Course Syllabus

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Semester & Location:

Summer 2022 Session 2 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Study Tours:


Major Disciplines:

Neuroscience; Psychology


One course in neuroscience, physiological psychology, biological psychology, or cognitive psychology at university level.

Faculty Members:

Maria Özden (current students please use the Canvas Inbox to contact)

Program Contact:

Time & Place:

June 14th - July 1st (see course schedule below)

Classroom: N7-C21

Course Description

This course introduces concepts, theoretical models and empirical methods employed to explain and measure consciousness. Students are offered the opportunity to learn about the neurobiological mechanisms possibly underlying the emergence of consciousness and how disorders of consciousness are understood and rated in clinical settings. The course outlines the multi-faceted nature of consciousness by discussing different aspects of the phenomenon in normal as well as abnormal conditions. Students are encouraged throughout the course to actively participate in discussions and to critically think regarding the current state of knowledge about how the brain relates to the mind.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the multi-faceted nature of consciousness
  • Identify the conceptual and methodological challenges in studying consciousness
  • Trace the neurobiological mechanisms possibly underlying the emergence of consciousness
  • Understand some of the key approaches to rating disorders of consciousness
  • Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of current methodologies


We will cover topics such as conceptualizing consciousness, theories on consciousness, disorders of consciousness after brain injury, objective and subjective assessments of consciousness, the impact of culture and consciousness applied in clinical populations.


Maria Özden, clinical neuropsychologist

Certified MSc in psychology from University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Main areas of interest are neural mechanisms underlying cognitive deficits following brain injury, neuropsychological rehabilitation, assessing disorders of consciousness and understanding the impact of culture in minority populations.  


Journal Articles available in Canvas calendar. 

Overview article: Zeman, A. (2005). What in the world is consciousness? Progress in Brain Research, 150, 1-10.

Ardila, A. (2007). The impact of culture on neuropsychological test performance. International handbook of cross-cultural neuropsychology, 23, 44. Chapter 2.

Baars BJ.(2005). Global workspace theory of consciousness: toward a cognitive neuroscience of human experience, in Progresses in Brain Research 150, 45-53.

Block, N. (2011). Perceptual consciousness overflows cognitive access, in Trends in Cognitive Sciences Dec;15(12), 567-75.

Damasio, A. (2003). Feeling of emotions and the self, in Ann. N.Y Acc.. Science, 1001, 253-261.

Dehaene, S., Naccache, L. (2001). Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: basic evidence and workspace framework, in Cognition 79, 1-37.

Farb, N. A. S. (2014). From retreat center to clinic to boardroom? Perils and promises of the modern mindfulness movement. Religions, 5, 1062-1086.

Ponsford, J., Carrier, S., Hicks, A., & McKay, A. (2021). Assessment and management of patients in the acute stages of recovery after traumatic brain injury in adults: a worldwide survey. Journal of neurotrauma, 38(8), 1060-1067.

Schnakers, C., & Majerus, S. (2012). Behavioral assessment and diagnosis of disorders of consciousness. In Coma and disorders of consciousness (pp. 1-13). Springer, London. Chapter 6 is voluntary. 

Zeki S. (2003). The disunity of consciousness, in Trends in Cognitive Sciences May;7(5):214-218.

Additional readings (optional):
Carrara-Augustenborg (2013). Endogenous Feedback Network: Summary and Evaluation, in The development of a comprehensive model of human consciousness, pp. 15.23, Ph.D Thesis, University of Copenhagen, ISBN 978-87-7611-591-3.

Kouider S, de Gardelle V, Sackur J, Dupoux E. (2010). How rich is consciousness? The partial awareness hypothesis, in Trends Cogn Sci.Jul;14(7):301-7.

Scales for rating disorders of consciousness (available in canvas):
Galveston Orientation and Amnesia Test
JFK Coma Recovery Scale-Revised

Field Studies

Planetarium - “making sense of your senses”.

Urban awareness in Copenhagen - what defines Danish culture? 

Guest Lecturers

Marielle Elizabeth Anna Assenholt, Psychologist Specialist in Clinical Neuropsychology, PhD, Somnologist. Theme: "Sleep and Consciousness"

Simon Hünermund, Psychologist at Center for Mental Health and external lecturer at University of Copenhagen. Theme: "Mindfulness and consciousness".

Approach to Teaching

Classes will be composed of various teaching methods, e.g. discussions, teamwork, presentations and exercises. Classes will not take form of long lectures but will rather aim to create an interactive space where students can share ideas and thoughts on how the body relates to the mind.  Classes should offer a safe environment in which all students feel welcome. 

Expectations of the Students

Class attendance is mandatory. During this course engaged participation will be expected and is crucial for achieving a positive learning outcome. Students are encouraged to reflect critically on the various topics and the current knowledge in the field of consciousness. Students should be prepared to provide feedback and/or prepare questions for each other after discussions, workshops and presentations. 

The schedule will list reading materials for each class. It is expected that students are prepared by having read and reflected on the material beforehand. Being prepared ensures a better understanding of the topic and creates a possibility for thorough discussions and for a better process and overall outcome. 





Engaged participation


30 %

Final presentations


15 %

Study tour assignment 

Due June 29th at 12pm latest


35 %

Case day participation


20 %

Class room policies

Late papers will not be accepted.
Use of laptops and phones in class is allowed for taking notes and specific tasks. It is, however, expected that students are mentally present and participate in class activities.

Academic Regulations

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due