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Self-Help: myth or reality?

LSE Literary Festival discussion

Date: Tuesday 25 February 2014 
Time: 1.15-2.45pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Dr Julian Baggini, Professor Paul Dolan, Professor Barbara J Sahakian
Chair: Professor Ilina Singh

Is the idea of being able to improve yourself just a myth or can we really change ourselves for the better? This panel will discuss how behavioural science, neurological science, the arts and philosophy can change your life.

Julian Baggini(@microphilosophy) is the author of several books, including Welcome to Everytown: A Journey into the English Mind, The Ego Trick and, most recently, The Virtues of the Table. He has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, the Financial Times, Prospect and the New Statesman, as well as for the think tanks The Institute of Public Policy Research and Demos. He is founding editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine . He has been writer-in-residence for the National Trust at the White Cliffs of Dover and philosopher-in-residence at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and Wellington College. He has also appeared as a cameo in two Alexander McCall-Smith novels. 

Paul Dolan is professor of behavioural science in the Department of Social Policy at LSE and an internationally renowned expert on happiness, behaviour and public policy. Paul has published in top economics, psychology, health and social science journals and has won research grants from a range of funding bodies, including the ESRC, AHRC and the British Academy. He was a seconded member of the Behavioural Insights Team in the Cabinet Office, and he is currently chief academic adviser on economic appraisal for the Government Economic Service. He is on the National Wellbeing Advisory Forum in the UK and a member of a National Academy of Sciences Panel on wellbeing in the US.

Barbara J Sahakian (@BJSahakian) is professor of clinical neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry and MRC / Wellcome Trust Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute. She is also an honorary clinical psychologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK. She is president of the British Association for Psychopharmacology. She is a founder member and on the Executive Board of the International Neuroethics Society (INS). She has just become president-elect of the INS. She is co-author of Bad Moves. How decision making goes wrong and the ethics of smart drugs (Oxford University Press, 2013) and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics (Oxford University Press, 2011). 

Ilina Singh is professor of ccience, ethics and society in the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King's College London and is cross-appointed to the Institute of Psychiatry.

This event forms part of  the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2014, taking place from Monday 24 February - Saturday 1 March 2014, with the theme 'Reflections'.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSElitfest


A copy of Professor Barbara J Sahakian's powerpoint presentation can be downloaded. Download 'Self-Help: myth or reality?' (pdf).


A podcast of this event is available to download from Self-Help: myth or reality?

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email info@cpduk.co.uk).

LSE Literary Festival 2014