Six Studies on Consciousness

The Templeton World Charity Foundation has identified a dozen plausible theories and is now running experiments around the world.

The Accelerating Research on Consciousness Initiative is a $20,000,000 commitment to better understanding consciousness using Structured Adversarial Collaboration.

Beginning in 2018, the Accelerating Research on Consciousness Initiative has been hosting forums among the world's leading running experiments in multiple sites around the world to compete prevalent theories on consciousness. 

Theories being tested

Integrated Information Theory

Consciousness is identical to a certain kind of information, the realization of which requires physical, not merely functional, integration, and which can be measured mathematically according to the phi metric.

Global Neuronal Workspace Theory

Conscious access is global information availability: what we subjectively experience as conscious access is the selection, amplification, and global broadcasting to many distant areas, of a single piece of information selected for its salience or relevance to current goals.

First-Order Theories

Consciousness consists of sensory representations directly available to the subject for action selection, belief formation, planning, etc.

Higher-Order Theories

Conscious experiences entail some kind of minimal inner awareness of one’s ongoing mental functioning, and this is due to the first-order state being in some ways monitored or meta-represented by a relevant higher-order representation.

Orchestrated Objective Reduction

Consciousness originates at the quantum level inside neurons, rather than the conventional view that it is a product of connections between neurons.

Predictive Processing

Predictive coding (also known as predictive processing) is a theory in which the brain is constantly generating and updating a mental model of the environment. The model is used to generate predictions of sensory input that are compared to actual sensory input.


T.F.. (2020). Accelerating Research on Consciousness: Our Structured Adversarial Collaboration Projects. Templeton Foundation.

Our brains are amazing, the constant generating and regenerating is nothing short of a miracle!!

I feel like consciousness is a very misunderstood term. So many people reference it, but few know its true meaning and impact in daily life. This was a really good overview of just what it means. So many things are clearer now, too, as I try to find what higher consciousness and such means to me. 

I love the visual presentation of this information! The global neuronal workspace theory is the theory that resonates with me the most. I have actually been getting into my own spirituality for the past year now and one thing that I am a firm believer in is the fact that beyond our higher consciousness is a collective consciousness that connects all carbon life from a beautiful morphing butterfly to me and you. It also reminds me of how I meditate as well. When I tap into my higher self I feel as if I am also tapping to whatever information is relevant to my focus at the moment. Great piece! I hope to read more soon!