Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

Excerpt

You've seen the headlines: This is your brain on love. Or God. Or envy. Or happiness. And they’re reliably accompanied by articles boasting pictures of color-drenched brains—scans capturing Buddhist monks meditating, addicts craving cocaine, and college sophomores choosing Coke over Pepsi. The media—and even some neuroscientists, it seems—love to invoke the neural foundations of human behavior to explain everything from the Bernie Madoff financial fiasco to slavish devotion to our iPhones, the sexual indiscretions of politicians, conservatives’ dismissal of global warming, and even an obsession with self-tanning.

Brains are big on campus, too. Take a map of any major university, and you can trace the march of neuroscience from research labs and medical centers into schools of law and business and departments of economics and philosophy. In recent years, neuroscience has merged with a host of other disciplines, spawning such new areas of study as neurolaw, neuroeconomics, neurophilosophy, neuromarketing, and neurofinance. Add to this the birth of neuroaesthetics, neurohistory, neuroliterature, neuromusicology, neuropolitics, and neurotheology. The brain has even wandered into such unlikely . . .

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