Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Mind = Blown: 10 TED talks on Identity, Consciousness and Perception

A few months have passed since I last blogged about the TED and TEDx talks that I've been watching for a goal (062. Watch 100 TED/TEDx talks).
Nevertheless, I've still been watching them! In fact, since November, I've doubled the number of talks I'd watched in the past three years!

This post covers a number of mind-blowing talks, on the subject of identity, consciousness, and perception

Electrical experiments with plants that count and communicate | Greg Gage
A talk by neuroscientist Greg Gage, who uses scientific equipment to hook up a venus fly trap and a mimosa plant, to demonstrate how - through electrical signals - these plants count and transmit information. Interesting, but also fun!

Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality | Anil Seth
Another talk by another neuroscientist! Anil Seth explains how we are all 'hallucinating' our conscious experience, and that when we all agree on the hallucination, it's called 'reality'. Sounds bizarre and is a little mind-boggling, but in a way makes a crazy amount of sense.

The surprising habits of original thinkers | Adam Grant
Organisational psychologist Adam Grant talks about "originals" - people who come up with and take action on new ideas - and their main habits--including failure.

Who am I? Think again | Hetain Patel
Okay, so I could have sworn I'd already blogged about this talk, but it's not on my list so here it is (and if I have blogged about it somewhere, here it is again).
This is an entertaining and fascinating talk by artist Hetain Patel, who challenges us to think harder about identity, to consider things deeper than appearance.

The quest to understand consciousness | Antonio Damasio
More neuroscience! Antonio Damasio talks about consciousness, and questions what it is we regain when we wake up, to highlight how our brains give us a sense of self.

Annie Murphy Paul: What we learn before we're born
A fascinating talk by science writer Annie Murphy Paul, who discusses when learning begins--the answer being before birth. In this talk, she explains things that we learn whilst still in the womb, such as the tone of our native language, the sound of our mother's voice, and even favourite food.

Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?
Psychologist Alison Gopnik discusses her research into what babies (and young children) think, and the decision-making and intelligence-gathering they do when they play.

Simon Lewis: Don't take consciousness for granted
A talk by Simon Lewis, who, following a catastrophic car accident, recovered physically and mentally against all odds. In this talk he describes threats to consciousness and how to overcome them, and explains some fascinating technology to boot!

Different ways of knowing | Daniel Tammet
Synaesthete and author Daniel Tammet talks about how his synaesthesia transforms his perception of words, numbers and colours, creating an entirely different way of seeing the world to what we're used to. This is a seriously fascinating talk, and definitely highlights some of the incredible things the human brain is capable of--especially when it's a bit 'different' to what we as a society perceive as 'normal'.

You can grow more brain cells. Here's how | Sandrine Thuret
Even more neuroscience! Yay! Sandrine Thuret explains how as adults, we can grow more brain cells, in a talk that covers both research into the subject and practical advice on how to improve our brain's neurogenesis, for better moods, better memory, and slowing age-related degeneration. Really interesting!

Right, that's it for this post! These ten talks bring my total up to 40!
These are some hugely interesting talks, and after watching some random talks that appeared more light-hearted, I fell straight back into watching more along the lines of psychology and identity. But those are to be posted another time!

See these and other TED talks I've watched on my TED tag


  1. These talks are interesting! Thank you for sharing.
    It's always so fascinating hearing about the various ideas & technology people have come up with and seeing how differently multiple people can approach and interpret similar themes/topics.
    I often listen to podcasts that also have similar themes. One in particular comes to mind but they cover other topics as well that you might not care about/find engaging, so I won't link it here.

    1. You could link it if you wanted to! ^^
      If you watch any of the talks, I hope you find some that give you the same 'WOOOOOOW' moment that some of them gave me!

    2. I watched them before commenting - would be a bit pointless if I hadn't! Not sure if it was the same people they mentioned (can't remember now) but the ideas in the plant one, hallucination/reality one, the consciousness one, and the 'what do babies think' one have been covered in a podcast called Mysterious Universe. They cover everything from mythological creatures to aliens to neuroscience technology to the afterlife and the nature of reality consciousness. (They also have ridiculous stuff like bigfoot and sex cults on it, so it's a surprise mix every week lol). It gives you the overview of topics so you can research then yourself if you want to (or not) though, which is useful. :) It's not the only one, it's just the one with a really broad topic range, made by open-minded but still skeptical people (in a good way). *enough babble*