Category Archives: News

Oliver Sacks: “now I am face to face with dying”

In a moving and defiant article for the The New York Times, neurologist Oliver Sacks has announced he has terminal cancer. Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its […]

A refocus of military influence

The British media has been covering the creation of 77th Brigade, or ‘Chindits’ in the UK Army which they’ve wrongly described as PsyOps ‘Twitter troops’. The renaming is new but the plan for a significant restructuring and expansion of the UK military’s influence operations is not. The change in focus has been prompted by a […]

Hard Problem defeats legendary playwright

I’ve written a review of legendary playwright Tom Stoppard’s new play The Hard Problem at the National Theatre, where he tackles neuroscience and consciousness – or at least thinks he does. The review is in The Psychologist and covers the themes running through Stoppard’s new work and how they combine with the subtly misfiring conceptualisation […]

From the machine

A new film, Ex Machina, is released in the UK tomorrow and it is quite possibly one of the best sci-fi films of recent times and probably the best film about consciousness and artificial intelligence ever made. The movie revolves around startup geek turned tech corp billionaire Nathan who has created the artificially conscious android […]

pwned by a self-learning AI

Backchannel has a fascinating profile of DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis which although an interesting read in itself, has a link to a brief, barely mentioned study which may herald a quiet revolution in artificial intelligence. The paper (available online as a pdf) is entitled “Playing Atari with Deep Reinforcement Learning” and describes an AI system […]

Excellent NPR Invisibilia finally hits the wires

A sublime new radio show on mind, brain and behaviour has launched today. It’s called Invisibilia and is both profound and brilliant. It’s produced by ex-Radiolab alumni Lulu Miller and radio journalist Alix Spiegel – responsible for some of the best mind and brain material on the radio in the last decade. The first episode […]

Snake oil salesmen selling torture

The US Government has just released its report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, aptly branded the “torture report”, which is available online as a pdf. It makes for appalling reading but sheds light on the role of two psychologists in the creation and running of what turned out to be genuinely counter-productive ‘enhanced […]

3652 days

Mind Hacks is exactly 10 years old today. Here’s the first post where Matt announced that the book had started shipping. This is the 4950th post and Mind Hacks has been going for 3652 days which means we’ve published an average of 1.4 posts a day, every day, for the last 10 years. Apart from […]

Vogue magazine continues neglect of cognitive science

Mind Hacks has been awarded the 2014 British Psychological Society’s Public Engagement and Media Award for its services to obsessive coverage of psychology and neuroscience. I think I can speak for both Tom and I when I say we were actually aiming for recognition by Vogue magazine but it’s better than a poke in the […]

Beautiful online neuroscience learning

The Fundamentals of Neuroscience is a free online course from Harvard and it looks wonderful – thanks to them employing animators, digital artists and scientists to lift the course above the usual read and repeat learning. The course is already underway but you can register and start learning until mid-December and you can watch any […]

Mind Hacks – Live!

At the end of November, we’ll be celebrating 10 years of Mind Hacks, and we’re putting on a live event in London to celebrate. You are cordially invited. Mind Hacks – Live! will be like the blog, but live, and with less scrolling. Some of the details are still under construction, but here’s what we […]

Talk, 28 Oct 2014: The power of reason

I am giving a talk on 28th October at Off the Shelf, Sheffield’s festival of words. Here is the blurb: Is it true that “you can’t tell anybody anything”? From pub arguments to ideology-driven party political disputes it can sometimes people have their minds all made up, that there’s no point trying to persuade anybody […]

Psychoactive plants in season at Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, or London’s Kew Gardens if you’re not from the 1800s, has a fantastic season of events on the science of psychoactive plants that starts on 20th September. It covers everything from coffee to opium to magic mushrooms and discuss the pharmacology, public policy and ethnobotany of intoxicating plants. There […]

Round trip ticket to the science of psychedelics

The latest edition of The Psychologist is a special open-access issue on the science and social impact of hallucinogenic drugs. There’s an article by me on culture and hallucinogens that discusses the role of hallucinogenic drugs in diverse cultures and which also covers how cultural expectations shape the hallucinogenic experience – from traditional Kitanemuk society […]

One death too many

One of the first things I do in the morning is check the front pages of the daily papers and on the day following Robin Williams’ death, rarely have I been so disappointed in the British press. Over the years, we have gathered a lot of evidence from reliable studies that show that how suicide […]

Hallucinating in the deep waters of consciousness

On Saturday I curated a series of short films about other inner worlds, altered states and the extremes of mental health at London’s Shuffle Festival. I discovered one of the films literally a couple of days before the event, and it completely blew me away. Narcose is a French documentary about a dive by world […]


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