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Michel Jouvet

The Sleep, Consciousness and Wakefulness

Michel Jouvet is internationally recognised in the neurosciences as the discoverer of ‘paradoxical sleep’. He is the author of many highly successful works, including Le Château des songes, Le Sommeil et le Rêve and De la science et des rêves, published by Editions Odile Jacob.

Wakefulness is a form of behaviour. We know that someone is awake and conscious if they are doing something (for example, walking or reading) that requires being in a state of wakefulness, or if they are able to respond correctly to a request.
But if they are in a coma or paralysed, how can we be objectively sure that they are conscious?
And what about the rest of us? Aren’t we sometimes subjectively sure that we are awake, when we are in fact dreaming?

A review of everything we know about consciousness and wakefulness, from Hippocrates to the most recent findings, by an internationally recognised specialist on sleeping and dreaming states.