NICHOLAS HUMPHREY, Emeritus School Professor, London School of Economics and former Professor of Psychology at the New School for Social Research is a theoretical psychologist, internationally known for his work on the evolution of human intelligence and consciousness. His interests are wide ranging: He studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey in Rwanda; was the first to demonstrate the existence of "blindsight" after brain damage in monkeys; proposed the now celebrated theory of the "social function of intellect"; and is the only scientist ever to edit the literary journal Granta.
His books include Consciousness Regained, The Inner Eye, A History of the Mind, Leaps of Faith, The Mind Made Flesh, Seeing Red: A Study in Consciousness and Soul Dust. He has been the recipient of several honours, including the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, and the British Psychological Society's book award.
"Nick Humphrey is a great romantic scientist, which sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it isn't. Nick's early pioneering work in recording the firing of individual neurons in live animals, in cats, helped pave the way for work by neuroscientists David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel. The got the 1981 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their work on such single-cell recordings in cats, but it was a technique that Nick had helped develop. Very typically, once he got the technique developed, he thought, 'Well, I can spend the rest of my life doing this, or I can do something else. I don't see what the residual problems are.' Of course, there were lots of problems, but at any rate, typical of Nick, he wanted to turn to other things as soon as he'd done that."