Measuring Consciousness in the Clinic

Publication Type:

Book Chapters


Biomedical and Clinical Engineering for Health Care Advancement, IGI Global, Hershey, p.66-77 (2020)


We don’t doubt for a moment that we are conscious, but what is ‘Consciousness’? Understanding consciousness, its nature, and characteristics has remained a hard problem for several centuries. While philosophers, neuroscientists, physicists, psychologists, and psychiatrists grapple with this hard problem, clinicians are in need of a practical way to ‘measure’ consciousness (or its surrogate). Determining whether a patient is conscious or not, and measuring the degree of consciousness, could be critical and potentially life-saving in a clinical scenario. In this chapter, we will review recent scientific approaches for modelling and measuring consciousness, and their clinical applications with an emphasis on a host of issues (theoretical, philosophical, methodological, technological, & clinical) and challenges that need to be satisfactorily and convincingly addressed going forward.