consciousness

A few years ago I was shopping in Sainsbury’s, and as I bagged up the groceries, the rather cheerful check-out assistant asked what I did for a living. After my ten second tutorial on cognitive neuroscience, he replied, 'Ah yes – I saw all about this on TV – the guy who uses...

What has surprised you most about your journeys into the grey zone?
Working with people in the grey zone – and by that, I mean patients who hover at the border between life and death – I’ve been surprised by many things over the years, but perhaps most...

Are capuchin monkeys spiteful? Might elephants grieve? Do fish fake orgasms? Have we the slightest idea how an octopus thinks? (If it’s a baby, maybe an inkling?) Just some of the topics on the table in the Reading Room at London’s Wellcome Collection, for a live and lively...

Westworld is a science fiction series about a theme park in the future which has perfected synthetic humans (‘hosts’) who provide the pleasure and excitement for biological humans (‘guests’). People pay to immerse themselves in the ultimate fantasy game set somewhere in a...

This exhibition promises to examine ‘the universal, yet mysterious, topic of conscious experience’ – and indeed this first instalment of a changing programme does so, and makes for a fascinating visit.

Beginning with a section on Science and Soul, we find fragile early...

This week sees the opening of the second part of a year-long exploration into human consciousness at the Wellcome Collection, on Euston Road in London. ‘States of Mind: Tracing the Edges of Consciousness’ promises to examine ‘the universal, yet mysterious, topic of conscious...

Those film-goers that are enthusiastic about robots should probably buy popcorn in bulk, because we’ll all be making several trips to the cinema this year. We’ve already had Ex_Machina and Big Hero 6. We have Avengers: Age of Ultron and ...

In the first scene of Tom Stoppard’s new play The Hard Problem, the charming but arrogant neuroscientist is arguing with Hilary, a psychology student about evolutionary biology. 'Altruism is always self-interest,' says Spike, 'it just needs a little working out'. In...

There are many Big Ideas that place a heavy emphasis on shifting the responsibility of control away from the conscious individual to our unconscious selves. These include:

I    Thinking hard is bad; Thinking intuitively is good.
I    Unconscious thinking is bad;...