Meet your brain – Are you thinking what I'm thinking? (2011)

Bruce Hood

Discover what makes us truly human.

Bruce Hood with one hand on his head, standing in front of a bookcase
Credit: Royal Institution

Lecture 3 – Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Have you ever seen a face in a piece of burnt toast? Why are our brains so obsessed with people-patterns?

It's not just other humans either, your brain likes to give a personality to anything that shows a hint of character; whether it's your teddy bear, your pet fish or even your car.

Yet there are elements of being human that prove virtually impossible to recreate artificially. Can a robot ever fall in love?

With sensors to measure our response to some revealing live demonstrations, Bruce Hood looks at what makes the human brain so special and how it is built to read other people's minds. Why do you feel pain when somebody else gets hurt? What attracts you to another person? Are your eyes a window to your soul?

Discover what makes us truly human.


Inside each and every one of us is the most marvellous structure in the known universe – the human brain. Our brains make us who we are, yet how they work has long been a mystery. We all know that we think, but not how we think.

But in the last few years, science has started to reveal this hidden and complex world. In these lectures, Bruce Hood explores what we know about how our brains work, and how these remarkable organs make us truly human. He looks at how you create your own version of reality, what makes your brain decide which information to trust and which to ignore (without you even knowing) and why you are programmed to read other people's minds.