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. My first book, The Intelligence Trap, will be published on 7 March 2019.

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


Neuroscience and psychology


A high-carb diet may explain why Okinawans live so long

The search for the "elixir of youth" has spanned centuries and continents - but recently, the hunt has centred on the Okinawa Islands, which stretch across the East China Sea....


Why the quickest route to happiness may be to do nothing

How do you envisage the pursuit of happiness? For many, it is a relentless journey, and the more you put in, the more you get out. Just consider the following episode from...


In the beginning was the word, and the word was embodied - David Robson | Aeon Essays

If you don't speak Japanese but would like, momentarily, to feel like a linguistic genius, take a look at the following words. Try to guess their meaning from the two available...

BBC Future

The age you feel means more than your actual birthdate

Imagine, for a moment, that you had no birth certificate and your age was simply based on the way you feel inside. How old would you say you are? Like your height or shoe size,...

BBC Future

An effortless way to improve your memory

When trying to memorise new material, it's easy to assume that the more work you put in, the better you will perform. Yet taking the occasional down time - to do literally...

BBC Future

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 blessing and curse of the people who never forget

For most of us, memory is a kind of scrapbook, a mess of blurred and faded snapshots of our lives. As much as we would like to cling on to our past, even the most poignant...


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...


The tragic fate of the people who stop sleeping

Silvano was on a cruise ship when the family curse struck. An elegant 53-year-old with striking red hair who enjoyed wearing a tuxedo at every possible occasion, he tried to...


The curse of the people who can't stop making puns

Derek's wife had put up with more than most people could stand before she finally decided to call the doctor. Almost every night, her husband would wake her up from sleep to...


Why are people so incredibly gullible?

If you ever need proof of human gullibility, cast your mind back to the attack of the flesh-eating bananas . In January 2000, a series of chain emails began reporting that...


Four ways that other people warp your memory

When we think of our memories, it's natural to imagine a kind of personal library, a bit like Sherlock Holmes's memory palace, where we have stored the most precious events of...


The surprising downsides of being clever

If ignorance is bliss, does a high IQ equal misery? Popular opinion would have it so. We tend to think of geniuses as being plagued by existential angst, frustration, and...


This is how it feels to learn your memories are fiction

A few months after his brain surgery, Matthew returned to work as a computer programmer. He knew it was going to be a challenge - he had to explain to his boss that he was...

BBC Future

The women with superhuman vision

Concetta Antico has a rare mutation that lets her see "impossible" colours. And her artwork means we can now get a glimpse of her world


A blueprint of the emerging mind

The small room feels a little like a spaceship cockpit. In front of me, a group of scientists are sitting in front of a series of monitors, deep in concentration as they...


How to learn 30 languages

Out on a sunny Berlin balcony, Tim Keeley and Daniel Krasa are firing words like bullets at each other. First German, then Hindi, Nepali, Polish, Croatian, Mandarin and Thai -...


The man who has never felt an emotion

Caleb is telling me about the birth of his son, now eight months old. "You know you hear parents say that the first time they looked at their kid, they were overcome with that...


'My dentist saved my tooth, but wiped my memory'

William's internal clock is eternally jammed at 13:40 on 14 March 2005 - right in the middle of a dentist appointment. A member of the British Armed Forces, he had returned to...