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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Scanning a 3,000 year old mummy
    Scanning a 3,000 year old mummy

    I recently performed a CT scan on Neskhons, an Egyptian mummy who I brought to our scanning facilities at Baylor College of Medicine.  

  • 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 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.

The secret life of the lab

Want to know more about the inner workings of a neuroscience lab? Watch a video profile of David and his students on NOVA Science Now.
Nova Science Now

6 Ways the Internet Will Save Civilization

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

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