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The ‘hard problem’ of consciousness is the Holy Grail of modern neuroscience. How do physiological brain processes become subjective experiences? My approach to the problem revolves around a shift of focus from the complex experiences of human beings to much simpler forms which we share with all vertebrates. This requires a shift away from the cerebral cortex, the traditional ‘seat’ of consciousness, to the evolutionarily ancient brainstem. Professor Mark Solms is best known for his discovery of the forebrain mechanisms of dreaming, and his pioneering integration of psychoanalysis and neuroscience.