Revolting Against Neurotrash

Salvo19An excerpt from an article by Denyse O'Leary in the latest issue of Salvo (plus a sidebar graphic):

Brain Scams

Have Some Neuroscientists Lost Their Minds?

During the Decade of the Brain (1990–2000), clinical neuroscience thrived. But pop neuroscience really took off after 2000. Brain scanners became increasingly available for non-medical research, including research into political views. Soon stories like these festooned the pop science media:

• "How facts backfire: Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains"1
• "Left brain, right brain: researchers link neurology to political orientation"2
• "French government begins 'neuropolicy'" (against smoking)3
• "Hate Area of Brain Identified"4
• "Political Science: What Being Neat or Messy Says about Political Leanings"5
• "Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults"6

Anything bother you about these themes? They leaked over onto the campaign trail. For example, neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine suggests that if voters were attracted to Sarah Palin as a candidate in 2008, it may have been because the "mirror neurons" in their brains were going "'ding, ding, ding—this person is just like me.'"7 And another group of scientists suggest that voters who rated Hillary Clinton unfavorably on questionnaires were, according to their brain images, actually "battling unacknowledged impulses to like Mrs. Clinton."8

read the article . . .

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One thought on “Revolting Against Neurotrash

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