Are There Levels of Consciousness?

Tim Bayne, Jakob Hohwy, Adrian M. Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The notion of a level of consciousness is a key construct in the science of consciousness. Not only is the term employed to describe the global states of consciousness that are associated with post-comatose disorders, epileptic absence seizures, anaesthesia, and sleep, it plays an increasingly influential role in theoretical and methodological contexts. However, it is far from clear what precisely a level of consciousness is supposed to be. This paper argues that the levels-based framework for conceptualizing global states of consciousness is untenable and develops in its place a multidimensional account of global states.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-413
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number6
Early online date18 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • anaesthesia
  • disorders of consciousness
  • levels of consciousness
  • sedation
  • sleep
  • global state of consciousness


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