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

  • After Sandy Hook: Why mental illness matters
    After Sandy Hook: Why mental illness matters

    The shootings at Sandy Hook sparked debate ranging from gun control to bulletproof windows. But the most fruitful approach may be to prioritize our discussion of mental illness.

  • CNN's Next List - video profile
    CNN's Next List - video profile

    I was recently named a CNN Next List Fellow. Watch two clips from the show.

  • 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.

  • Perception on TNT
    Perception on TNT

    I am the scientific advisor for the TNT television drama, Perception, starring Eric McCormack and Rachael Leigh Cook. Learn more about the show.

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.

6 Ways the Internet Will Save Civilization

Read David's new article in Wired magazine: "Apocalyse? No. Six Ways the Internet Will Save Civilization"

Sum on Radiolab

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

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