Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality

Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience — and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we’re all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it “reality.” Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.


This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

Anil Seth · Cognitive neuroscientist

How can the “inner universe” of consciousness be explained in terms of mere biology and physics? Anil Seth explores the brain basis of consciousness and self.

Participate in cognitive science research
Interested in helping consciousness science reach further? The Sackler Centre is running a series of online studies which you can do in just minutes at home. Every new volunteer adds valuable data to help shape our understanding of the biology of consciousness. The list of studies will be continually updated.
Support the Rap Guide to Consciousness
For the past year I’ve been thrilled to work with “peer reviewed” rap artist Baba Brinkman on the Rap Guide to Consciousness. Baba is well known for his previous “rap guides” to, for example, evolution and climate change, and first performances of the Rap Guide to Consciousness were extremely well received at the 2017 Brighton Fringe. Help support the production with a donation (and do mention that you saw this TED talk, if you give.)
Donate to Brighton and Hove Impetus
My work has led me to recognize the dramatic costs, to the individual and to society, of mental health problems and societal challenges like social isolation. No one charity or research organization can sort all this out — it takes a village. There is a local charity in Brighton, where I live, called Brighton and Hove Impetus. They do fantastic work by connecting people to reduce isolation and improve wellbeing, providing over 12,000 hours of volunteer support to isolated people every year, but need is growing. You can make a real difference by helping them with a donation (again, please mention TED.)
Follow Anil Seth on Twitter
Visit Anil Seth’s website
Personal page of neuroscientist and public science communicator Anil Seth.
TED2017 | April 2017

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