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Beliefs about consciousness and reality of participants at ‘Tucson II’

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In previous studies we had found correlations between the material-transcendent dimension underlying the Western intellectual tradition and the diversity of ideas concerning consciousness. In the course of our work we developed the Beliefs About Consciousness and Reality Questionnaire that could be used for measuring fundamental beliefs about consciousness and reality. A survey of participants at the scientific meeting Toward a Science of Consciousness 1996 ‘Tucson II’ was conducted using this questionnaire. Results from 212 respondents indicated scores substantially in the transcendent direction, both for scales underlying the questionnaire as well as for some of its individual items, relative to a 1986 standardization sample. Having religious beliefs (traditional or one's own), interest in phenomenology and culture, lack of interest in neural correlates and age were also all correlated with scale scores in the transcendent direction. Given the diversity of fundamental beliefs about consciousness and reality of listeners at a meeting such as Tucson II, speakers need to find ways to communicate across the spectrum of the material-transcendent dimension.

Keywords: Beliefs; consciousness; extraordinary beliefs; extraordinary experiences; inner growth; materialism; meaning; physicalism; reality; religiosity; transcendentalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, King's College, University of Western Ontario, 266 Epworth Avenue, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 2M3. Email:

Publication date: April 1, 1998

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