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

  • 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.

  • BrainCheck
    BrainCheck

    How can you rapidly detect whether someone has a concussion? I've just launched a new company, BrainCheck, that uses tablets and neuroscience to find out.  

  • Silicon Immortality: Downloading Consciousness into Computers
    Silicon Immortality: Downloading Consciousness into Computers

    Well before we understand how brains work, we may find ourselves able to digitally copy the brain's structure and able to download the conscious mind into a computer. What are the possibilities and challenges?

  • Will Self
    Will Self

    The author Will Self and I appeared on stage together to discuss life, death, and what makes good writing.

Newsflashes

Sum on Radiolab

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

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 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.

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