PSY 4930

Special Topic in Psychology







Proposed Syllabus





Scientific Inquiry into

Contemporary Consciousness Studies



Professor: Dr. Barbara Welsch, Clinical Psychology















Consciousness: An Introduction

XXX pages

By Susan Blackmore, PhD

Note: key chapters will be discussed.

Cost: US$ 39.95



Projectiology: A Panorama of Experiences the Consciousness outside the Human Body

XXX pages

Waldo Vieira, MD

Note: key chapters of the book will be bound and provided to the students as part of the core study material of this course. Authorization for reproduction of the book obtained from the publisher.

Cost: US$ 28.70



Recommended additional reading:

A list of recommended books (annex XX) will be provided to the students. One of those books (of the student’s choice) will be used for review to support the learning process and the accomplishment of assignments.






Weekly 3-hour block

Room that accommodates at least 30 students





Attendance & Participation                                           10%

Assignments*                                                               30%

Exam Component**                                                     30%

Final Essay***                                                 30%


*   Homework assignments composed of open questions exploring a particular sub-topic of consciousness studies and book reviews

** Exam with multiple-choice and open questions about the whole content of the course

*** 2,000-word essay composed of a comprehensive literature review of research reports in this field






Instructor: Dr. Barbara Welsch (Clinical Psychology)                                        






This course provides a comprehensive view of modern conception and methodological discussions on consciousness studies. To fulfill this goal, examination of research studies, existing theories and current debates on this topic will be covered. In addition, the hypothesis that experiences of paranormal or transcendental kind could be contributive to the exploration of consciousness will be evaluated. The course will also address the implications of the advances towards a new science of consciousness into other disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, medicine, biology, sociology, computer science, physics, and spirituality.


Philosophical questions and ramifications of the subject will be considered, including: what is the consciousness?; what is self?; how do subjective experiences arise?; what are the connections between neuroscience and altered states of consciousness and anomalous experiences (e.g. Near-Death Experience)?


“The ‘last great mystery of science,’ consciousness is a topic that was banned from serious research for most of the last century, but is now an area of increasing popular and scientific interest” (Blackmore).






Topics covered by this course:

  • Epistemological issues into a science of consciousness: variety of current paradigms and frameworks
  • Review of current and historical research into consciousness
  • Review of existing methodologies employed to explore consciousness
  • Emerging research and experiments to explore consciousness
  • Evaluation of design and findings existing research into main hypotheses and theories of consciousness studies
  • Validity of employing research into anomalous/paranormal experiences as a tool for consciousness study
  • Findings of survey and experimental research into anomalous experiences and the insight those findings deliver to understanding consciousness
  • Review and comments on the main authors and publications exploring consciousness studies
  • Debate ‘Consciousness: a material feature of the individual or a transcendental attribute of the self?’ 
  • Mind vs. Consciousness vs. Self-awareness
  • Emotion, thoughts, awareness and consciousness
  • Plethora of potential multidisciplinary implications of an ‘updated’ science of consciousness, considering personal, scientific, social levels



Goals of the course:

  • To stimulate constructive debate
  • To challenge students to simultaneously employ a high degree of intellectual neophilia (open-mindedness) and scientific rigor (critique and logic).
  • To encourage consultation of existing literature and expertise on contemporary schools of thought and investigation
  • To facilitate original contributions from students to an infant scientific field, that may develop into a senior or graduate thesis or a journal publication.
  • To exercise scholarly thought, writing, and research (research methodologies, bibliography, abstract, interviews, and academic writing)
  • To lead students to refine and deepen their experience of the scientific spirit, inquiry, method, critique, and responsible scientific speculation.
  • To stimulate discussion on how scientific demarcation criteria applies to and affects consciousness studies






There are no pre- or co-requisites for this course.





General Education: Social & Behavioral Sciences: 3; Humanities: 3

Gordon Rule: 6000 words







Lecture & Discussion Theme

Testing & Assignments Due


The course; the enigma of consciousness; related problems; history



Knowledge; Scientific Method; Ontological and Epistemological issues



Neural Correlates of Consciousness



Altered States of Consciousness and Varieties of Anomalous Experiences

1st Assignment


Neurobiology of Transcendental Experiences



Survey of Anomalous Processes; Princeton Engineering Anomalies Lab



Death & Dying; Hypotheses of Survival & Existential Seriation of Consciousness

Book Review or Paper Review


Near-Death Experience and scientific studies on this topic



Surveys of scientific studies on Meditative State, Vital Energy Practices, and other researched anomalous experiences



Out-of-Body Experience and experimental research conducted on this phenomenon. Discussion on the validity of the experiments and its findings to enlighten about the nature of consciousness



Interdisciplinary Implications of Consciousness Studies



Personal wellbeing and ethical issues.



Philosophical discussions on the role and interaction of mind, self-awareness and consciousness



Final Presentations / Revision and discussion of the draft version of students final Literature Review



Finals Week

Literature Review





* - guest lecturer





Annex 1


Textbook Contents



Consciousness: An Introduction

by Susan Blackmore


Brief Description:

XX pages with general discussions on the nature of consciousness, its origins, and functions. Blackmore is a researcher into consciousness for the past XXX years and is affiliated with XXX.



Sections and chapters will be selected from those below:








Projectiology: A Panorama of Experiences the Consciousness outside the Human Body

by Waldo Vieira


Brief description:

Projectiology is an authoritative, technical and scholarly volume. It provides valuable discussion into a new methodology for consciousness research and delivers definitive information founded on scientific research about altered states of consciousness, paranormal phenomena and anomalous experiences.


Sections and chapters to be studied in this course:


Section I: Scientific Foundations of the Science of Consciousness (Conscientiology)

Chapter 1 – Essential concepts of science

Chapter 2 – A new paradigm for consciousness (consciential paradigm)

Chapter 7 – Sciences

Chapter 8 – History of the study of manifestation beyond the physical body (Projectiology)

Chapter 9 - Periods of Projectiology

Chapter 14 – Laboratorial Period of Projectiology

Chapter 16 – Chronology of Projectiology


Section II: Relationship between Projectiology and other sciences

Chapter  17. Projectiology and Interdisciplinarity

Chapter 18. Projectiology and Other Sciences

Chapter 19. Projectiology and Parapsychology

Chapter 20. Projectiology and Psychology

Chapter 22. Projectiology and Medicine

Chapter 23. Projectiology and Anthropology

Chapter 24. Projectiology and Sociology

Chapter 28. Division of Projectiology

Chapter 29. Lucid Projection and the Human Consciousness

Chapter 30. Human Lucid Projection


Section III: Phenomena of Projectiology

Chapter 37. Classification of Projective Phenomena

Chapter 38. Subjective Projective Phenomena

 Chapter 44. Projective Catalepsy

Chapter 46. Cosmoconsciousness

Chapter 48. Near-Death Experience (NDE)

Chapter 56. Ambifaceted Projective Phenomena

Chapter 60. Traveling Clairvoyance

Chapter 64. Semimaterialization

Chapter 65. State of Suspended Animation


Section IV: Altered States of Consciousness

Chapter 85. Xenophrenia

Chapter 86. Classification of Xenophrenic States

Chapter 93. Lucid Projection and Dreams

Chapter 95. Comparisons between Dreams and Lucid Projections

Chapter 101. Comparisons between Hallucination and Lucid Projection


Section V: Vehicles of Manifestation of The Consciousness

Chapter 102. Ego

Chapter 103. Types of Holosomatic Vehicles


Section VI – Philosophical Perspectives

Chapter 157. Projectiology and Philosophy

Chapter 159. Theory of the Leading-Edge Relative Truths of Projectiology

Chapter 160. Theory of the Leading-Edge Relative Truths of Extraphysical Conscientiology

Chapter 161. Cosmoethics

Chapter 162. Extraphysical Code of Ethics

Chapter 163. Lucid Projection and Materialism


VII – Pre-Projection Physical Waking State

Chapter 175. Chronological Analysis of Lucid Projection

Chapter 176. Stages of Lucid Projection


IX – Exteriorization of the Consciousness Stage

Chapter 245. Hypnagogy

Chapter 246. Transitional State


X – Extraphysical Period of the Consciousness

Chapter 262. Extraphysical Self-Awareness

Chapter 263. Scale of Lucidity of the Projected Consciousness


XIII – Post-Projection Physical Waking State

Chapter 385. The Physical Mind

Chapter 406. Confirmations after Lucid Consciential Projections


XIV – The Projector and Projections

Chapter 409. Types of Projectors

Chapter 415. Animism

Chapter 416. Parapsychism

Chapter 421. Basic Categories of Lucid Projection 


XVI – Scientific Perspectives

Chapter 495. Laboratory Experiments with Lucid Projection

Chapter 497. Brain Wave Patterns

Chapter 504. Individual Experiments with Lucid Projection

Chapter 506. Cases of Lucid Projection

Chapter 508. Experimental Projects

Chapter 509. General Hypotheses in Projectiology

Chapter 510. Hypothesis of the Imaginary Body

Chapter 511. Hypothesis of the Objective Body

Chapter 512. Lucid Projection and the Unconscious

Chapter 513. Psychological Theory

Chapter 514. Information Theory

Chapter 515. Theory of Rehearsal of Biological Death

Chapter 516. Working Hypotheses


From the publisher:

This work is one of the bibliographical references to the "Dicionário Houaiss da Lingua Portuguesa." In this 1st English edition (4th in Portuguese) its specialized bibliography reaches up to 1,907 works. This book has 1,232 pages that bring to life innovative subjects in its 525 chapters. Subjects include:

·        the scientific foundations of conscientiology

·        the phenomena, applications and benefits associated with projections

·        altered states of consciousness

·        cosmoethics and universalism

·        a variety of 40 paranormal phenomena

·        the vehicles of manifestation of the consciousness

·        types of conscious projections

·        the stages of the projective experience

·        techniques to provoke lucid projections

·        the departure of the consciousness form the physical body
 the extraphysical period

·        relationships of the projected consciousness

·        characteristics of non-physical beings

·        return of the consciousness to the physical body

·        the post-projective waking state

·        types of projections

·        experiences outside of the body

·        the conscious use of bio-energies (personal vital energy)