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.

Why you should listen

In his groundbreaking research, Anil Seth seeks to understand consciousness in health and in disease. As founding co-director of the University of Sussex’s Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, his research bridges neuroscience, mathematics, artificial intelligence, computer science, psychology, philosophy and psychiatry. He has also worked extensively with playwrights, dancers and other artists to shape a truly humanistic view of consciousness and self.

Seth is the editor and co-author of the best-selling 30-Second Brain, a collection of brief and engaging neuroscience vignettes. His forthcoming book The Presence Chamber develops his unique theories of conscious selfhood within the rich historical context of the mind and brain sciences.

Hear more about Seth's work and interests on The TED Interview and TED Radio Hour.

Follow Seth on Twitter at @anilkseth, and visit his website at and The Sackler Centre, at the University of Sussex, is at Seth's work is supported by the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.

What others say

“The idea of where ‘we’ exist, how we develop that sense of self and how it can be explained in terms of the activity of brain cells, all of that is still largely the domain of philosophers rather than scientists. Anil Seth (...) wants to turn that around.” — Guardian, May 9, 2010

Anil Seth’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Anil Seth

Live from TED2017

Mind and meaning: The talks of Session 5 of TED2017

April 26, 2017

How can we better understand the world within and around us? In the thought-provoking fifth session of TED2017, hosted by TED’s Editorial Director, Helen Walters, talks about neuroscience, philosophy, cognitive science — and a special experiment in behavioral science — explored issues like filter bubbles, Alzheimer’s and the very essence of existence. Below, recaps of […]

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Live from TED2017

How does consciousness happen? Anil Seth speaks at TED2017

April 26, 2017

A year ago, for the third time in his life, cognitive scientist Anil Seth ceased to exist. He was having an operation, his brain filling with anesthetic, and he was feeling a sense of detachment, falling apart and coldness. And then he was back — drowsy and disoriented, but definitely there. “Anaesthesia is a modern […]

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