The science of de- and re-humanization

Why do groups of people inflict violence on unarmed neighbors (think Germany, Rwanda, Darfur, Nanking....)? How do ingroups and outgroups form, neurally-speaking?  How does social context and obedience to authority navigate mass behavior?  

Here's my take on these questions, through the lens of neuroscience.

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From the Blog

  • The Mystery of Expertise
    The Mystery of Expertise

    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…

  • Breivik's Brain
    Breivik's Brain

    What could explain Anders Breivik's shooting attack in Oslo, Norway? While this is debated from the angles of politics, religion, and sociology, I want to ask this from the viewpoint of neurobiology.

  • Discussing dreaming with Henry Rollins
    Discussing dreaming with Henry Rollins

    I recently spent an evening speaking at the Rubin Museum in NYC with punk rock legend, writer, and spoken word artist Henry Rollins.  We discussed the origin, meaning, neuroscience, and bizarreness of dreams. 

  • 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.

Newsflashes

Guggenheim Fellowship

David has been named a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. He will use the fellowship opportunity to pursue the genetics and neuroimaging of synesthesia.

SUM at the Royal Opera House

ROHSUM has been turned into an opera at the Royal Opera House in London (Composer: Max Richter, Director: Wayne McGregor). The London Evening Standard hails the opera as "immersive, meditative and sweetly fascinating". Read about the background of the collaboration in Wired.

How the Internet will save civilization

David's iPad app "Why the Net Matters, or Six Ways to Avert the Collapse of Civilization" was recently called a "superbook" by the New York Times Magazine. For a taste of the argument, read David's article in WIRED or watch a video of his talk at the Long Now Foundation. Don't have an iPad? The manuscript is now available as an eBook.

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