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 I am a Possibilian
    Why I am a Possibilian

    Our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism, and yet we know too much to commit to a particular religion. A third position, agnosticism, is often an uninteresting stance in which a person simply questions whether his traditional religious story is true or not true. I call myself a possibilian. Find out why.

  • 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.

  • The Brain and the Law
    The Brain and the Law

    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".

  • Emily Blunt reads "The Cast" from Sum
    Emily Blunt reads "The Cast" from Sum

     Hear actress Emily Blunt read the story "The Cast" from Sum.

Newsflashes

Why the Net Matters on BBC Today

Listen to an interview on BBC's Today Programme regarding the new iPad book Why the Net Matters.

Science Educator Award

David has won the Science Educator Award from the Society of Neuroscience.

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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