Horizon: The Secret You

With the help of a hammer-wielding scientist, Jennifer Aniston and a general anaesthetic, Professor Marcus du Sautoy goes in search of answers to one of science’s greatest mysteries: how do we know who we are?

While the thoughts that make us feel as though we know ourselves are easy to experience, they are notoriously difficult to explain. So, in order to find out where they come from, Marcus subjects himself to a series of probing experiments.

He learns at what age our self-awareness emerges and whether other species share this trait. Next, he has his mind scrambled by a cutting-edge experiment in anaesthesia. Having survived that ordeal, Marcus is given an out-of-body experience in a bid to locate his true self. And in Hollywood, he learns how celebrities are helping scientists understand the microscopic activities of our brain. Finally, he takes part in a mind-reading experiment that both helps explain and radically alters his understanding of who he is.

Broadcast on BBC Tue 20 Oct 2009. Presenter Marcus du Sautoy. Director/Producer Dan Walker. Executive Producer Andrew Cohen.

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  • Marcus

    The helmet cam was cool. I would like to try that. Great documentary.

  • Catherine

    The presenter is really likeable. At first I also thought him very un-quirky for a professor of mathematics – then I saw his socks :)
    Yet another very interesting and well-researched horizon documentary, this is indeed food for my brain.

  • Chris

    Bl**dy Great!

    … And it seems I decided to write this comment six seconds before taking action and knowing that I decided to. How bizarre

  • Xoe
  • Gary V

    I think that it is truly wonderful that we are living in these times of unparalleled breakthroughs in scientific knowledge & that we no longer need to rely on outdated religious myths to try to explain the wonders of life & all the things around us.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Fiona

    Jaques Lacan and Henri Wallon came up with the theory of the mirror stage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_stage. Apparently that guy Gallop designed his ‘test’ and completely omitted their preceding work on  the matter.

  • Guest

    This is very interesting. I would wonder if it was possible for someone to know a decision by looking at the conscious of another person looking at another person looking at the guy’s conscious that is making the decision that could be predicted not 6 seconds before, but 24 seconds before. Now that would be quite scary.

  • Guest

    This is very interesting. I would wonder if it was possible for someone to know a decision by looking at the conscious of another person looking at another person looking at the guy’s conscious that is making the decision that could be predicted not 6 seconds before, but 24 seconds before. Now that would be quite scary.

  • Guest

    This is very interesting. I would wonder if it was possible for someone to know a decision by looking at the conscious of another person looking at another person looking at the guy’s conscious that is making the decision that could be predicted not 6 seconds before, but 24 seconds before. Now that would be quite scary.

    • Janne

      It doesn’t work like that. The guy looking at the brain of the another, isn’t making a decision. Just observing.

  • Homie1to

    Billy Meier and Inelia Benz have exact descriptions of this subject matter. And they say we all have the tool kit to find these answers. It’s something all humans can do but are purposely conditioned away from using self aware skills. If you can herd sheep, you can herd people. It takes 3 things Control access to energy, ie food control access to information control violence to discipline them to direct their behavior.

  • Gavin Doig

    Marcus is confusing consciousness with thinking and ego which are responses. If you play a fast sport you are not “thinking about”.The story comes afterwards.Who would you be without that thought