• The dress and the rabbit

    Alan Stevenson     |      April 25, 2024

    Optical illusions and ambiguous pictures are more than parlour puzzles but can open our eyes to the scientific study of human perception and the role our brains play in shaping what we think we see.

  • Self determination – or delusion?

    Alan Stevenson     |      April 2, 2024

    The debate over whether humans have free will is a long-standing and complex issue in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. Do we really have free will – and therefore moral responsibility for our actions – or are our choices shaped our genetic makeup and social influences in ways that put them out of our control?

  • Scepticism v credulity

    Alan Stevenson     |      March 11, 2024

    The ability to perceive patterns is a fundamental building block of human intelligence, but we need the scientific method to ensure these patterns are real, rather than illusions.

  • Trust your instincts

    Alan Stevenson     |      February 29, 2024

    We’re surrounded by technology and spend decades honing our intellects at school and university but intuition – the ability to understand something without conscious reasoning – remains a powerful force in our lives, and can sometimes even be a life saver.

  • Myth and religion

    Alan Stevenson     |      February 24, 2024

    Religions have been the repositories and interpreters of myths and sacred stories and the creators of rituals to express them, but as religions become institutionalised or associated with secular political power, they are all too often distorted for self-serving purposes.

  • Unraveling the riddle of cognition

    Alan Stevenson     |      February 7, 2024

    Cognition – the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses – was once thought the preserve of the human brain, but scientific research increasingly suggests that simple organisms and even plants are capable of understanding and reacting to their environments in remarkable ways.

  • We are the stories we tell about ourselves

    Alan Stevenson     |      February 1, 2024

    Myths of gods and monsters and legends of great and heroic deeds have played a vital role in shaping and passing on cultures around the world, and remain important in what they can tell us about human nature today.

  • Home grown science

    Alan Stevenson     |      January 28, 2024

    Long before the understanding of modern chemistry came to these shores, indigenous people were treating native plants to eliminate arsenic and render them edible. Who knows what other traditional practises may offer scientific insights today?

  • Green mental health

    Alan Stevenson     |      January 24, 2024

    Getting out into nature helps people improve their mental health – and bringing nature back into our cities can reduce crime.

  • The myths of mankind

    Alan Stevenson     |      January 10, 2024

    However much modernity prides itself on a rational, scientific world view, human culture has been built on a rich tapestry of myths and story telling.

  • Heads in the sand

    Alan Stevenson     |      January 2, 2024

    Ostriches don’t actually bury their head in the sand, but 40% of people do, choosing to remain ignorant of the world around them to absolve themselves of moral responsibility.

  • Moral fights

    Alan Stevenson     |      November 23, 2023

    Our commitments to moral values can hamper rather than motivate progress towards basic humanitarian goals, indeed, moral motivations frequently exacerbate rather than relieve suffering, injustice and hatred.