Consciousness: The underlying neuroscience

7.50pm to 9.15pm, Friday 27 May

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Computed tomography of the human brain

    Computed tomography of the human brain

    Credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Standard £18


Concession £15


Discounts for Members

Event description

Consciousness is, for each of us, the presence of a world. But how do rich multisensory experiences, the senses of self and body, and volition emerge from the joint activity of billions of neurons? Once the province just of philosophy and theology, the neuroscience of consciousness has emerged as a one of the great scientific challenges for this century.

Join Anil Seth for an insight into the state-of-the-art research in the new science of consciousness. Distinguishing between conscious level, conscious content and conscious self, he will describe how new experiments are shedding light on the underlying neural mechanisms in normal life as well as in neurological and psychiatric conditions.

About the speaker

Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, where he is also Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. He is Editor-in-Chief of Neuroscience of Consciousness and is on the steering group and advisory board of the Human Mind Project.

He has written popular science books, including 30 Second Brain, and contributes to a variety of media including the New Scientist, The Guardian, and the BBC. 

He can be found on Twitter: @anilkseth


Dress code

The dress code for this event is smart.

Food and Drink

A fine dining menu is served before and after the Discourse in our restaurant and restaurant reservations are open to Ri members and non-members.

To book your table please call
020 7670 2973 or email

More about Discourses

If you haven't been before, Discourses are traditional events that date back to 1825. There is also a certain level of tradition and ceremony during the event, including: the speaker and host walk through the doors as the clock bell rings at exactly 8pm; the speaker starts the talk with no introduction or hellos, and should finish at 9pm as the clock bell rings again; the speaker is locked in a room 10 minutes before the talk begins to prevent them running away (legend has it that once a speaker escaped just before the discourse). 

Find out more about the history of the Friday Evening Discourses on our blog.


This event will be filmed and on the Ri Channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.

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