Bernard J. Baars, Ph.D. is Affiliated Fellow in Theoretical Neurobiology at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, CA.
Bernie is a cognitive scientist specializing in conscious and unconscious brain functions, voluntary control, and concepts of self. These common sense ideas have long been difficult to study in the biobehavioral sciences, but have returned to the forefront in recent decades. He is best known for his book, A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness (1988) in which he develops an integrative theory called Global Workspace Theory (GWT) as a model for conscious and unconscious processes in the human brain.
GWT continues to be developed, in collaboration with Professor. Stan Franklin of the University of Memphis, Professor Murray Shanahan of Imperial College, London, and scientists working in the Neural Darwinism tradition of Gerald A. Edelman at the Neurosciences Institute. A number of neuroscientists are advancing the theory from their own perspectives, notably Professor Stan Dehaene and his research group in Paris. A popular account of GWT appeared in 1997, called In the Theater of Consciousness: the Workspace of the Mind, from Oxford University Press (1997; translated into German and Japanese).
Bernie cofounded the journal Consciousness & Cognition together with William P. Banks, published by Academic Press/Elsevier, and was the first president of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. ASSC is still the sole scientific organization dedicated to the empirical study and understanding of consciousness and related issues. Both Consciousness & Cognition and ASSC have helped to expand the accepted reach of consciousness science to a large number of topics, including such fields as animal consciousness.
Bernie is also a founder and editor of the web bulletin Science and Consciousness Review, along with Thomas Ramsoy and others. SCR aims to make the fast-growing scientific literature available to a wider web audience.
He recently developed teaching materials for a web-based course through the University of Arizona Center for Consciousness Studies. He has also edited a college textbook, together with Nicole M. Gage, called Cognition, Brain, and Consciousness: Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience. (Elsevier/Academic Press, 2007).