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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 24, Issue 1, Pages 11-20

How to Assess Ictal Consciousness?

Mirja Johanson,1 Katja Valli,2,3 and Antti Revonsuo2,3

1Neurological Rehabilitation Clinic, Stora Sköndal Foundation, Sköndal, Sweden
2Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Philosophy, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
3School of Humanities and Informatics, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden

Received 23 March 2011; Accepted 23 March 2011

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Despite the complexity and methodological difficulties in defining the concept of consciousness, it is a central concept in epileptology, and should thus be tractable for scientific analysis. In the present article, a two-dimensional model consisting of concepts related to the level and the contents of consciousness will be presented. This model has been found to be well suited for the description of seizure-induced alterations of consciousness, and is supported both by findings from neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies as well as from phenomenological studies. Further, we will review both traditional introspective methods as well as methods that have recently been developed or utilized in epilepsy research, summarize the main findings concerning first person experiences during epileptic seizures acquired with some of these methods, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.