How your brain constructs reality

Do we experience the world as it really is? Find out with these talks that explain why we see the world the way we do.

  1. 17:01
    Anil Seth 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.

  2. 21:50
    Donald Hoffman Do we see reality as it is?

    Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is ... or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us.

  3. 6:26
    Tom Wujec 3 ways the brain creates meaning

    Information designer Tom Wujec talks through three areas of the brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, connections. In this short talk from TEDU, he asks: How can we best engage our brains to help us better understand big ideas?

  4. 11:46
    Isaac Lidsky What reality are you creating for yourself?

    Reality isn't something you perceive; it's something you create in your mind. Isaac Lidsky learned this profound lesson firsthand, when unexpected life circumstances yielded valuable insights. In this introspective, personal talk, he challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.

  5. 19:49
    Keith Barry Brain magic

    First, Keith Barry shows us how our brains can fool our bodies — in a trick that works via podcast too. Then he involves the audience in some jaw-dropping (and even a bit dangerous) feats of brain magic.

  6. 19:01
    Michael Shermer The pattern behind self-deception

    Michael Shermer says the human tendency to believe strange things — from alien abductions to dowsing rods — boils down to two of the brain's most basic, hard-wired survival skills. He explains what they are, and how they get us into trouble.

  7. 14:33
    Al Seckel Visual illusions that show how we (mis)think

    Al Seckel, an expert on illusions, explores the perceptual illusions that fool our brains. He shares loads of cool tricks to prove that not only are we easily fooled, we kind of like it.

  8. 7:43
    Vilayanur Ramachandran The neurons that shaped civilization

    Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it.