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

  • Why public dissemination of science matters
    Why public dissemination of science matters

    Communicating science to the public can take time away from a busy research career. So why should scientists do it? I offer a manifesto of six reasons in the Journal of Neuroscience. 

  • Philip Pullman
    Philip Pullman

    I've had the good fortune to collaborate on stage a couple of times with author Philip Pullman.

  • Profile in The New Yorker
    Profile in The New Yorker

    I had the pleasure of being profiled by my favorite magazine, The New Yorker.  Read the article here.

  • The Neuroscience of Engagement
    The Neuroscience of Engagement

    Why don't we do what we know we should?  Here's a talk I gave at Stanford Medical School telling why, and what to do about it.

Newsflashes

SUM is Book of the Year: Chicago Tribune

SUM was chosen as the best book of 2009 by Chicago Tribune's Pulitzer-winning literary critic Julia Keller.

Neurolaw: The Brain on Trial

Want to know how neuroscience will force major changes in our criminal justice system? Read David's article The Brain on Trial in The Atlantic. Now anthologized in 2012 Best American Science and Nature Writing.
atlantic072011

Musician Jarvis Cocker reads from Sum

Listen to British rocker Jarvis Cocker read the story "Descent of Species" from Sum. He is one of the dozens of terrific voices who read for the audio book.

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