Dr. Karen Shanor



Dr. Karen Shanor passed away on July 27th. She was a very nice person and a brilliant scientist. She was teaching until 2015 in the Department of Psychology, Georgetown University. She served as a White House consultant, as Peace Corps psychologist in northern Somalia, on the Board of Directors for the D.C. Psychological Association, as Chairperson for the D.C. Psychological Association Science and Research Committee, as a member of the Discovery Channel Global Education Advisory Board. I had the fortune to meet her and to discuss with her some aspects of the neuroscience research carried on by Walter Freeman and Karl Pribram. Her experience as psychologist, her research activity and frequentation with Pribram and Freeman, were for me a rich source of knowledge and information. During his last weeks Walter discussed with her a lot of correspondence he had with Henry Stapp and David Presti. Her involvement in neuroscience studies led her to organize the Brain and Consciousness Lecture Series at the Smithsonian, which brought to her book “The Emerging Mind: New Discoveries in Consciousness” (Renaissance Books, February 2001), with contributions by Karl Pribram, Frank Putnam and other leading neuroscientists. She coauthored with Jag Kanwal “Bats Sing, Mice Giggle: The surprising Science of Animals’ Inner Lives” (Icon Books Ltd; UK 2009), also addressing the topic of animals dreaming, a subject familiar to her since when at Stanford she assisted in William Dement’s Sleep Lab research on cats and their dreaming. 

At the Tucson Consciousness Conference in 2016 she, Henry Stapp and Gyorgy Buzsaki were called by Stuart Hameroff to give plenary talks on Walter Freeman, who left us at the end of April 2016, and in 2018, always at the Tucson Consciousness Conference, she wanted to present a joint talk with me on Freeman and Pribram visions, considered by her to be much ahead of the present state of the art in neuroscience studies. She gave a very sharp and rigorous presentation and put also much love and passion in her talk. Listening to her I had the feeling that she was talking not just of those two giants of neuroscience, but of her dense scientific life, too.


by Giuseppe Vitiello