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Talks and Conferences

Details of past and upcoming talks by
CSN Group members.

When available, links have been provided to recordings of the event. Links to sign-up for future talks and events will also be provided, when applicable.  

Belief and dissociation across hypnosis, psychopathology,         
and religious experience                                                                    

Dr Quinton Deeley

A talk delivered at the Science of Suggestion Seminar Series, Tuesday 14th June 2022. 

Suggested effects in hypnosis, functional neurological and dissociative symptoms, and religiously recognised states of revelation, mediumship, and possession, all involve alterations in the control, ownership, or awareness of mental contents and actions. This suggests that shared cognitive and brain processes may contribute to all of these phenomena. Yet case histories and vignettes show how these alterations in experience and behaviour also vary in important respects. Here we consider  the ways in which control, ownership, and awareness of mental contents and actions can vary, and the family of cognitive and brain processes involved in them.  We discuss how  (i) intense emotional investment (cathexis) in ideas and beliefs can produce profound changes in related experience even in the absence of high hypnotisability, providing insights into the genesis of functional symptoms and religious experience; (ii) prior beliefs and experiences can radically affect responses to ambient stimuli, including suggestions in hypnosis.

Available to view here:

Free Will and Criminal Responsibility                                             


Dr Quinton Deeley


A lecture delivered at the British Neuropsychiatry Association Annual Conference, 26th May 2022


Notions of criminal responsibility presuppose that a person can be held morally and legally accountable for acts which are freely chosen. Philosophical accounts of free will – of intended actions under individual control – provide a framework for analysing the components of freely chosen actions. Philosophers have explored the notion of free will in light of causal determinism, examining whether or how a person ‘could have done otherwise’ in specific circumstances such that they can be considered truly responsible for their actions. In this talk we consider these philosophical analyses and their relevance for neuropsychiatric assessment of offenders. In so doing we will also explore how evolving neuropsychiatric insights into the control of behaviour, and its impairment in specific disorders, has implications both for philosophical accounts of free will and notions of criminal responsibility. 


Available to view here:

Conspiracism as strategy: QAnon, Politics, and Social Media

Dr Quinton Deeley


A lecture delivered at the Maudsley Philosophy Group meeting, Thursday, 11th November 2021.


QAnon, an internet conspiracy theory that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping paedophiles, is one of many conspiracy theories that have rapidly spread through the US and more widely. In this seminar we will consider what motivates such apparently irrational beliefs, how they propagate so quickly, and what they reveal about the social and political influences on how people interpret the world. In doing so we will explore the history of the anti-Semitic blood libel, the social anthropology of witchcraft, the cognitive neuropsychiatry of delusions, social media and coalitional cognition, conspiracism as political strategy, and a consequent tilt from realism to perspectivism in our implicit epistemology.

Available to view here:

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