I am Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, affiliated with the Philosophy Department in the School of Philosophy, Theology, and Religion; and with the Institute for Mental Health in the School of Psychology.
My research is in the philosophy of the cognitive sciences. In particular, I write about the limitations of human cognition and human agency, investigating faulty reasoning and irrational beliefs, delusions, confabulations, distorted memories, poor knowledge of the self, unreliable self narratives, self deception, inconsistencies between attitudes and behaviour, unrealistic optimism, and other positive illusions.
From October 2014 to September 2019, I led a 5-year project on Pragmatic and Epistemic Role of Factually Erroneous Cognitions and Thoughts (PERFECT), funded by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant.
My latest book is Delusions in Context (Palgrave 2018) where I gather new insights on delusions from experts in clinical practice, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and philosophy.
A research monograph entitled The Epistemic Innocence of Irrational Beliefs is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.
I share my research as widely as possible. In 2013 I founded Imperfect Cognitions, a blog featuring research updates, interviews with experts, first-person experiences of mental distress, and conference reports.
In May 2017 I presented a talk on optimism at the Hay Festival and in October 2017 I gave a TEDxBrum talk on the mental health stigma (click on the right to watch). In October 2018, with Valeria Motta, I presented at the Stories of Solitude event during the York Mediale Festival.
I have written for Aeon, The Philosopher's Magazine, and IAI TV and I have been interviewed for newspapers, on radio and television. In 2018 I was shortlisted for the University of Birmingham Impact Awards, for outstanding impact in society.