I trained as a neuroscientist and became a science writer. I have a B.A. and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford and a research M.Sc. from the University of Stirling. My first degree was in physiology and philosophy. This was a combination of the PPP course (physiology, psychology, philosophy) so rare and problematic that, to judge by the exam list, I was the only one in my year-group fool enough to attempt it. If you did that course, do get in touch; I have never yet found anyone else who did. I think Oxford has now scrapped the PPP course. I was told (and like to believe!) that this was because it was too difficult …

For my research publications, see the list below (I’ve added the papers themselves where possible), or try my SCOPUS ID, my ORCID ID, or my profile on ResearchGate.

The M.Sc. at Stirling was ostensibly in psychology. It was actually neuropharmacology, but there wasn’t a neuroscience department at Stirling at the time. I worked on glutamate receptors, and very interesting it was too.

The D.Phil. was in the computational neuroscience of eye movements. It included both a simple computer model and psychophysical experiments using a scleral eye coil to measure eye movements in response to carefully controlled visual stimuli (in collaboration with Roland Baddeley).

After that I worked as a postdoc on the neurobiological basis – neuroscience, immunology, biochemistry and epidemiology – of developmental dyslexia. Among other things, my research suggested negative associations between dyslexia and having a family history of high blood pressure and cancer. That was fascinating too, and really brought home just how complex and interdisciplinary a field neuroscience has to be.

Interesting Questions

I have had many scientific interests in my time, but they meet at the intersection of three huge questions:

● how do human brains work?

● how are people’s behaviour and identities affected by their beliefs?

● how will neuroscience affect society?

In my books especially, I’ve tried to address these questions.

Sample Publications


● Taylor, K. (2020), Dementia: a Very Short Introduction. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

● Taylor, K. (2016), The Fragile Brain: the strange, hopeful science of dementia. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

● Taylor, K. (2012), The Brain Supremacy: notes from the frontiers of neuroscience. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

● Taylor, K. (2009), Cruelty: human evil and the human brain. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

● Taylor, K. (2006), “On brainwashing”, in The Barbarization of Warfare, ed. G. Kassimeris; New York University Press.

● Taylor, K. (2004, 2006, 2016), Brainwashing: the science of thought control. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

● Taylor, K.E. (2003). The possible role of abnormal platelet-activating factor metabolism in psychiatric disorders. Phospholipid Spectrum Disorders in Psychiatry and Neurology. 2nd ed: Marius Press.


My Times Higher Education Supplement prize-winning essays were on the biochemistry of dyslexia (here) and on the relationship of imagination and knowledge (here).


● ‘The Limits of Love’, book review for the Times Literary Supplement, June 2, 2023.

● ‘Masters of Mind Control’, BBC Focus magazine, issue 254, May 2013.

● A piece about disgust and morality for the Guardian.

● “So, do you know who’s pulling your strings?“, Times Higher Education Supplement, 26 November 2004.

● A Guardian essay on brainwashing and terrorism.

● Pieces in the Guardian and Daily Mirror following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in December 2011.

● ‘Cruel intentions‘, RSA Journal, March 2012.


● Taylor, K. and G. Wright (2023). ‘‘The rich help of books’: patterns of annotation in Latin and English versions of Abraham Cowley’s Sex Libri Plantarum.’ The Seventeenth Century: 1-24. Website.

● Taylor, K.E. and Wright, G. (2017), A computational approach to the poetry of Katherine Philips’, first published in Women’s Writing (2017; publisher website), now available in book form here.

● Taylor, K.E. (2008), Review of Women as Weapons of War, by Kelly Oliver. Critical Studies in Terrorism, 1, 3.

● Taylor, K.E. (2007), Disgust is a factor in extreme prejudice, British Journal of Social Psychology, 46(3), 597-617. PDF here.

● Taylor, K.E. (2006), Intergroup atrocities in war: a neuroscientific perspective, Medicine, Conflict and Survival, 22, 230-44. PDF here.

● Taylor, K.E. (2004). Familial cancer and developmental dyslexia: an observational pilot study, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 46(2), 119-27. PDF here.

● Francks, C., Fisher, S.E., Marlow, A.J., MacPhie, I.L., Taylor, K.E., Richardson, A.J., Stein, J.F. and Monaco, A.P. (2003), Familial and genetic effects on motor coordination, laterality, and reading-related cognition, American Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 1970-7.

● Taylor, K.E. and Walter, J. (2003), Occupation choices of adults with and without symptoms of dyslexia, Dyslexia, 9(3), 177-85. PDF here.

● Taylor, K.E. and Stein, J.F. (2002). Dyslexia and familial high blood pressure: an observational pilot study, Archives of Disease in Childhood, 86(1), 30-3. PDF here.

● Taylor, K.E., Richardson, A.J. and Stein, J.F. (2001). Could platelet-activating factor play a role in developmental dyslexia?, Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 64(3), 173-80. PDF here.

● Taylor, K.E. (2001). Applying continuous modelling to consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8, 2, 45-60.

● Taylor, K.E., Higgins, C.J., Calvin, C.M., Hall, J.A., Easton, T., McDaid, A.M. and Richardson, A.J. (2000). Dyslexia in adults is associated with clinical signs of fatty acid deficiency, Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 63(1/2), 75-8. PDF here.

● Taylor, K.E. and Richardson, A. J. (2000). Visual function, fatty acids and dyslexia, Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids, 63(1), 89-93. PDF here.


Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: