To the extent that consciousness is useful, it is useful in small quantities, and for very particular kinds of tasks. It's easy to understand why you would not want to be consciously aware of the intricacies of your muscle movement, but this can be less intuitive when applied to your perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs, which are also final products of the activity of billions of nerve cells.

From the Blog

  • Discovering amulets inside the mummy
    Discovering amulets inside the mummy

    I recently posted about my scanning of a 3,000 year old mummy, Neskhons. Now, by analyzing the data in several different ranges of electron density, I've found something unexpected: inside the mummy's torso are 4 small funerary amulets.

  • Eagleman and Eno perform Sum
    Eagleman and Eno perform Sum

    Brian Eno and I have twice performed a musical version of Sum, once at the Sydney Opera House, and once at the Brighton Dome. Learn more.

  • British musician Jarvis Cocker reads from Sum
    British musician Jarvis Cocker reads from Sum

    Hear British rocker Jarvis Cocker read the short story "Descent of Species" from Sum.

  • A note about head shape in mummies
    A note about head shape in mummies

    A few months ago I scanned a 3,000 mummy. What can (and can't) be concluded based on his perspicuously elongated skull shape, known as dolicocephy (elongated head)?  

Newsflashes

Sum on Radiolab

Listen to David discussing Sum -- and actor Jeffrey Tambor reading stories from the book -- on WNYC's Radiolab.

Synesthesia book wins the Montaigne Medal

Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia has been awarded the Montaigne Medal, Eric Hoffer Award for Books.
synesthesia

Book of the Week

Sum was selected as Book of the Week by both The Guardian newspaper and The Week newsmagazine.

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