Robert Burton
Renowned Neuroscientist and Author

In his compelling presentation, Robert Burton posits a revolutionary idea: despite how certainty feels, it is neither a conscious choice nor even a thought process.  Drawing from case studies and recent neuroscience advances, as well as such far-ranging subject material as the physics of baseball, high-stakes poker, and popular discussions of gut feelings and the nature of intuition, Burton challenges us to reexamine the theory that certainty and conviction are products of reason.  Burton’s revolutionary message carries wide-ranging implications on how we view the world.  He is a truly unique speaker.


A graduate of Yale University and the University of California at San Francisco medical school, where he also completed his neurology residency, he was appointed, at age thirty-three, chief of the Division of Neurology at Mt. Zion-UCSF Hospital, where he subsequently became Associate Chief of the Department of Neurosciences. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book, On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not, and the neuroscience and culture column at, “Mind Reader.” He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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On Being Certain
Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not
St. Martin's Griffin

You recognize when you know something for certain, right? You "know" the sky is blue, or that the traffic light had turned green, or where you were on the...

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A Skeptic's Guide to the MindWhat Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves
St. Martin's Griffin

What if our soundest, most reasonable judgments are beyond our control? Despite 2500 years of contemplation by the world’s greatest minds and the more...

On Being Certain: Burton discusses the implications of "certainty" in all aspects of our daily lives, from our personal relationships to the decisions we make at work, and offers a bold new look at why we should trust our instincts only to a certain degree.