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. 

  • Time to End the War on Drugs?
    Time to End the War on Drugs?

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

  • 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.  

  • 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 #2 book in UK

In September, 2009, Sum became the number 2 book in the United Kingdom on Amazon's bestseller list, only behind Dan Brown's Lost Symbol.

Book of the Week

Sum was selected as Book of the Week by both The Guardian newspaper and The Week newsmagazine.

Sum named Book of the Year by New Scientist

Sum was the only book of fiction in New Scientist magazine's selection of Best Books of 2009.

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