Fri, 7 May 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT


How To Know Thyself – The Neuroscience of Self Awareness

Stephen Fleming in Conversation with David Malone

Self-awareness is a human superpower. Understanding the new science of metacognition will us to make better decisions, become better learners, and even less likely to misplace the car keys.

How can we do something as difficult as driving without thinking about it? And how is it possible to know you’ve forgotten something?

Underlying these experiences is a complex process called metacognition – the ability to think about what we and others do or don’t think and know. It is the trait that sets us apart from other animals and even the most powerful AIs, and is the root of our greatest mental abilities.

Director of the Metacognition Group at UCL and one of the world’s leading experts on this thrilling new science, Stephen Fleming joins us to shed light on how to be a self-aware human in our modern world.

Drawing on his own pioneering studies as well as exciting new insights from computer science, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Fleming will explore why we so often think we’re amazing at tasks that we’re terrible at; what role computers and AI should play in our lives; and how we can harness the science of metacognition to think more clearly, make better decisions, and optimize learning inside and outside of the classroom. The science also has far-reaching implications for the use of eyewitness accounts in courtrooms, combating misinformation, and our understanding of what it means to be human in the age of intelligent machines.

Fans of Daniel Kahneman, Malcolm Gladwell, and BJ Fogg ought not to miss this accessible introduction a ground-breaking and vital new scientific field.

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Stephen Fleming


Stephen Fleming is the director of the Metacognition Lab and a Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, University College London. His science writing has been featured in the Guardian, New York Times, Scientific American, Aeon, and Psychology Today. He lives in London.

David Malone

Award-winning Science Filmmaker

David Malone is a filmmaker and TV presenter whose documentaries include Testing God, Soul Searching (both Channel 4), Dangerous Knowledge and The Secret Life of Waves (both BBC). He is the author of The Debt Generation.