Neuroskeptic’s Patient-Researcher Perspective

Neuroskeptic just published a very interesting post asking: What Can “Lived Experience” Teach Neuroscientists? It’s a short reflection on whether or not neuroscientific research on depression (for instance) should include more patient perspectives. Being very up-front about a personal history of depression, Neuroskeptic points to a problem that sounds almost like the barber paradox. (Read it.)

Two thoughts on that: Continue reading

Can Brain Science Help Resolve Social Problems and Political Conflicts?

Here is a very insightful piece published a few days ago in the New York Times. It asks the question of whether brain science “Can … Be Dangerous” if it is the (only) basis on which authorities make decisions about social policies.

Using neuroscience to determine the prospective success of interventions aiming at resolving social problems is also closely linked to a Brown Bag Lunch at the CNS I attended last week: Emile Bruneau spoke about “Putting Neuroscience to Work for Peace” in political conflicts. His research on the neuroscientific correlates of biases, irrationality, and related psychological impediments to peaceful coexistence is inspired by his personal experiences with intergroup conflicts. You can download my summary of his talk here.

Posts on Experimental Fallacies and Pics Proving Plasticity Project Progress (O RLY!)

I want to draw your attention—again—to some fabulous work of others: an incredibly cute owl I encountered on one of the books I’m reading for my summer project, and two remarkable recent weblog posts on experiments in the life sciences. Continue reading

Precautionary Detention of “Broken Brains”

What yesterday evening appeared to be one of the most embarrassing things I have ever done to a university teacher, turned out to be the trigger for my writing this post—in both a state of mental rage, and the deep fulfilling conviction that there is so much more to be done in the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of the Neurosciences (HPSNS), i.e., that my work is not expendable. Continue reading

Follow Up …

… on incompatible systems: Our brain is much more complex than the apparatuses we use to assess it. What if fMRI and brain are just like course list (where I appeared as “registered”) and PennInTouch (where I registered as “audit” for the course)? It is pretty likely that we would not just continue to be nescient, but generate false knowledge.1 Anyhow, I think this point is very clear: If it happens to paper and digital databases, it can as well happen to neuronal systems and these noisy machines. Sadly, I will not take part in the class; luckily, however, I was able to communicate it—I am wondering how neurons / neuronal networks / brain areas might try to tell us we are in the wrong, when in fact they only audit a cognitive process while we think they are about to actively take part in it in order to receive credit for it. Poor neurons! Continue reading