There have been many studies and articles like these lately:
This (imo) is why every good scientist should take the time to read and understand a little bit of philosophy.
May I suggest Chalmers, Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness
Semantically, as described by Chalmers in this paper, it is helpful to understand that there are many connotations, or types, of consciousness. First and foremost, there is phenomenological (a.k.a. "hard problem") consciousness. This is the one we all have a front row seat to, but have not been able to describe in a non-subjective way.
There are other types of consciousness as well. These are what Chalmers refers to as the "easy problem" forms of consciousness. These are the ones that often trip us up when talking about consciousness. Chalmers lists some examples of these:
- the ability to discriminate, categorize, and react to environmental stimuli;
- the integration of information by a cognitive system;
- the reportability of mental states;
- the ability of a system to access its own internal states;
- the focus of attention;
- the deliberate control of behavior;
- the difference between wakefulness and sleep.
Reading philosophy doesn't make one any less of a scientist. After all, science is —itself— a philosophy.