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.



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...

BBC Culture

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...

BBC Future

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...


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...


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...


The secret "anti-languages" you're not supposed to know

Could you erectify a luxurimole flackoblots? Have you hidden your chocolate cake from Penelope? Or maybe you're just going to vada the bona omi? If you understand any of these...


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...


How important is social class in Britain today?

Like it or loathe it, many see the class system as a quintessential element of British life, together with our obsession for tea and cake and talking about the weather. "Class...

BBC Future

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 strange expertise of burglars

At first, it feels almost too easy. Against the gentle rustling of leaves, I walk through the back gate, across the lawn, and open the door, all of it unnoticed. I am committing...


Has the Queen become frightfully common?

If the Queen's governess were still alive today, she may have noticed a few discordant notes in her charge's formerly crystal clear diction. OK, she ain' exactly droppin' her Ts...


BBC Earth

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...


What is a 'normal' sex life?

From how often we do it to what we do, BBC Future's latest SmartList explores the wide spectrum of sexual desires and behaviours.


The very real pain of 'imaginary' illnesses

Soon after Suzanne O'Sullivan had left medical school in Dublin, she met a patient named Yvonne, whose mysterious illness appeared to bear little relation to any of her previous...


The people who drink human blood

In the French quarter of New Orleans, John Edgar Browning is about to take part in a "feeding". It begins as clinically as a medical procedure. His acquaintance first swabs a...


Cancer: The mysterious miracle cases inspiring doctors

It was a case that baffled everyone involved. The 74-year-old woman had initially been troubled by a rash that wouldn't go away. By the time she arrived at the hospital, her...


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...


How much would you pay to live for an extra year?

Human life is so precious, it seems crass to put a price on it. How can a pile of coins, paper or gold bars match a year on Earth? Life should be, quite literally, invaluable....


The air that makes you fat

Take a deep breath, and exhale. Depending on where you live, that life-giving lungful of air might just be pushing you towards diabetes and obesity. Two people can eat the same...