Talking Heads

Talking Heads

The New Science of How Conversation Shapes Our Worlds


'Enjoyable' New Scientist
'Delightfully well-written, accessible, surprisingly reflective and humorous' Irish Times
'Thoughtful' Irish Independent

From neurons to nations, Talking Heads is a stunning survey of the science of human connection and communication

We are social animals and talking is part of what makes us human.

But what purpose does conversation serve? In this revelatory tour of talking, neuroscientist Shane O'Mara explores why we communicate, what happens in our brains when we do it, and what it means for us as individuals, groups and societies.

How do our thoughts, memories, and conversations change our brains? What does it mean that we spend most of our thinking lives in a five-minute bubble around the present moment? Why does our sense of self solidify with age, even as we grow more forgetful? In what ways do we imagine futures together? And how do our nations begin as conversations?

Moving from the personal to the social and ultimately towards a radical new perspective on the defining phenomenon of our times, populist nationalism, this is the story of how conversation builds the worlds around us - and how, together, we can talk our way into a better tomorrow.

'Invaluable ... Fascinating' David Crystal, author of Let's Talk


  • Delightfully well-written, accessible, surprisingly reflecting ... and humorous
    Niamh Jiménez, Irish Times

About the author

Shane O'Mara

Shane O'Mara is Professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin. He is Principal Investigator in, and was director of, the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, one of Europe's leading research centres for neuroscience, as well as being a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator and a Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator. He is the author of Why Torture Doesn't Work, A Brain for Business and In Praise of Walking.

His musings on neuroscience, psychology and life can be found at the substack Brain Pizza.
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