How is it that the brain - a three-pound mass of mostly fat and protein - can generate conscious experience? It's a question that has puzzled philosophers for centuries. With recent advances in mathematics, computer science, and neuroscience, the endeavor to understand the neural underpinning of consciousness has finally moved to the domain of empirical research. As part of that endeavor, I utilize insights from graph theory and information theory to better understand what the brain is doing when it's conscious, and what changes when it's not. 

Before coming to Berkeley, I graduated magna cum laude in philosophy and neuroscience at Princeton University, where my work on consciousness and time perception won the George A. Miller Prize in Cognitive Science, the John Martyn Warbeke 1903 Prize in Metaphysics & Epistemology, the Tomb Prize for a thesis on the philosophy of time, and the Sandra & Jeremiah Lambert ’55 Award for Undergraduate Neuroscience.

I also care deeply about science communication. I write for the Berkeley Science Review and maintain a websiteTwitter account, and Instagram account devoted to communicating science. 

I am a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. 


Toker, D, Sommer, F. Greater Than The Sum: Integrated Information In Large Brain Networks. arXiv. 2017.

Lositsky, O., Chen, J., Toker, D., Honey, C.J., Shvartsman, M., Poppenk, J.L., Hasson, U. and Norman, K.A., 2016. Neural pattern change during encoding of a narrative predicts retrospective duration estimates. Elife5, p.e16070.

Toker D, Sommer F. Moving Past the Minimum Information Partition: How To Quickly and Accurately Calculate Integrated Information. arXiv preprint arXiv:1605.01096. 2016 May 3.

Bishop SJ, Aguirre GK, Nunez-Elizalde AO, Toker D. Seeing the world through non rose-colored glasses: anxiety and the amygdala response to blended expressions. Frontiers in human neuroscience. 2015;9.