Professor Max Velmans

Staff details

Position Emeritus Professor
Department Psychology
Email m.velmans (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7870
Professor Max Velmans


Max is Emeritus Professor (BSc PhD CPsychol FBPsS FAcSS) of Psychology at Goldsmiths, currently focusing on Consciousness Studies, to which he has made extensive contributions through teaching, administration, and research. He has been a Fulbright Scholar at UC Berkeley (1984), a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Westminster and Plymouth, and National Visiting Professor for 2010-2011 of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, Government of India. His main book Understanding Consciousness was short listed for the BPS book prize in 2001 and 2002 and he has over 130 publications in this area (over 100 on-line at Research Gate and See [link] for details.

Grants and Awards

Max has received grants to support his earlier research on deafness rehabilitation from The National Research and Development Corporation, the Department of Health and Social Security, the Medical Research Council, the British Technology Group, and his later research on consciousness from ESRC, the Fetzer Institute (USA), the Templeton Foundation (USA), and the Hari Prasad Shastri Charitable Trust.

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Max has given over 150 invited papers nationally and internationally, around 120 of which have been keynote addresses or plenary papers at conferences, workshops or symposia on consciousness, some of which have been open to the public, as well given invited papers in many overseas departments and institutions.

His earlier hearing aid research was exhibited at the Royal Society, UC Berkeley, and at exhibitions sponsored by RNID, The Institute of Laryngology and Otology, and the National Society for Deaf Children. Documentaries of this research have also been made by the Central Office of Information (for overseas distribution), BBC1, programmes on Radio 2, BBC World Service, and reports in the press. His work on Consciousness has also been featured in discussions and/or radio interviews, including BBC4 and World Service, along with various YouTube films, Wikipedia, and reports on many sites on the World Wide Web.

In 1997 Max co-founded the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section of the BPS and has organised or helped to organise many conferences, workshops and symposia on consciousness, including international ones sponsored by the CIBA foundation (London), the Fetzer Institute (USA) and the Templeton Foundation (USA). From 2006 onwards he also founded Totnes Consciousness Café with visiting speakers at monthly meetings in Totnes, where he now lives.

He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, The Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research and Practice (American Psychological Association), Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, NeuroPsychoanalysis, and Journal of Parapsychology.


Research Interests

Max's work introduces and develops reflexive monism, a novel resolution of the “hard problems” of consciousness that provides a framework for a non-reductionist science of consciousness.

  • consciousness
  • mind/body interactions
  • philosophy of psychology
  • integrating philosophy, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology and mind/body interactions in clinical practice.
  • the relation of brain to experience
  • conscious versus unconscious processing
  • the nature of subjectivity, intersubjectivity and objectivity
  • how to avoid both dualism and reductionism
  • the problems of free will

For a review and discussion of some of my published research go to My Selected Publications



Towards a Deeper Understanding of Consciousness: Selected works of Max Velmans
Velmans, Max. 2017. Towards a Deeper Understanding of Consciousness: Selected works of Max Velmans. Andover, Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138699441

Understanding Consciousness: Second Edition
Velmans, Max. 2009. Understanding Consciousness: Second Edition. Hove, East Sussex: Routledge. ISBN 9780415425162


What makes a conscious process conscious?
Velmans, Max. 2014. What makes a conscious process conscious? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(1), pp. 43-44. ISSN 0140-525X