A construct-first approach to consciousness science

Peter Fazekas*, Axel Cleeremans, Morten Overgaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


We propose a new approach to consciousness science that instead of comparing complex theoretical positions deconstructs existing theories, takes their central assumptions while disregarding their auxiliary hypotheses, and focuses its investigations on the main constructs that these central assumptions rely on (like global workspace, recurrent processing, metarepresentation). Studying how these main constructs are anchored in lower-level constructs characterizing underlying neural processing will not just offer an alternative to theory comparisons but will also take us one step closer to empirical resolutions. Moreover, exploring the compatibility and possible combinations of the lower-level constructs will allow for new theoretical syntheses. This construct-first approach will improve our ability to understand the commitments of existing theories and pave the way for moving beyond them.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105480
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Auxiliary hypotheses
  • Conscious experience
  • Theoretical constructs
  • Theories of consciousness


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