Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Brain science backlash, throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

A recent NYTimes Op-Ed piece by David Brooks' ("Beyond the Brain") references the recent book "“Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience.” a book that appropriately notes some of the limitations of zealous over interpretation of brain imaging data but also includes some facile straw man arguments. Brooks kind of loses it in his comment:
It is probably impossible to look at a map of brain activity and predict or even understand the emotions, reactions, hopes and desires of the mind...there appears to be no dispersed pattern of activation that we can look at and say, “That person is experiencing hatred."
These sentiments are simply wrong, and I thought, rather than rambling on myself, I would point interested readers to two cogent commentaries on the recent anti-brain science surge, one in The New Yorker blog posted by Gary Marcus, the other in The Neurocritic blog.

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