- The association published the open-access journal Psyche until 2010.
- The association provides a freely available e-print archive of papers relevant to the study of consciousness.
- the society also publishes occasional edited books on selected topics. To date three books have been published: Steven Laureys, ed. (2005). Progress in Brain Research, The boundaries of consciousness: neurobiology and neuropathology. Elsevier. ISBN 0-444-51851-7.; Axel Cleeremans (Ed.), ed. (2003). The Unity of Consciousness: Binding, Integration, and Dissociation. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850857-3.; and Thomas Metzinger, ed. (2000). The Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Empirical and Conceptual Questions. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-13370-9.;
- the society awards the annual William James Prize for an outstanding published contribution to the empirical or philosophical study of consciousness by a graduate student or postdoctoral scholar within five years of receiving a PhD or other advanced degree.