In this series, a panel debates a topic with the aim of fostering interdisciplinary communication and mutual understanding. Emphasis will be placed on trying to identify common questions and on seeking to integrate knowledge from different areas of expertise.

Evolutionary Benefits of False Beliefs?

Tuesday 5 May, 6.30 – 8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE 

Dominic Johnson|, Alastair Buchan Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford

Ryan McKay|, Reader in Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London

Chair: Tali Sharot|, Director of the Affective Brain Lab and Reader in the Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL and Forum for European Philosophy Fellow

The human mind produces countless biases, illusions and predictable errors. Are such false beliefs adaptive? Had they evolved for a reason? From overconfidence to the illusion of control, the speakers will argue that false beliefs can provide the individual with an advantage in domains ranging from war and politics to health and finance. But how do such beliefs affect us as a society?

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEbeliefs


The Folly of Crowds?

Thursday 25 June, 6.30 – 8pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

Peter Ayton|, Professor of Psychology, City University, London

Sepideh Bazazi|, Researcher at the Centre on Animal Cognition, DYNACTOM, Université Paul Sabatier

Chris Frith|, Psychologist and Emeritus Professor at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London

Chair: Bahador Bahrami|, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL

Mind sharing, crowdsourcing, online ratings – in our modern world we are constantly exposed to the opinion of the group. We are told that crowds are wise (‘Two heads are better than one’ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) and are cautioned against the madness of the mobs (‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’). When is the crowd wise and when is it prone to madness?

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEcrowds