Why do groups of people inflict violence on unarmed neighbors? (Germany, Rwanda, Darfur, Nanking....). Here's the neuroscience point of view.

In the wake of the Aurora movie theater shooting, many people had the same questions: What kind of derangement is indicated by the horrific acts of James Holmes? What is wrong with his brain? How will his mental state play out in the courts?

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.

Interested in the intersection of the brain and the legal system? Watch a talk I delivered at the Royal Society for the Arts in London, entitled "The Brain and the Law".

To liberalise or prohibit?  I recently joined Eliot Spitzer, Julian Assange, Vicente Fox, Russell Brand, Richard Branson and several others for an online debate.

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.

From the Blog

  • 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.

  • Six Easy Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization
    Six Easy Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization

    Watch a talk I gave at the Long Now Foundation about my hopes that the advent of the internet will mitigate threats that brought down previous civilizations.

  • 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…

  • James Holmes’ Brain: Some Initial Speculations
    James Holmes’ Brain: Some Initial Speculations

    In the wake of the Aurora movie theater shooting, many people had the same questions: What kind of derangement is indicated by the horrific acts of James Holmes? What is wrong with his brain? How will his mental state play out in the courts?

Newsflashes

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.

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.

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