David Robson

Science writer and editor

I am an award-winning writer and editor, who specialises in writing in-depth articles probing the extremes of the human mind, body and behaviour. My subjects have included the limits of intelligence, the true stories of 'real-life' vampires, and our burgeoning understanding of the ways that culture shapes your psychology. I am currently writing The Intelligence Trap for Hodder and Stoughton (UK)/WW Norton (USA).

I hope you enjoy my clippings. If you would like to get in touch, please email d_a_robson "at" hotmail.com.





Why athletes need a 'quiet eye'

If anyone knows how to grab a victory from the jaws of defeat, it's Serena Williams. Just consider her semi-final against Kim Clijsters at the 2003 Australian Open. At 5-2 down...


The beautiful languages of the people who talk like birds

If you are ever lucky enough to visit the foothills of the Himalayas, you may hear a remarkable duet ringing through the forest. To the untrained ear, it might sound like...


Our fiction addiction: Why humans need stories

It sounds like the perfect summer blockbuster. A handsome king is blessed with superhuman strength, but his insufferable arrogance means that he threatens to wreak havoc on his...


Feeling litt? The five hotspots driving English forward

Feeling scute with your on fleek eyebrows or with your new balayage? Or are you rekt and baeless? The English language is forever in flux, as new words are born and old ones...


The secrets of the 'high-potential' personality

Are you curious, conscientious and competitive? Do you also have the more mysterious qualities of "high adjustment", "ambiguity acceptance" and "risk approach"? If so,...


Do Elon Musk's radical work ideas add up?

Tesla is in turmoil. The electric car-maker's shares have fallen by over 25% in value since last September, and analysts are predicting further losses. One reason is the...

The Atlantic

The 'Underground Railroad' To Save Atheists

Lubna Yaseen was a student in Baghdad when death threats forced her into exile. Her crime was to think the unthinkable and question the unquestionable-to state, openly, that she...


The astonishing vision and focus of Namibia's nomads

Nestled in a grassy valley of north-eastern Namibia, Opuwo may seem like a crumbling relic of colonial history. With a population of just 12,000, the town is so small that it...


How East and West think in profoundly different ways

As Horace Capron first travelled through Hokkaido in 1871, he searched for a sign of human life among the vast prairies, wooded glades and threatening black mountains. "The...


The 'untranslatable' emotions you never knew you had

Have you ever felt a little mbuki-mvuki - the irresistible urge to "shuck off your clothes as you dance"? Perhaps a little kilig - the jittery fluttering feeling as you talk to...


The 'hidden talent' that determines success

Editor's Note (December 21, 2017): Through to the end of the year, BBC Capital is bringing back some of your favourite stories from 2017. Imagine meeting someone for the first...


The birth of half-human, half-animal chimeras

In H. G. Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau , the shipwrecked hero Edward Pendrick is walking through a forest glade when he chances upon a group of two men and a woman...


An inside view of Hong Kong's hidden rooftop farms

A butterfly perching on a lettuce leaf is not normally a cause for marvel. But I am standing on the roof the Bank of America Tower, a 39-floor building in the heart of Hong...


The viruses that may save humanity

It was the early 1890s, and Ernest Hankin was studying cholera outbreaks along the banks of the Ganges. As the locals dumped their dead in the holy water, the river should have...


Should the world eat more like the Cantonese?

Sitting down in this small Hong Kong restaurant, I assume that the white chest of drawers behind me are filled with tea leaves, herbs, and fungi. So I'm rather perturbed when my...


How to save the world's most trafficked mammal

For millions of years, the pangolin's natural reserve had been its best defence. The only mammal with hard, plate-like scales, it looks something like a badger in chainmail -...


What Peter Pan teaches us about memory and consciousness

A couple of years ago, the neuropsychologist Rosalind Ridley was browsing through a friend's bookshelf when she came across JM Barrie's original Peter Pan stories.


The strange Victorian fashion of self-electrification

Are you tired? Plagued by migraines? Or suffering from anxiety? Then Isaac Pulvermacher had the answer with his famous "hydro-electric belt". Shaped like a cowboy's bullet belt,...


Our IQs have never been higher - but it hasn't made us smart

James Flynn is worried about leaving the world to millennials. As a professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand, he regularly meets bright students with enormous...