Brownian thought space

Cognitive science, mostly, but more a sometimes structured random walk about things.

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Location: Rochester, United States

Chronically curious モ..

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Discreet Charms of the Neuroscientists

For everyone who's suffered to look at endless reds and blues on brain pictures as 'evidence', here's a thought-provoking paper by people from Yale, titled The seductive allure of neuroscience explanations. One of the critical (and scary) finding from their study is that
Even irrelevant neuroscience information in an explanation of a psychological phenomenon may interfere with people’s abilities to critically consider the underlying logic of this explanation.
"But Mo, aren't you doing imaging as well?" Well, yes. Sorry. Not everyone is seduced by neuroscience! Some do it because behavioral tasks can be so messy - the failure to spot a difference in behavior might or might not reflect a real difference in processing by the brain. Which of course leads to the interesting question as to WHY something which shows up differently in a brain scan doesn't lead to a difference in behavior.

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