One on one... with Dean Burnett

Neuroscientist, comedian and Guardian blogger

One person who inspired you
Worryingly, Susan Greenfield. I first got into neuroscience after reading one of her books. Given what she gets up to these days, I imagine this is what die-hard Star Wars fans felt like when watching The Phantom Menace.

One favourite joke
Susan Greenfield!

One moment that changed the course of your career

When I lacked media awareness, I was featured in  a newspaper, pictured in a cowboy hat and scarf, splashing in puddles with
an insane grin on my face. ‘Serious academic’ was no longer an option after that.

One journal article that you think all psychologists should read
Any journal article that I’ve managed to get an author’s credit on. I need to stay credible somehow, and they’re both good papers.

One challenge of blogging on psychology
Getting people to appreciate that psychology is a legitimate science, and can be more complex and messy than others at times.

One favourite comedian from a psychological perspective
Matt Price. Cornish comedian, good friend of mine. How he can turn any group of people into an ideal audience is beyond comprehension.

One thing I have noticed about psychology
After thinking long and hard about it, I just don’t think introspection is a useful approach.

One challenge you think psychology faces
The intangible nature of much of what’s covered by the field may mean it always struggles to get deserved recognition.

One regret

That newspaper picture (see above).

One nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists

Just because an article is published, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s correct.

One cultural recommendation
Black Books. No real reason, I just really like it.

One alternative career path you may have chosen

I pretty much do all my desired alternatives as it is.

One hero from psychology past or present
Patient H.M. Gone, but not forgotten (ironically).

One great thing that psychology has achieved
Stopped a lot of people dying, in a number of ways.

One problem that psychology should deal with
People are too easily misled by those with confidence. Sort it out!

One hope for the future of psychology
Some sort of system to rein in pop-psychologists speaking guff for money.

One amusing psychology experiment
I’m always bemused by the Bobo Doll experiment. Social Learning aside, I think Bandura just hated clowns.

One proud moment

Getting my PhD despite my examiner’s best efforts.

One psychological superpower I’d like to have
I’d enjoy being able to spell rude words on my neocortex while in an fMRI scanner.

One final thought
You don’t have to be serious to be smart (I hope).

One resource
My blog ‘Brain Flapping’ at The Guardian (see www.guardian.co.uk/science/brain-flapping). I’m genuinely proud of it, I feel it shows you can keep the humour without losing the science if you combine the two.

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