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Seeing Is Believing: The Effect of Brain Images on Judgments of Scientific Reasoning

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Abstract

Brain images are believed to have a particularly persuasive influence on the public perception of research on cognition. Three experiments are reported showing that presenting brain images with articles summarizing cognitive neuroscience research resulted in higher ratings of scientific reasoning for arguments made in those articles, as compared to articles accompanied by bar graphs, a topographical map of brain activation, or no image. These data lend support to the notion that part of the fascination, and the credibility, of brain imaging research lies in the persuasive power of the actual brain images themselves. We argue that brain images are influential because they provide a physical basis for abstract cognitive processes, appealing to people's affinity for reductionistic explanations of cognitive phenomena.

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... Health information in (online) newspapers is usually communicated textually and/or visually. In general, images in scientific and medical communication have a persuasive power, which can vary in their strength depending on the type of image (e.g., Arsenault et al. 2006;Kessler et al. 2016;McCabe and Castel 2008). Images that make evidence visible can be used as a persuasive tool because images generate more attention and are easier to process and remember than textual content and individuals consider most of what they can visually capture to be true (Holicki 1993). ...
... Perhaps the debunking texts themselves were so effective, because they are based on the latest research findings, that the recipients simply did not care what picture was shown. In contrast to previous studies that found significant differences, in this investigation, the article content itself was not as controversial as in Kessler et al. (2016) and no first-time information was conveyed about a topic on which the recipient had no opinion, as in McCabe and Castel (2008). Further research on when images generate evidence and persuasively affect settings is needed here. ...
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Aim: Developing evidence-based recommendations on how to debunk health-related misinformation and more specific health myths in (online) communication is important for individual health and the society. The present study investigated the effects of debunking/correction texts created according to the latest research findings with regard to four different health myths on recipients' belief, behaviour and feelings regarding the myths. Further, the study investigated the effects of different visuali-sations (machine-technical created image, diagram, image of an expert, message without an image) in the debunking texts. Subject and methods: A representative sample of German Internet users (N = 700) participated in an anonymous online survey experiment with a 4 (myths) × 4 (picture) mixed study design. Results: The results show that receiving an online news article that refutes a widespread health myth with or without the use of an image can significantly change the attitudes of the recipients toward this myth. The most influential variable was the attributed credibility: the more credible a debunking text is for a recipient, the more corrective effectiveness it has. However, the corrective messages did not differ in their persuasive effects depending on the image types used. Conclusion: The results offer an optimistic outlook on the correction of health-related misinformation and especially health myths and insight into why and how people change their beliefs (or not) and how beliefs in health myths can be reduced. The findings can be used by journalists, scientists, doctors and many other actors for efficient (online) communication.
... First, neuroscience, at least in its current state of research, cannot challenge the basic premise of criminal law that choosing to commit a crime is blameworthy (Slobogin, 2017). Second, neuroimaging and statistical analyses can be persuasive (McCabe & Castel, 2008), especially to the nonspecialist eye, but are based on the result of the scientists' manipulations, assumptions, and interpretations that should be made obvious. Consequently, it is the responsibility of the scientist expert witness to understand and explain the limitations of neuroscientific tools and take responsibility for their interpretation. ...
... It can be argued that neuroimaging can be disproportionately persuasive in relation to the actual findings (Baker et al., 2017). Past studies have explored the persuasiveness of neuroscientific claims with and without brain images with initial findings reporting higher persuasiveness for claims paired with images (McCabe & Castel, 2008). However, recent studies have not replicated the initial results and have shown that persuasiveness and overall judgment of the quality of information do not depend on the brain images but the prestige of neuroscience as a subject (Gruber & Dickerson, 2012;Hook & Farah, 2013). ...
... Besides research subjects, ethical concerns should include other parties who pay for services provided by neuromarketing companies. It is proven that showing brain images has a powerful effect even within the scientific community [22]. In addition to scientists, the public shares the same fascination with brain images. ...
... In addition to scientists, the public shares the same fascination with brain images. Scientific descriptions look more persuasive if they are accompanied by brain images, even though it does not influence the validity of findings [7], [22]. ...
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Neuromarketing showed up as a new interdisciplinary field that bridges neuroscience and marketing. A relatively young field that was born within the "neuroculture" matrix is covered with a veil of mystery and often misrepresented in the media as a powerful tool used by corporations to manipulate consumers' preferences, purchasing behavior, etc. In this paper, we have done an extensive literature review in order to put light on some dilemmas and take off the veil of mystery that surrounds neuromarketing. Firstly, (i) we discussed the definition and context in which neuromarketing emerged, (ii) important brain areas in consumer neuroscience which find their application in neuromarketing research, (iii) techniques used in neuromarketing (neuroimaging and non-neuroimaging), (iv) ethical issues in the field of neuromarketing (a part of neuroethics), and (v) limitations and recommendations for future development of neuromarketing.
... -differences in education and vocabulary in pedagogy and neuroscience (Howard-Jones 2014), -different levels of analyzes carried out in both disciplines -from single neurons to international education policies (Goswami 2006), -limited availability of the results from original empirical research (e.g. paid access, or access only to a specific group of specialists), which favors increased reliance on media reports or interpretations of pseudoscientists (Ansari, Coch 2006), -lack of specialists and organizations specializing in both disciplines (Ansari, Coch 2006;Goswami 2006), -the attractiveness and ease of putting into practice explanations that are apparently based on neuroscience but have a strong marketing foundation (McCabe, Castel 2008;Weisberg et al. 2008), -the so-called media noise, which is evident in the fact that the media, often presenting new reports, omit important information (e.g. research methodology), do it in a simplified manner or provide information that is irrelevant, but of a marketing nature (Wallace 1993;Beck 2010;Pasquinelli 2012), -the so-called Dunning-Kruger effect, i.e. a psychological phenomenon in which unskilled people in some area of life tend to overestimate their skills in this area, while highly qualified people tend to underestimate their abilities (Kruger, Dunning 1999), -the so-called attitude of "neurorealism" (Racine, Waidman, Rosenberg, Illes 2006), in which people tend to have greater confidence in any results or publications that refer to, for example, research in the field of neurobiology -even if it is pseudoscientific or irrelevant to the topic at hand (McCabe, Castel 2008;Weisberg et al. 2008;Michael et al. 2013). An important fact also concerns the problem of internationality and cultural conditions. ...
... -differences in education and vocabulary in pedagogy and neuroscience (Howard-Jones 2014), -different levels of analyzes carried out in both disciplines -from single neurons to international education policies (Goswami 2006), -limited availability of the results from original empirical research (e.g. paid access, or access only to a specific group of specialists), which favors increased reliance on media reports or interpretations of pseudoscientists (Ansari, Coch 2006), -lack of specialists and organizations specializing in both disciplines (Ansari, Coch 2006;Goswami 2006), -the attractiveness and ease of putting into practice explanations that are apparently based on neuroscience but have a strong marketing foundation (McCabe, Castel 2008;Weisberg et al. 2008), -the so-called media noise, which is evident in the fact that the media, often presenting new reports, omit important information (e.g. research methodology), do it in a simplified manner or provide information that is irrelevant, but of a marketing nature (Wallace 1993;Beck 2010;Pasquinelli 2012), -the so-called Dunning-Kruger effect, i.e. a psychological phenomenon in which unskilled people in some area of life tend to overestimate their skills in this area, while highly qualified people tend to underestimate their abilities (Kruger, Dunning 1999), -the so-called attitude of "neurorealism" (Racine, Waidman, Rosenberg, Illes 2006), in which people tend to have greater confidence in any results or publications that refer to, for example, research in the field of neurobiology -even if it is pseudoscientific or irrelevant to the topic at hand (McCabe, Castel 2008;Weisberg et al. 2008;Michael et al. 2013). An important fact also concerns the problem of internationality and cultural conditions. ...
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The article presents the results of research conducted among Polish teachers. Their aim was to check the prevalence of neuromyths in schools and kindergartens, and to identify predictors of both belief in neuromyths and the level of knowledge about the structure and functioning of the brain. The obtained results partially confirmed the reports from international studies. Neuromyths turned out to be very popular among Polish teachers, even despite the high level of basic knowledge in the field of neurobiology. The research also revealed a number of factors that determine the level of the above-mentioned knowledge. The influence of age, gender, seniority, workplace, interest in training in neuroeducation, earlier access to knowledge in the field of neurobiology or the use of neuromyths-based work methods in educational practice has not been confirmed. Abstrakt: W artykule zaprezentowano wyniki badań przeprowadzonych wśród polskich nauczycieli. Ich celem było sprawdzenie powszechności neuromitów w szkołach i przedszkolach oraz wskazanie predyktorów zarówno wiary w neuromity, jak i poziomu wiedzy dotyczącej budowy i funkcjonowania mózgu. Uzyskane wyniki częściowo potwierdziły doniesienia z międzynarodowych badań. Neuromity okazały się bardzo popularne wśród polskich nauczycieli, nawet pomimo wysokiego poziomu podstawowej wiedzy z zakresu neurobiologii. Badania uwidoczniły również szereg czynników, które warunkują poziom wyżej wskazanej wiedzy. Nie potwierdzono wpływu wieku, płci, stażu pracy, miejsca pracy ani zainteresowania dokształcaniem w problematyce neuroedukacji, wcześniejszym dostępem do wiedzy z zakresu neurobiologii czy stosowaniem w praktyce edukacyjnej metod pracy opartych na neuromitach.
... They found that novices (second year cognitive neuroscience students) were more likely to find such explanations believable when accompanied by the irrelevant information, relative to experts who were more likely to ignore irrelevant information (see also, Rhodes et al., 2014). Similarly, McCabe and Castel (2008) found that neuroscientific imagery (e.g., brain scans) had a greater effect than other representations (e.g., bar graphs or abstract maps) on the acceptance of explanations. Krull and Silvera (2013) have provided further supporting evidence that the association between the explanans and a scientific instrument (e.g., an MRI) affects the believability of the statement. ...
... Such results might not be as informative about critical features of scientific explanations as they are about a specific kind of scientific explanation: a conjunction of imagery and tacit beliefs associated with an argument. Supporting this, a large-scale study conducted by Michael et al. (2013) attempted to replicate the influence of imagery (McCabe and Castel, 2008) using multiple methods of presentation (online and written), multiple participant pools (general public, MTurk, and undergraduates) as well as multiple incentives (e.g., none, course credit, and financial compensation). They failed to replicate previous results (see also, Hook and Farah, 2013). ...
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Explanations are central to understanding the causal relationships between entities within the environment. Instead of examining basic heuristics and schemata that inform the acceptance or rejection of scientific explanations, recent studies have predominantly examined complex explanatory models. In the present study, we examined which essential features of explanatory schemata can account for phenomena that are attributed to domain-specific knowledge. In two experiments, participants judged the validity of logical syllogisms and reported confidence in their response. In addition to validity of the explanations, we manipulated whether scientists or people explained an animate or inanimate phenomenon using mechanistic (e.g., force, cause) or intentional explanatory terms (e.g., believes, wants). Results indicate that intentional explanations were generally considered to be less valid than mechanistic explanations and that ‘scientists’ were relatively more reliable sources of information of inanimate phenomena whereas ‘people’ were relatively more reliable sources of information of animate phenomena. Moreover, after controlling for participants’ performance, we found that they expressed greater overconfidence for valid intentional and invalid mechanistic explanations suggesting that the effect of belief-bias is greater in these conditions.
... Moreover, people are more likely to view conditions such as depression and anxiety disorder as inborn when the symptoms are diagnosed by a brain test compared to when the same symptoms are diagnosed behaviorally [44] Such observations offer additional evidence as to how neuroscience can seductively interfere with laypeople's reasoning [23]. A large literature shows that people consider brain explanation as more credible than behavioral explanations [23,[66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74]. Our present results contribute to this literature by showing that people further assign brain results special status in reasoning about the cognitive disabilities, and that these beliefs can be traced to intuitive psychological principles that govern reasoning about the links between body and mind and about the essence of living things. ...
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Despite advances in its scientific understanding, dyslexia is still associated with rampant public misconceptions. Here, we trace these misconceptions to the interaction between two intuitive psychological principles: Dualism and Essentialism. We hypothesize that people essentialize dyslexia symptoms that they anchor in the body. Experiment 1 shows that, when dyslexia is associated with visual confusions ( b / d reversals)—symptoms that are naturally viewed as embodied (in the eyes), laypeople consider dyslexia as more severe, immutable, biological, and heritable, compared to when dyslexia is linked to difficulties with phonological decoding (a symptom seen as less strongly embodied). Experiments 2–3 show that the embodiment of symptoms plays a causal role in promoting essentialist thinking. Experiment 2 shows that, when participants are provided evidence that the symptoms of dyslexia are embodied (i.e., they “show up” in a brain scan), people are more likely to consider dyslexia as heritable compared to when the same symptoms are diagnosed behaviorally (without any explicit evidence for the body). Finally, Experiment 3 shows that reasoning about the severity of dyslexia symptoms can be modulated by manipulating people’s attitudes about the mind/body links, generally. These results show how public attitudes towards psychological disorders arise from the very principles that make the mind tick.
... The aim of such an approach is to enhance understanding, engagement, and interest in the topic. Evidence of this application already exist within academia [11][12][13] and research [14,15], but in an era of globalisation, multi-media and increasing access to technology, the role of visualisation continues to expand. Internationally, there is a wealth of literature discussing the use of visualisation tools in relation to public health data. ...
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Background Understanding the impact of socio-economic inequality on health outcomes is arguably more relevant than ever before given the global repercussions of Covid-19. With limited resources, innovative methods to track disease, population needs, and current health and social service provision are essential. To best make use of currently available data, there is an increasing reliance on technology. One approach of interest is the implementation and integration of mapping software. This research aimed to determine the usability and acceptability of a methodology for mapping public health data using GIS technology. Methods Prototype multi-layered interactive maps were created demonstrating relationships between socio-economic and health data (vaccination and admission rates). A semi-structured interview schedule was developed, including a validated tool known as the System Usability Scale (SUS), which assessed the usability of the mapping model with five stakeholder (SH) groups. Fifteen interviews were conducted across the 5 SH and analysed using content analysis. A Kruskal-Wallis H test was performed to determine any statistically significant difference for the SUS scores across SH. The acceptability of the model was not affected by the individual use of smart technology among SHs. Results The mean score from the SUS for the prototype mapping models was 83.17 out of 100, indicating good usability. There was no statistically significant difference in the usability of the maps among SH ( p = 0.094). Three major themes emerged with respective sub-themes from the interviews including: (1) Barriers to current use of data (2) Design strengths and improvements (3) Multiple benefits and usability of the mapping model. Conclusion Irrespective of variations in demographics or use of smart technology amongst interviewees, there was no significant difference in the usability of the model across the stakeholder groups. The average SUS score for a new system is 68. A score of 83.17 was calculated, indicative of a “good” system, as falling within the top 10% of scores. This study has provided a potential digital model for mapping public health data. Furthermore, it demonstrated the need for such a digital solution, as well as its usability and future utilisation avenues among SH.
... Para finalizar, no hay que olvidar que la Neuroética también aplica a la publicación de los resultados obtenidos en las investigaciones, especialmente en la búsqueda de una mayor financiación en su divulgación a través de los medios de comunicación, en tanto que existe el riesgo de que los hallazgos sean tomados al pie de la letra con un enfoque que aliente el entusiasmo o el miedo, no presentando interpretaciones alternativas o sus limitaciones a un público con un conocimiento medianamente informado (Racine et al., 2010). Es más, existen estudios que consideran más persuasivos los estudios presentados con coloridas imágenes cerebrales, incluso en audiencias científicas especializadas, aunque se ha rebajado la fuerte influencia que presentaron los estudios de mayor antigüedad (McCabe & Castel, 2008;Farah & Hook, 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
The advancement of technology allows the use of new tools in investigations in a more precise and active way. In recent years, composed of Neuroscience and Marketing, a new interdisciplinary subject has emerged, with whose techniques researchers can evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing strategy through the analysis of the consumer's cognitive processing. However, the appearance of Neuromarketing has raised some concerns and criticisms in relation to the intrusion of physiological measurement in the study of consumer behavior. Numerous researchers have claimed that the use of some of the Neuromarketing tools, such as facial coding or fMRI, can cause a loss of personal privacy and even lead to discrimination, stigmatization and coercion of specific individuals or groups. Hence, the discussion about ethics and responsibilities in neuromarketing experiments has arisen. Based on a review of the scientific literature, this study aims to discuss ethical problems in Neuromarketing studies, taking into account their emergence, developments and futures. This article provides neuromarketing researchers with a reference on the ethical dilemmas of neuromarketing and also lays the groundwork for the author's follow-up research.
... For example, nonexperts may judge satisfying some bad explanations that are supported by irrelevant information that has a persuasive power such as a neuroscience evidence or brain images. 40,41 What this suggests is that, when people are nonexperts or cannot comprehend a process, they tend to be influenced (seduced) by other irrelevant peripheral features 42 ; for example, to be persuaded by peripheral aspects like an image of a brain, a complex equation, a massive number, or a photo of a famous person. Big data is no exception; nonexpert users and decision makers might be seduced by its size and complexity. ...
Article
Big data is transforming many sectors, with far-reaching consequences to how decisions are made and how knowledge is produced and shared. In the current move toward more data-led decisions and data-intensive science, we aim here to examine three issues that are changing the way data are read and used. First, there is a shift toward paradigms that involve a large amount of data. In such paradigms, the creation of complex data-led models becomes tractable and appealing to generate predictions and explanations. This necessitates for instance a rethinking of Occam's razor principle in the context of knowledge discovery. Second, there is a growing erosion of the human role in decision making and knowledge discovery processes. Human users’ involvement is decreasing at an alarming rate, with no say on how to read, process, and summarize data. This makes legal responsibility and accountability hard to define. Third, thanks to its increasing popularity, big data is gaining a seductive allure, where volume and complexity of big data can de facto confer more persuasion and significance to knowledge or decisions that result from big-data-based processes. These issues call for an active human role by creating opportunities to incorporate, in the most unbiased way, human expertise and prior knowledge in decision making and knowledge production. This also requires putting in place robust monitoring and appraisal mechanisms to ensure that relevant data is answering the right questions. As the proliferation of data continues to grow, we need to rethink the way we interact with data to serve human needs.
... The concept of neuromyth refers to a series of misconceptions or baseless beliefs that arise from the wrong interpretation of neuroscience research results and its application in education or other contexts (OECD, 2002). Several factors related to the emergence and proliferation of neuromyths have been identified: differences in training and technical language between the educational and neuroscientific fields (Howard-Jones, 2014), limited access to peer-reviewed scientific journals (Ansari and Coch, 2006), overgeneralization from neuroscience studies with individual neurons to educational policy (Goswami, 2006), and preference for explanations that seem based on scientific evidence even though there is no evidence in this regard (McCabe and Castel, 2008;Weisberg et al., 2008). ...
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In recent decades, Cognitive Neuroscience has evolved from a rather arcane field trying to understand how the brain supports mental activities, to one that contributes to public policies. In this article, we focus on the contributions from Cognitive Neuroscience to Education. This line of research has produced a great deal of information that can potentially help in the transformation of Education, promoting interventions that help in several domains including literacy and math learning, social skills and science. The growth of the Neurosciences has also created a public demand for knowledge and a market for neuro-products to fulfill these demands, through books, booklets, courses, apps and websites. These products are not always based on scientific findings and coupled to the complexities of the scientific theories and evidence, have led to the propagation of misconceptions and the perpetuation of neuromyths. This is particularly harmful for educators because these misconceptions might make them abandon useful practices in favor of others not sustained by evidence. In order to bridge the gap between Education and Neuroscience, we have been conducting, since 2013, a set of activities that put educators and scientists to work together in research projects. The participation goes from discussing the research results of our projects to being part and deciding aspects of the field interventions. Another strategy consists of a course centered around the applications of Neuroscience to Education and their empirical and theoretical bases. These two strategies have to be compared to popularization efforts that just present Neuroscientific results. We show that the more the educators are involved in the discussion of the methodological bases of Neuroscientific knowledge, be it in the course or as part of a stay, the better they manage the underlying concepts. We argue that this is due to the understanding of scientific principles, which leads to a more profound comprehension of what the evidence can and cannot support, thus shielding teachers from the false allure of some commercial neuro-products. We discuss the three approaches and present our efforts to determine whether they lead to a strong understanding of the conceptual and empirical base of Neuroscience.
... Despite of these technical problems that are not known to many nonspecialists, displaying neuroimages of the brain has a strange effect on the minds of the audience, as noted by many researchers (Miller, 2008;Weisberg et al., 2008), which makes these images an objective fact difficult to refute. They seem to speak for themselves beyond what can be done by other means of display (McCabe and Castel, 2008), to the extent that they are sometimes described as the new version of an old theory (phrenology) that the features of a human skull reflect his personality (Uttal, 2001). This enables some researchers to identify regions responsible for economic skills, social values, or criminal behaviors, although there are still many questions in the scientific community about what the captured images of neurons in the brain really represent. ...
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The aim of the study is to explore the interaction between finance and neurosciences, which is one of the emerging research areas since the beginning of the new millennium. After highlighting the underlying epistemological presuppositions of this new field of knowledge, the study reviews its most important characteristics compared with neoclassical and behavioral schools. In reference to an approach inspired by classical and contemporary Quranic exegesis of the verse ﴾ they should have had hearts to understand with ﴿ (Quran, s. 22, v. 46) distinguishing between the reason related to representation and cognition and that related to conduct and how to deal with problems in life. There can be degrees of uncertainty and interactions between reason and emotion. Community functioning between the heart and the brain takes precedence over the competition, survival of the fittest, and zero-sum game mechanisms. This new approach could allow finance to exploit neurosciences by combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), with heart rate variability (HRV) to highlight the importance of reason and emotion in economic life beyond calculation. We need to shift how we think about emotion and how we feel about thought.
... The choice of visualization techniques also influences users' perception and decisions, as it can support accurate judgement by mitigating cognitive biases and, on the other hand, potentially generate a faulty interpretation of the data (Zuk et al., 2006). Users tend to perceive realistic (Smallman & St. John, 2005) or high-quality visualizations (McCabe & Castel, 2008) to be more accurate and trustworthy. Perceptually salient visualizations can increase decision accuracy but also turn users' attention away from other information that might be equally relevant for the task to be solved (Stone et al., 1997). ...
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A set of mental strategies called "heuristics" – logical shortcuts that we use to make decisions under uncertainty – has become the subject of a growing number of studies. However, the process of heuristic reasoning about uncertain geospatial data remains relatively under-researched. With this study, we explored the relation between heuristics-driven decision-making and the visualization of geospatial data in states of uncertainty, with a specific focus on the visualization of borders, here termed "borderization". Therefore, we tested a set of cartographic techniques to visualize the boundaries of two types of natural hazards across a series of maps through a user survey. Respondents were asked to assess the safety and desirability of several housing locations potentially affected by air pollution or avalanches. Maps in the survey varied by "borderization" method, background color and type of information about uncertain data (e.g., extrinsic vs. intrinsic). Survey results, analyzed using a mixed quantitative-qualitative approach, confirmed previous suggestions that heuristics play a significant role in affecting users' map experience, and subsequent decision-making.
... One may ask what other factors might have affected participants' causality attributions, besides individuals' prior knowledge on temporal sequences of events and their implicit conceptions on the etiology of yet poorly characterized psychiatric diseases. For example, there is some literature on how brain plots nudge the scientific evaluation of lay people [23][24][25][26][27], but in the present study, we did not further investigate how different plots may alter brain and mind primacy. The brain plot we presented in addition to the simulated data was consistent across contexts, and it was solely presented in order to plausibly mimic and ensure consistency with conventional neuroimaging studies. ...
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Introduction: Increased efforts in neuroscience try to understand mental disorders as brain disorders. In the present study, we investigate how common a neuroreductionist inclination is among highly educated people. In particular, we shed light on implicit presuppositions of mental disorders little is known about in the public, exemplified here by the case of body integrity dysphoria (BID) that is considered a mental disorder for the first time in ICD-11. Methods: Identically graphed, simulated data of mind-brain correlations were shown in 3 contexts with presumably different presumptions about causality. 738 highly educated lay people rated plausibility of causality attribution from the brain to mind and from mind to the brain for correlations between brain structural properties and mental phenomena. We contrasted participants' plausibility ratings of causality in the contexts of commonly perceived brain lesion-induced behavior (aphasia), behavior-induced training effects (piano playing), and a newly described mental disorder (BID). Results: The findings reveal the expected context-dependent modulation of causality attributions in the contexts of aphasia and piano playing. Furthermore, we observed a significant tendency to more readily attribute causal inference from the brain to mind than vice versa with respect to BID. Conclusion: In some contexts, exemplified here by aphasia and piano playing, unidirectional causality attributions may be justified. However, with respect to BID, we critically discuss presumably unjustified neuroreductionist inclinations under causal uncertainty. Finally, we emphasize the need for a presupposition-free approach in psychiatry.
... Although not nearly as prolific as the psychological misconception literature, the neuromyth and education literature reveals great insight into the reasons underlying the proliferation of such beliefs among both the general public (Beck, 2010;Hercula-no-Houzel, 2002;Pasquinelli, 2012) and educators (Dekker et al., 2012;Pickering & Howard-Jones, 2007;Im et al., 2018). Neuromyths are often disseminated to consumers as brain-based research alongside images of the brain that lead the reader to more readily accept the claims as fact (McCabe & Castel, 2008), promoting the perceived legitimacy of such beliefs. Prior work in this area has aptly acknowledged the misapplication of neuroscience research to education initiatives, including concepts of hemisphericity, brain plasticity, and the danger of selling unsubstantiated brain-based learning strategies to unwitting teachers, school districts, and parents (Lindell & Kidd, 2011). ...
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When teachers harbor misconceptions or unjustified beliefs about teaching, learning, and academic motivation, the pedagogical consequences can be severe. It is likely these teachers will unintentionally perpetuate such false beliefs upon students through ineffective teaching strategies or misinterpretations of learning science. Misconceptions among K-12 teachers are particularly deleterious due to the substantial influence teacher beliefs exert upon curriculum development, pedagogy, and the construction of effective learning environments. Prior research has explicated the prevalence of erroneous beliefs about general psychology and neuroscience among various populations but has rarely examined teachers’ misconceptions about pertinent topics in educational psychology. Consequently, this review highlights theoretical, inferential, and measurement concerns specifically related to educational psychology misconceptions. Recommendations for future research and the development of appropriate instrumentation to measure and mitigate educational psychology misconceptions are also discussed.
... First, this predisposition towards accepting neuroscientific-based interventions may stem from their knowledge of (neuro)scientific mechanisms or, less positively, a belief that biologically-based practices are inherently good. As neuroscience students, they may have been unduly influenced by the neuroscience covered in the course (McCabe & Caster, 2008;Weisberg et al., 2008). Second, education students may value authenticity (versus technical mediation) more than bioscientists, as authenticity is a critical characteristic of teachers and their instruction (De Bruyckere & Kirschner, 2016;Newmann & Wehlage, 1993). ...
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Researchers are increasingly applying neuroscience technologies that probe or manipulate the brain to improve educational outcomes. However, their use remains fraught with ethical controversies. Here, we investigate the acceptability of neuroscience applications to educational practice in two groups of young adults: those studying bioscience who will be driving future basic neuroscience research and technology transfer, and those studying education who will be choosing among neuroscience-derived applications for their students. Respondents rated the acceptability of six scenarios describing neuroscience applications to education spanning multiple methodologies, from neuroimaging to neuroactive drugs to brain stimulation. They did so from two perspectives (student, teacher) and for three recipient populations (low-achieving, high-achieving students, students with learning disabilities). Overall, the biosciences students were more favorable to all neuroscience applications than the education students. Scenarios that measured brain activity (i.e., EEG or fMRI) to assess or predict intellectual abilities were deemed more acceptable than manipulations of mental activity by drug use or stimulation techniques, which may violate body integrity. Enhancement up to the norm for low-achieving students and especially students with learning disabilities was more favorably viewed than enhancement beyond the norm for high-achieving students. Finally, respondents rated neuroscientific applications to be less acceptable when adopting the perspective of a teacher than that of a student. Future studies should go beyond the acceptability ratings collected here to delineate the role that concepts of access, equity, authenticity, agency and personal choice play in guiding respondents’ reasoning.
... Para finalizar, no hay que olvidar que la Neuroética también aplica a la publicación de los resultados obtenidos en las investigaciones, especialmente en la búsqueda de una mayor financiación en su divulgación a través de los medios de comunicación, en tanto que existe el riesgo de que los hallazgos sean tomados al pie de la letra con un enfoque que aliente el entusiasmo o el miedo, no presentando interpretaciones alternativas o sus limitaciones a un público con un conocimiento medianamente informado (Racine et al., 2010). Es más, existen estudios que consideran más persuasivos los estudios presentados con coloridas imágenes cerebrales, incluso en audiencias científicas especializadas, aunque se ha rebajado la fuerte influencia que presentaron los estudios de mayor antigüedad (McCabe & Castel, 2008;Farah & Hook, 2013). ...
Article
The advancement of technology allows the use of new tools in investigations in a more precise and active way. In recent years, composed of Neuroscience and Marketing, a new interdisciplinary subject has emerged, with whose techniques researchers can evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing strategy through the analysis of the consumer's cognitive processing. However, the appearance of Neuromarketing has raised some concerns and criticisms in relation to the intrusion of physiological measurement in the study of consumer behavior. Numerous researchers have claimed that the use of some of the Neuromarketing tools, such as facial coding or fMRI, can cause a loss of personal privacy and even lead to discrimination, stigmatization and coercion of specific individuals or groups. Hence, the discussion about ethics and responsibilities in neuromarketing experiments has arisen. Based on a review of the scientific literature, this study aims to discuss ethical problems in Neuromarketing studies, taking into account their emergence, developments and futures. This article provides neuromarketing researchers with a reference on the ethical dilemmas of neuromarketing and also lays the groundwork for the author's follow-up research.
... Some studies have shown that the addition of neuroscientific information or images can influence participants' ratings in various domains [e.g., 10,11], but not all studies have found these effects [e.g., 12,13]. A similar situation exists in the legal realm: It has been shown that the introduction of neuroscience information in legal settings is increasing and has the potential to influence the deliberations of judges and juries [e.g., 14,15], but others have argued that neuroscientific information has had limited value or impact in the legal system [e.g., 16,17]. ...
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This research examined the influence of social-, genetic-, and brain-based explanations on attributions of others’ behaviors. Participants were university students in Studies 1 (N = 140), 2 (N = 142), and 3 (N = 260). Participants read a vignette about an individual who possessed several undesirable behaviors and answered related questions. The first two studies had within-subjects designs. Participants in Study 1 were provided with social-, genetic-, and brain-based explanations for the individual’s behavior. The order of the genetic- and brain-based explanations was reversed in Study 2. Study 3 used the same materials, but had a between-subjects design where participants were assigned to one of three groups that differed in their explanation: social, genetic, or brain. Participants also completed measures of social desirability and free will beliefs in all three studies. Consistently, biological explanations had more influence than social explanations on ratings of others’ responsibility, capacity for change, and sentencing considerations. There was inconsistent evidence across the three studies, however, that brain-based explanations had more influence than genetic-based explanations. Interestingly, Free will scores were associated with aspects of the individual’s behavior in the social condition but not in the biological conditions. Additional social cognition research is needed to determine whether brain-based explanations are just one specific instantiation of biological explanations or whether they are unique in this regard when it comes to the attributions we make about others’ behaviors.
... Besides neuromyths, we also need to be mindful of the convincing power that neuroscientific findings may have on public opinion. Neuroscientists and educational professionals alike have warned us for the "seductive allure of neuroscience explanations" (e.g., McCabe and Castel, 2008;Weisberg et al., 2008) that may sway people's opinion about political, legal, or educational issues or trap them into buying something that they do not need. Although others have shown that the seductive allure of neuroscience is not as ubiquitous as initially suggested (Farah and Hook, 2013), there are circumstances under which individuals are particularly prone to biased judgment when presented with neuroscientific evidence. ...
Article
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New findings from the neurosciences receive much interest for use in the applied field of education. For the past 15 years, neuroeducation and the application of neuroscience knowledge were seen to have promise, but there is presently some lack of progress. The present paper states that this is due to several factors. Neuromyths are still prevalent, and there is a confusion of tongues between the many neurodisciplines and the domains of behavioral and educational sciences. Second, a focus upon cognitive neuroimaging research has yielded findings that are scientifically relevant, but cannot be used for direct application in the classroom. A third factor pertains to the emphasis which has been on didactics and teaching, whereas the promise of neuroeducation for the teacher may lie more on pedagogical inspiration and support. This article states that the most important knowledge and insights have to do with the notion of brain plasticity; the vision that development is driven by an interaction between a person’s biology and the social system. This helps individuals to select and process information, and to adapt to the personal environment. The paper describes how brain maturation and neuropsychological development extend through the important period of adolescence and emergent adulthood. Over this long period, there is a major development of the Executive Functions (EFs) that are essential for both cognitive learning, social behavior and emotional processing and, eventually, personal growth. The paper describes the basic neuroscience knowledge and insights – or “neuroscientific literacy” – that the educational professional should have to understand and appreciate the above-described themes. The authors formulate a proposal for four themes of neuroscience content “that every teacher should know.” These four themes are based on the Neuroscience Core Concepts formulated by the Society for Neuroscience. The authors emphasize that integrating neuroscientific knowledge and insights in the field of education should not be a one-way street; attempts directed at improving neuroscientific literacy are a transdisciplinary undertaking. Teacher trainers, experts from the neuroscience fields but also behavioral scientists from applied fields (notable applied neuropsychologists) should all contribute to for the educational innovations needed.
... 66 In 2008 David McCabe and Alan D. Castel showed in a widely acclaimed study, titled Seeing is Believing, that brain images have an evidence-amplifying function. 67 In this study, subjects rated neuroscientific arguments presented in (partly fictitious) journal articles together with brain images significantly more credible than the same arguments presented in articles that contained bar charts, topographic brain maps, or no visualizations at all. 68 The authors concluded that their findings "lend support to the notion that part of the fascination, and the credibility, of brain imaging research lies in the persuasive power of the actual brain images themselves." ...
Article
Images play a considerable role in the communication of scientific knowledge. This article deals with the recontextualization of originally scientific images in multimodal popular science articles. The focus is on the visual editing of these images, and thus on an aspect of visual design in science communication. I present different types of multimodal transcriptive procedures that are related to the recontextualization and readdressing of images in popular science contexts. Since these procedures may be accompanied by a change in the legibility of visualizations, I will conclude by suggesting possible implications for the evidence potential of popular science images.
... This is certainly consistent with critiques from the social studies of neuroscience Rose and Abi Rached 2013) and from within neuroscience (Choudhury 2010;Raz 2012;Weisberg et al. 2008), in which there is growing attention to the limits of predominant methodologies as well as the ideological reasons behind the rise of the ''seductive allure'' of the neuro-. These researchers urge users of this knowledge to be cautious about the rapid entry of neuroscientific wisdom into social practices, particularly against a background of a strong media appetite for neuro-essentialism (Racine 2011;McCabe and Castel 2008;Weisberg et al. 2008). ...
Article
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In recent years, claims that developmental brain science should inform pedagogical approaches have begun to influence educational policies. This article investigates the promise, pitfalls, processes, and implications of these claims. We explore how research on neuroplasticity has led to enormous interest in harnessing mechanistic models of development for applications in the classroom. Synthesizing analysis from the scientific literature on “neuroeducation” and interviews with key actors in the field, we analyze how neural and cognitive processes are mapped onto pedagogical constructs, and how psychological and social-structural factors are (or are not) integrated into explanations. First, we describe the historical trajectory of educational neuroscience and identify how tensions between antagonist groups struggling for authority over brain-based educational claims shaped the field. Second, we focus on the pervasive use of the concept of “neuroplasticity” in the literature. We argue that it is used as a rhetorical device to create hope and empower children, teachers, and parents through educational exercises that promote neurobiological reflexivity. Third, we turn to the notion of “self-regulation” in the neuroeducational programs. We argue that the rationale of these programs emphasizes the young person’s responsibility in navigating their social worlds through the imperative to enhance their executive functions while failing to adequately account for the role of the social environment in the development of self-regulation.
... Such illustrations that enable an interpretation of the world through scientific results lead to great responsibility, not only in terms of summarizing the research process to peers but also in communicating those results to society, which is today more visual than ever. It is fundamental that informative illustrations used in the media are scientifically rigorous since they influence the public's perception of science, misinformation and problems that affect daily life (McCabe and Castel, 2008;Scheufele and Krause, 2019). ...
Article
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused an overload of scientific information in the media, sometimes including misinformation or the dissemination of false content. This so-called infodemic, at a low intensity level, is also manifested in the spread of scientific and medical illustrations of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Since the beginning of the pandemic, images of other long-known viruses, sometimes imaginary reconstructions, or viruses that cause diseases in other, non-human species have been attributed to SARS-CoV-2. In a certain way, one can thus speak of a case of an imagedemic based on an alteration of the rigour and truth of informative illustrations in the media. Images that illustrate informative data have an influence on the emotional perception of viewers and the formation of attitudes and behaviours in the face of the current or future pandemics. So, image disinformation should be avoided, making it desirable that journalists confirm the validity of scientific images with the same rigour that they apply to any other type of image, instead of working with fake, made-up images from photo stock services. At a time when scientific illustration has great didactic power, high-quality information must be illustrated using images that are as accurate and real as possible, as for any other news topic. It is fundamental that informative illustrations about COVID-19 used in the media are scientifically rigorous.
... We argue that neuroscience has a universal and multidisciplinary vocation, which crosses the departmental borders and aspires to the consilience between sciences and humanities. Nevertheless, as sociological studies seem to testify (Reiner 2011;McCabe and Castel 2008;Weisberg et al. 2008), the predominant conception, both in the scientific community and public opinion, gives primacy to the discourse of neuroscience over other disciplines. ...
Article
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This article examines the basic and dialogical models of neurotheology and suggests a third model based on the work of Aldous Huxley. In other words, this proposal is not limited to understanding this discipline as a mere pursuit of neural correlates or as a dialogue between neuroscience and theology. Instead, it is the search for an integrative understanding of religious experiences in which the study of neuronal correlates is only one of the multilevels to be integrated within the framework of a plural and conveniently articulated explanation of such phenomena. This model, which we call integrative neurotheology, hopes to achieve knowledge of religious experiences that includes a comprehensive range of disciplines. In order to update and give argumentative consistency to this model, we will use philosopher Sandra D. Mitchell’s theory of integrative pluralism, which is a more epistemologically refined expression of Huxley’s intuitions. We conclude that a comprehensive model is feasible although we are aware that this article cannot give answers to all the difficulties that this model possesses. Nevertheless, we expect to open up a new pathway in the studies of religious experience.
... Even indirect context cues, such as those emphasizing the scientific nature of a piece of information can increase the probability that (dubious) information is believed 36 . Some experimental evidence, for instance, suggests that irrelevant neuroscience information [37][38][39] or nonsense mathematical equations 40 can boost the perceived quality of presented claims, though note that replication studies suggest that mere brain images may not suffice 41,42 . Notably, these effects were present only among non-experts (that is, people with little formal neuroscientific or mathematical training). ...
Article
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People tend to evaluate information from reliable sources more favourably, but it is unclear exactly how perceivers’ worldviews interact with this source credibility effect. In a large and diverse cross-cultural sample (N = 10,195 from 24 countries), we presented participants with obscure, meaningless statements attributed to either a spiritual guru or a scientist. We found a robust global source credibility effect for scientific authorities, which we dub ‘the Einstein effect’: across all 24 countries and all levels of religiosity, scientists held greater authority than spiritual gurus. In addition, individual religiosity predicted a weaker relative preference for the statement from the scientist compared with the spiritual guru, and was more strongly associated with credibility judgements for the guru than the scientist. Independent data on explicit trust ratings across 143 countries mirrored our experimental findings. These findings suggest that irrespective of one’s religious worldview, across cultures science is a powerful and universal heuristic that signals the reliability of information.
... Next, we made a distinction between Biological and Non-biological outcomes, since the popularity of ACEs research may lie in the fact that the initial ACE paper examined biological (hence, more "credible;" McCabe & Castel, 2008) outcomes in addition to mental health outcomes. ...
Article
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) lead to excess morbidity and mortality. However, this evidence has not resulted in large-scale efforts to prevent ACEs. We conducted a scoping review of ACEs research to determine its direction and identify advancement toward solutions to prevent ACEs. The review was conducted using PRISMA guidelines. Articles were considered eligible for inclusion if they were empirical studies based on original quantitative data from humans published between 1999 and 2019 and used the term “adverse” or adversity” to refer to a construct under study or a specific measure in the methodology. After a comprehensive search across nine databases, screening of the abstracts of 3,944 articles and the full texts of 2,341 articles, 1,361 empirical articles met inclusion criteria. We coded year of publication; journal name; stated study purpose (e.g., descriptive, intervention); types of adversities used to define ACEs; funding sources and declared conflicts of interest; country of the sample; and affiliation with other studies. To characterize the extent to which ACEs research focuses on ACE prevention, we then coded “narratives” reflected in research goals, with a particular focus on whether this research focuses exclusively on ACEs as the primary predictor variables, or if it integrates “upstream” social determinants of health and health inequities that may lead to ACE exposure. Thus, we coded how the elements of the stated research goals related to ACEs (e.g., predictor, mediator, moderator, and outcome variables) using the World Health Organization’s framework on social determinants of health (Solar & Irwin, 2010). Finally, we coded whether protective factors were included in research designs and the level of these factors (e.g., individual vs. community), and researchers’ recommendations for translating their findings to action. All variables were coded by at least two coders; inter-rater reliabilities ranged from 79 to 100%. We found that 60.6% of articles were based on samples recruited from the U.S.; funding sources have shifted to U.S. institutions with biomedical or clinical concerns; that only 47.2% of articles included in their definition of ACEs all seven items from the original ACE study; and that the dominant narrative about ACEs started with ACEs as the “villains” who begin a story of decline and ended with “victims” who have behavioral and/or emotional problems. Studies overwhelmingly examined the downstream effects of ACEs rather than upstream causes or preventive interventions. That is, only 6.6% of articles proposed protective factors that went beyond the individual or family level; and researchers’ recommendations favored amelioration of ACEs after they occur, with only 20% of articles mentioning primordial or primary prevention. This disproportionate focus on downstream determinants after ACEs have already occurred limits the impact of this research in terms of potential cost-benefit, social justice, and mitigation of health inequities. We recommend that future ACEs research be incorporated into broader, strengths-based and action-oriented frameworks focused on social determinants of health and health inequities; link ACEs to their putative causes as a bridge to primordial/primary prevention; address obstacles to this shift toward upstream causes of ACEs; and communicate findings and recommendations more effectively.
... In addition, in the realm of neurofeedback, many testimonials are not mere attestations to the competence of a provider but rather "miracle cure" assertions regarding what is claimed to be a dramatic, life changing therapy . Furthermore, as other scholars have highlighted, the use of brain imaging and neuroscience images might make alternative neurotherapy services particularly alluring (Chancellor and Chatterjee 2011;Farah 2009;McCabe and Castel 2008). As will be discussed in the next section, issues related to the truthful representation of the evidence base of neurotherapies are particularly pertinent when providers market their services to vulnerable populations. ...
Article
Neurotherapies for diagnostics and treatment-such as electroencephalography (EEG) neurofeedback, single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) imaging for neuropsychiatric evaluation, and off-label/experimental uses of brain stimulation-are continuously being offered to the public outside mainstream healthcare settings. Because these neurotherapies share many key features of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) techniques-and meet the definition of CAM as set out in Kaptchuk and Eisenberg-here we refer to them as "alternative neurotherapies." By explicitly linking these alternative neurotherapy practices under a common conceptual framework, this paper draws attention to, and critically considers, the cross-cutting ethical and legal issues related to the provision of these services. The first section of this paper provides an updated empirical overview of uses of SPECT neuropsychiatric evaluations, EEG neurofeedback, and experimental/off-label forms of brain stimulation. Next, drawing on CAM bioethics scholarship, we highlight the pertinent ethical issues in the alternative neurotherapy context, including the truthful representation of evidence base, marketing to vulnerable populations, potential harms, provider competency, and conflicts of interest. Finally, we consider the principal legal issues at stake for the provision of alternative neurotherapies in the U.S., namely those related to licensing and scope-of-practice considerations. We conclude with recommendations for future research in this domain.
... One may ask what other factors might have affected participants' causality attributions, besides individuals' prior knowledge on temporal sequences of events and their implicit conceptions on the etiology of yet poorly characterized psychiatric diseases. For example, there is some literature on how brain plots nudge the scientific evaluation of lay people [23][24][25][26][27], but in the present study, we did not further investigate how different plots may alter brain and mind primacy. The brain plot we presented in addition to the simulated data was consistent across contexts, and it was solely presented in order to plausibly mimic and ensure consistency with conventional neuroimaging studies. ...
... Phenomena such as overconfidence and underestimated task difficulty are commonly referred to as metacognitive illusions or bias due to the use of multimedia materials in both problem solving (Ögren et al., 2017) and learning contexts (Bjork et al., 2013;Eitel, 2016;Serra and Dunlosky, 2010;Wiley et al., 2014). For example, students tend to confirm statements accompanied by pictures and perceive conflicting text information as plausible (Isberner et al., 2013;McCabe and Castel, 2008;Ögren et al., 2017). Inflated metacognitive judgments may also lead to suboptimal restudy behaviors and less mental effort in text comprehension (Lindner et al., 2018;Ögren et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Pictures are commonly used to represent problems. However, it is unclear how the addition of pictures affects students’ problem-solving performance. The multimedia effect in problem solving describes the phenomenon whereby an individual’s problem-solving performance is enhanced when equivalent pictures are added to illustrate or replace part of the problem text. Using meta-analytic techniques, this study sought to determine the overall size of the multimedia effect in problem solving and the possible boundary conditions (k = 51; N = 38,987; Range n = 10 – 31,842; Median n = 63). The results showed a significant small-to-medium multimedia effect size on response accuracy (Hedges’s g = 0.32) and a significant medium-to-large multimedia effect size on students’ response certainty (Hedges’s g = 0.74), but no significant multimedia effect on response time. The results for the effects of decorative pictures were not sufficient for a reliable interpretation. Representational (Hedges’s g = 0.24) and organizational (Hedges’s g = 0.52) pictures had a significant and positive impact on response accuracy, but informational or multiple pictures across studies did not have a significant aggregate effect on an individual’s response accuracy. These findings suggest that the multimedia effect in problem solving is diverse and limited by multiple boundary conditions. Further primary studies are needed to further investigate the multimedia effect in problem solving.
... Three camera operators were also present. As in our previous study (29), the room resembled that of a cutting-edge neuroscience experiment, with scientific-looking equipment and computer screens displaying brain scans (38). ...
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Background: Ample evidence demonstrates that placebo effects are modulated by contextual factors. Few interventions, however, attempt to combine a broad range of these factors. Here, we explore the therapeutic power of placebos by leveraging factors including social proof, positive suggestion, and social learning. This study aimed to test the feasibility of an elaborate “super placebo” intervention to reduce symptoms of various disorders in a pediatric population. Methods: In a single-arm qualitative study, participants entered an inactive MRI scanner which they were told could help their brain heal itself through the power of suggestion. The sample included 11 children (6–13 years old) diagnosed with disorders known to be receptive to placebos and suggestion (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, chronic skin picking, and migraines). The children were given positive suggestions during 2–4 placebo machine sessions over the span of approximately 1 month. We assessed open-ended treatment outcomes via recorded interviews and home visits. Results: The procedure was feasible and no adverse events occurred. Ten of the 11 parents reported improvements in their children after the intervention, ranging from minor transient changes to long-term reductions in subjective and objective symptoms (e.g., migraines and skin lesions). Discussion: These preliminary findings demonstrate the feasibility and promise of combining a broad range of contextual factors in placebo studies. Future research is needed to assess the causal effects of such interventions.
... Images are also shown to impact how users judge the credibility of information sources in several ways. For example, after seeing an image of a brain, users are more likely to believe claims in certain scientific articles [18,29] while images of smoking increases belief in messages in warning signals [31]. Articles accompanied by alarming images [14] or ones that depict victimization [39] are shown to increase users' selective interaction with the articles. ...
Preprint
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Images are an indispensable part of the news content we consume. Highly emotional images from sources of misinformation can greatly influence our judgements. We present two studies on the effects of emotional facial images on users' perception of bias in news content and the credibility of sources. In study 1, we investigate the impact of happy and angry facial images on users' decisions. In study 2, we focus on sources' systematic emotional treatment of specific politicians. Our results show that depending on the political orientation of the source, the cumulative effect of angry facial emotions impacts users' perceived content bias and source credibility. When sources systematically portray specific politicians as angry, users are more likely to find those sources as less credible and their content as more biased. These results highlight how implicit visual propositions manifested by emotions in facial expressions might have a substantial effect on our trust of news content and sources.
... Neuro-realism is the notion that neurological images (e.g., functional magnetic resonance images [fMRI]) bring an objectivity or realism to the topic that is not possible with psychological or behavioral theory (Racine et al., 2005). This notion was famously explored by McCabe and Castel (2008) who found that images of brain scans increased perceptions of credibility of related scientific research. Relatedly, neuroessentialism is a reduction of complex human characteristics to the brain, or to interactions within the brain. ...
Preprint
This article addresses the use of hype in the promotion of clinical assessment practices and instrumentation. Particular focus is given to the role of school psychologists in evaluating the evidence associated with clinical assessment claims, the types of evidence necessary to support such claims, and the need to maintain a degree of “healthy self-doubt” about one’s own beliefs and preferred practices. Included is a discussion of topics that may facilitate developing and refining scientific thinking skills related to clinical assessment across common coursework, and how this framework fits with both the scientist-practitioner and clinical science perspectives for training.
... Introspection is a qualitative difference between the mental and the physical processes and makes one feels as though one is made of two parts: mind and body (Descartes, 1641;Ryle, 1949). However, the vivid images of the brain ‗‗lighting up'' during mental activity as revealed by fMRI research provides evidence that the mind is a physical phenomenon and much interests are captured to belief in psychological research when it contains information from neuroscience (McCabe and Castel, 2008;Preston et al., 2013). But when scientific explanations are weakly framed, they can actually bolster belief in supernatural and metaphysical explanations (Preston and Epley, 2009). ...
Conference Paper
Mushrooms are undeniably rich in nutritive and therapeutic compounds; nevertheless, they are excellent bio-accumulators of hazardous substances in contaminated conditions. This study aims at investigating the potential human health risk associated with the consumption of mushrooms from two locations in Ibadan, Nigeria. The concentrations of Pb, Cd, Cr, Cu, Zn, Ni and Al in six species of wild mushrooms collected from University of Ibadan Campus and Oki in Ibadan, Nigeria were determined using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. The mean concentration (mgkg-1 ) of heavy metals in the mushrooms ranged from (6.33 – 8.33) for Pb, (1.08 – 1.62) for Cd, (2.93 – 4.81) for Cr, (4.26 – 17.95) for Cu, (1.68 – 5.78) for Ni, (21.63 – 134.40) for Zn, (3.72 – 8.10) for Al. Lenzites betulina recorded the highest concentration for most of the heavy metals studied (Cd, Cu, Ni, Zn, Al) while Pleurotus ostreatus recorded the least concentration for most of the heavy metals (Pb, Cu, Ni, Zn). The Estimated Daily Intakes of the heavy metals in the mushrooms were all within the PTDI limit set by JECFA and WHO. The Target Hazard Quotient values of the heavy metals were all <1, however, the hazard indices of the mushrooms were all >1, indicating health risk. The Carcinogenic Risk values of Cd, Cr, and Ni exceeded the acceptable limit of 1E-04 as set by USEPA with the highest range value (2.92 – 4.37E-03) recorded in Cadmium. Therefore, this study suggests that the consumption of mushrooms collected from metal-polluted substrates increases carcinogenic and non- carcinogenic health risk of mushroom consumers in the study locations.
... Lehrkräfte aller Fächer bekunden großes Interesse an neurowissenschaftlichen Forschungsergebnissen und halten es für nützlich, diese in den Unterricht einzubauen (Dekker et al., 2012). Selbst fehlerhaft interpretierte Forschungsbefunde haben eine große Anziehungskraft, sobald diese durch Bilder vom Gehirn und/oder neurowissenschaftliche Erklärungen gestützt werden (Lindell & Kidd, 2013;McCabe & Castel, 2008). Medien und sogar Bildungsprogramme nutzen diesen Effekt und strotzen vor plakativen und zugleich leeren Versprechen wie ‚Lernen im Schlaf' oder ‚Brain-Gym macht schlau'. ...
Thesis
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The objective of teacher education is to train students to become experts in the field of teaching and learning. However, numerous empirical studies reveal a high prevalence of misconceptions on the topic of learning and the brain – so-called neuromyths – among both pre-service and in-service teachers. For biology teachers, this topic also represents relevant instructional content, as they teach topics such as the structure and function of the brain and long-term potentiation. Thus, it is particularly important for biology teachers to develop scientific conceptions with regard to this topic during their university studies. This study examines whether neuromyths are also prevalent among pre-service biology teachers, and to what extent a university course that explicitly considers students’ potential for learning can contribute to the professionalization of their conceptions of teaching and learning. An educational reconstruction model adapted to the university education context serves as the research and planning framework. Study 1 (published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2019.00020/full) empirically investigates students’ potential for learning by applying questionnaires and knowledge tests to examine to what extent pre-service biology teachers’ conceptions of learning and the brain are characterized by neuromyths (N = 550). The construct of neuromyths is also described in detail and placed in relation to a model of professional competence for biology teachers. By means of questionnaires, study 2 (submitted to Herausforderung Lehrer_innenbildung – Zeitschrift zur Konzeption, Gestaltung und Diskussion) tests the levels and influence of quality criteria in a biology didactics seminar designed by taking into account the mutual interrelation of the assessment of students’ perspectives and scientific clarification (N = 88). This paper presents the planning, design and evaluation process of the university course, provides insight into the scientific clarification process, and summarizes what needs to be considered when applying the educational reconstruction model in university education in the form of an experience report. Study 3 (published in Education Sciences: https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7102/8/3/120/htm) tests the effectiveness of conceptual elements of the university course Brain-friendly Learning – Concept or Myth? as well as the teaching and learning model of professional conceptual change via an intervention study (N = 56). The study focuses on the development of pre-service biology teachers’ professional knowledge, beliefs and misconceptions as well as their self-reported perception and use of the seminar elements. Study 4 (submitted to Zeitschrift für Didaktik der Naturwissenschaften) tests the effectiveness of teaching and learning material that builds upon students’ current conceptions (= conceptual change texts) (N = 40). The study draws upon an offer-and-use model of university teacher education and examines the importance of learning potential, offer and use for effectively combatting misconceptions. The results of all four studies show that neuromyths on the topic of learning and the brain are widespread among pre-service biology teachers and deeply embedded in their belief system. It is also shown that a university course that systematically considers students’ potential for learning can lead them to a conceptual change in the direction of scientifically appropriate conceptions of teaching and learning. In order to reduce misconceptions, it is necessary to explicitly address and refute them, which can occur through conceptual change texts. On a broader level, this study’s results show that an educational reconstruction model adapted to the university education context is well-suited for systematically considering students’ potential for learning in university teaching in order to yield benefits with respect to professional knowledge, transmissive beliefs about teaching and learning, and misconceptions.
Chapter
Forensic “neuroprediction” has caused vivid discussions on potential uses of neuropredictive models of violence as indicators of future dangerous behaviour. One of the relevant concerns is related to the potentially prejudicial and unduly persuasive nature of neuroscientific data. A key question is the way in which neuroscientific evidence is perceived and evaluated by judges and juries. Aiming to explore this issue, we present the results of a pilot study with focus groups bringing together all professionals involved in criminal trials (judges, defence lawyers, experts—neurologists and psychiatrists), in order to elicit their perceptions on uses of neurobiological data in criminal trials, in the context of a psychiatric expertise and to detect potential bias on behalf of the judges concerning the use of neurobiological data.
Presentation
Cette conférence, à destination de professionnel.le.s de l'enseignement, vise a faire le point sur ce qui est (et ce qui n'est pas) fondé sur de la recherche en sciences de l'éducation dans la méthode pédagogique prônée par Céline Alvarez.
Article
The modern information and digital society is radically changing the conditions of life and the ways of social interaction. Intelligent systems are replacing human potential. The replacement of human resources with intelligent systems is happening rapidly and at the same time imperceptibly. Cognitive abilities of students are natural evolutionary-embedded data. The scientific problem of the research consists in the complexity of the phenomenology of the study of unconscious cognitive processes. The purpose of this study is to analyze cognitive abilities and develop a barcode card as a method of a unified measurement system. The Tape line converter was used in the study, which converts qualitative immeasurable indicators into quantitative ones. The results of the study clearly demonstrate the quantitative characteristics of the range of cognitive abilities available to students. The research contribution consists in several directions: an individual characteristic of each function of cognitive abilities has been developed; in the near digital future, intelligent systems that are able to calculate the amount of functionality of cognitive abilities with the help of a CbS barcode card will hire specialists for work. The value of research work consists in a new way of revealing the inner evolutionary inherent in nature and improved by experience and skills of the range of qualities of cognitive abilities. The practical significance of the results of the work can be implemented as a pilot project in the search system for employees for a certain position.
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La neuroeducación, también conocida como neurociencia educativa o Mind, Brain, and Education, es una disciplina de este siglo ofrecida en diversos cursos de posgrado. A pesar de su rápido crecimiento, carece de: definición epistemológica precisa, relación clara con otras disciplinas y suficiente divulgación en el mundo académico. Los objetivos de esta investigación fueron: Analizar los contenidos de las Ofertas de Posgrado en Neuroeducación (OPN) presentes en Universidades Latinoamericanas (UL) y Universidades del Paralelo Norte (UPN); Comparar los Enfoques Teóricos (ET) presentes en las OPN; Determinar posibles relaciones entre el ranking de las universidades y el tipo de ET de las OPN; Realizar una propuesta neuroeducativa para Venezuela. Fue una investigación documental, con enfoque cuantitativo, diseño correlacional y nivel exploratorio. Los ET analizados fueron: interdisciplinario (incluye educadores, psicólogos y neurocientíficos), aplicativo (utiliza aportes de la neurociencia en el aula) y traductor (enlaza neurociencia y educación) definidos a partir de 60 palabras clave. Se analizaron 41 OPN: 24 de UL, en su mayoría de bajo ranking, y 17 de UPN, en su mayoría de alto ranking. Los ET encontrados en las UL fueron: aplicativo (70%), interdisciplinario (23%) y traductor (7%), y en las UPN fueron: interdisciplinario (59%), aplicativo (37%) y traductor (4%). Las OPN siguen siendo relativamente bajas en la población estudiada: 0,80% en las UPN y 3,23% en las UL. Se hallaron evidencias de influencias de la corriente Mind, Brain, and Education en varias UL y UPN. No se hallaron relaciones significativas entre el ranking y el ET de las OPN. El 75% de las OPN proviene de universidades privadas. Ante las escasas OPN en las UL, varias empresas privadas están asumiendo la difusión de versiones distorsionadas de la neuroeducación. Esta tesis aportó un diagnóstico nunca antes mostrado de las UL y un método de análisis conceptual para interpretar el discurso de las OPN. Los resultados de esta investigación sirvieron para la elaboración de varias propuestas de inserción de la neuroeducación en Venezuela, entre ellas: la asignatura electiva Neuroeducación para cursos de pregrado, el seminario Neuroeducación para cursos de posgrado y un modelo pedagógico general llamado C.R.E.A. (Creación-Retención-Emoción-Atención) inspirado en la neurociencia.
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Neuroscience provides coaches with a compelling lens through which to view their coachee’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours. However, enthusiasm for integrating neuroscience into coaching often outpaces the coach’s knowledge of the subject matter. In addition, there is no empirical evidence for the use of neuroscience within positive psychology coaching (PPC) per se. To address these concerns, this chapter considers the lessons learned from two disciplines which have scrutinised the opportunities and limitations of translating neuroscience into practice: educational neuroscience (EN) in the classroom setting and psychoeducation (PE) in the mental health setting. Opportunities exist for the thoughtful development of neuroscience-informed coaching practice including (i) the development of neuroscience-informed content for coaching conversations (the ‘what’), (ii) the development of neuroscience-informed structures or tools for the delivery of coaching (the ‘how’), and (iii) validation of coaching efficacy using neuroscience technology (e.g. testing how coaching ‘works’). Attention needs to turn towards the training of coaches in how to assess, understand and integrate neuroscientific research to ensure the continuation of evidence-based coaching practice.
Article
Educational neuromyths are incorrect ideas about the brain and learning. These ideas pose a risk if they impact learner outcomes. The concern about neuromyths has spurred global research, including teacher surveys about their identification. If such research leads to corrective strategies, the potential beneficiaries are teachers, students, and the field of educational neuroscience itself. This research relies on accurate neuromyth measures, and yet the topic of measurement has been largely ignored. In this review, we focus on key measurement issues surrounding the assessment of neuromyths, and we consider measurement improvements. We show that the framing of items, both the fact and neuromyth, must be improved in future research. These changes are vital to realize the potential benefit of educational neuromyth research. We review the history of educational neuromyths and how this concept is applied in empirical research. We focus on the framing of neuromyth survey items, and how this could be improved to support better understanding of neuromyths and their role in teaching and learning.
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Background The recent COVID-19 pandemic has seen an explosion of coronavirus-related information. In many cases, this information was supported by images representing the SARS-CoV-2. Aim To evaluate how attributes of images representing the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that were used in the initial phase of the coronavirus crisis in 2020 influenced the public’s perceptions. Methods We have carried out an in-depth survey using 46 coronavirus images, asking individuals how beautiful, scientific, realistic, infectious, scary and didactic they appeared to be. Results We collected 91,908 responses, obtaining 15,315 associations for each category. While the reference image of SARS-CoV-2 used in the media is a three-dimensional, colour, illustration, we found that illustrations of the coronavirus were perceived as beautiful but not very realistic, scientific or didactic. By contrast, black and white coronavirus images are thought to be the opposite. The beauty of coronavirus images was negatively correlated with the perception of scientific realism and didactic value. Conclusion Given these effects and the consequences on the individual’s perception, it is important to evaluate the influence that different images of SARS-CoV-2 may have on the population.
Article
Laypeople prefer brain explanations of behavior (Weisberg, Keil, Goodstein, Rawson, & Gray, 2008). We suggest that this preference arises from ‘intuitive Dualism’. For the Dualist, mentalistic causation elicits a mind-body dissonance, as it suggests that the immaterial mind affects the body. Brain causation attributes behavior to the body, so it alleviates the dissonance, hence, preferred. We thus predict stronger brain preference for epistemic traits – those perceived as least material, even when no explanation is required. To test this prediction, participants diagnosed clinical conditions using matched brain- and behavioral tests. Experiments 1-2 showed that epistemic traits elicited stronger preference for brain tests. Experiment 3 confirmed that epistemic traits are perceived as immaterial. Experiment 4 showed that, the less material the trait seems, the stronger the surprise (possibly, dissonance) and brain preference. Results offer new insights into public perception of science, the role of intuitive Dualism, and the seductive allure of neuroscience.
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Wo Psychotherapie mit dem Anspruch verbunden ist, die Linderung psychischen Leidens durch individuelle emanzipatorische Projekte zu unterstützen, drängt sich die Frage auf, ob sie auch etwas zu einer Entwicklung kollektiver menschlicher Lebensformen zum Besseren beizutragen hat. Durch eine doppelte Orientierung an der Kritischen Theorie und der philosophischen Anthropologie erhellen die BeiträgerInnen ideengeschichtliche Konstellationen, die in jener Debatte bislang unbeleuchtet blieben. Mit Stimmen aus der Praxis wie aus theoretischen Diskussionen der Psychiatrie, der Philosophie sowie der Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft tragen sie nicht nur zu einer historisch-kritischen Selbstverständigung der Psychotherapie und ihrer Theorie(n) bei, sondern machen auch deutlich, dass sich in der Kritik der Psychotherapie eine prononcierte Form der Gesellschaftskritik artikulieren kann. Mit Beiträgen von Inga Anderson, Sebastian Edinger, Patricia Gwozdz, Andreas Heinz, Martin Heinze, Christine Kirchhoff, Frank Schumann, Siegfried Zepf und Christine Zunke.
Article
Research suggests that people tend to overweight arguments accompanied by neuroscientific terminology, which is dubbed as the seductive allure of neuroscience explanations (SANE) in the literature. Such an effect might be of particular significance when it comes to physicians and mental health professionals (MHP), given that it has the potential to cause significant bias in their understanding as well as their treatment approaches toward psychiatric symptoms. In this study, we aimed to test the SANE effect among Turkish medical students, and assess its uniqueness by comparing it with a discipline that still maintains an important role in contemporary psychiatric training in Turkey: psychoanalysis. 109 medical students with a basic level of knowledge of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience were asked to rate the credibility of explanations of differing quality (good vs. circular) for psychological phenomena, followed by three types of information: none, neuroscientific (SNI) or psychoanalytical (SPI). Our findings showed that SNI significantly increased the judged quality of explanations for both conditions with the effect being more prominent for circular explanations. On the other hand, SPI had no effect on good explanations but enhanced the judged quality of circular explanations in a level comparable to that of SNI. For the first time, the SANE effect was replicated among medical students and provided preliminary data in favor of a similar effect for psychoanalytically oriented information.
Article
This article presents a historical overview of the role played by neurology patients and clinicians in the development of understanding brain–behavior relationships and argues that, even with the advent of sophisticated functional brain imaging techniques, this clinical approach remains valuable. It is particularly important in the biological study of religion, where there is a danger that piecemeal and reductionist approaches will come to dominate. It is argued that religion is a socially located, multifaceted, and embodied phenomenon that occurs not in the brain but in the lives of human persons. Insights drawn from people living with conditions affecting the brain are thus vital for a full understanding of human identity, spirituality, and religion.
Research
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Il suffit-il de voir pour croire ? L’objectif de cette étude a été d'identifier les antécédents et caractéristiques relatives aux coiffeurs et employés des salons de coiffure qui les pousseraient à pratiquer les techniques de coiffures apprises des autres. Les données ont été collectées à l'aide d'un guide d'entretiens individuels et d'un questionnaire d'enquête administré auprès d'un echantillon constitué de 209 travailleurs dans les salons de coiffure et de beauté de Bukavu. Les données ont été traitées en recourant à l'analyse descriptive et la regression logistique. Les resultats demontrent que la proportion des coiffeurs enquêtés pratiquant les coiffures apprises et celle de ceux qui n’appliquent pas sont quasi-égales (50.7% contre 41.3%). Et que l’expérience dans le métier influençait négativement cette propension à la pratique des techniques apprises mais le fait d’être coiffeur de profession et homme l’influençait positivement. En enquête de terrain, il a été clair que OUI, seing is believing dans le monde de la coiffure, surtout quand on est coiffeur homme mais de manière fortement modifiée car le monde des coiffures est un monde fortement évolutif et les coiffeurs doivent tout le temps adapter les techniques apprises aux demandes du moment, ce qui les pousse à devenir presque totalement inventifs (et ne plus recourir aux techniques apprises) avec le temps.
Article
Scholars have used the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) to explain public opinion on a variety of policy issues and across venues. Recent work in the NPF has expanded the application of the framework beyond textual formats to accommodate policy narratives that are visual in nature. This article asks whether individuals respond differently to visual versus text‐based narratives. The research argues that visuals are more easily understood, dramatic, and memorable than text, suggesting that visual narratives may have a greater influence on policy attitudes. I explore these possibilities using Twitter narratives related to the Dakota Access Pipeline in the United States. Exposure to visual narratives significantly increased perception of issue importance, but contrary to expectations, visual narratives were no more effective at enhancing information recall, shifting attitudes, and encouraging activism than textual narratives. The article discusses possible reasons for these findings, the implications for narrative persuasion, and suggestions for future avenues of research. Chang, Katherine T., and Elizabeth A. Koebele. 2020. “What Drives Coalitions' Narrative Strategy? Exploring Policy Narratives around School Choice.” Politics & Policy 48(4): 618–57. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12367. Crow, Deserai A., Lydia A. Lawhon, John Berggren, Juhi Huda, Elizabeth Koebele, and Adrianne Kroepsch. 2017. “A Narrative Policy Framework Analysis of Wildfire Policy Discussions in Two Colorado Communities.” Politics & Policy 45(4): 626–56. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12207. Shanahan, Elizabeth A., Mark K. McBeth, and Paul L. Hathaway. 2011. “Narrative Policy Framework: The Influence of Media Policy Narrative on Public Opinion.” Politics & Policy 39(3): 373–400. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1747‐1346.2011.00295.x. Los académicos han utilizado el Marco de Política Narrativa (NPF) para explicar la opinión pública sobre una variedad de temas de política y en diferentes lugares. El trabajo reciente en el NPF ha ampliado la aplicación del marco más allá de los formatos textuales para acomodar narrativas de políticas que son de naturaleza visual. Este artículo pregunta si las personas responden de manera diferente a las narrativas visuales versus las basadas en texto. La investigación argumenta que las imágenes son más fáciles de entender, dramáticas y memorables que el texto, lo que sugiere que las narrativas visuales pueden tener una mayor influencia en las actitudes políticas. Exploro estas posibilidades utilizando narrativas de Twitter relacionadas con Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) en los Estados Unidos. La exposición a narrativas visuales aumentó significativamente la percepción de la importancia del problema, pero contrariamente a las expectativas, las narrativas visuales no fueron más efectivas para mejorar el recuerdo de información, cambiar actitudes, y fomentar el activismo que las narrativas textuales. El documento analiza las posibles razones de estos hallazgos, las implicaciones para la persuasión narrativa y sugerencias para futuras vías de investigación. 学者已使用叙事政策框架(NPF)解释有关不同政策议题及场景的舆论。近期NPF研究将该框架的应用从文本形式延伸到基于视觉的政策叙事。本文试图研究个体是否以不同方式响应基于视觉和基于文本的叙事。研究论证认为,视觉图像比文本更易理解、更具有渲染性并且更容易被记住,这暗示视觉叙事可能对政策态度产生更大的影响。通过使用有关美国达科他输油管道(Dakota Access Pipeline)的推特叙事,我对此加以探究。研究发现,视觉叙事显著提升了议题重要性感知,但与预期相反的是,视觉叙事在提升信息回忆、转变态度以及鼓励活动主义方面并不比文本叙事更为有效。本文探讨了这些研究发现可能的原因、对叙事说服(narrative persuasion)产生的意义、以及对未来研究方法的建议。
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Educational Psychologists’ role is closely interlinked with the field of education. The relationship between the neuro-disciplines and education, however, is a complex and, at times, controversial one. This chapter will examine some of the reasons for this, beginning with a discussion of the possible factors behind the appeal of neuro-based information to educators and the general public. Next, an overview of some of the key neuromyths linked to education and learning will be presented, followed by a discussion of the prevalence of neuromyths in education and the possible role of the EP in challenging those.
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Representations of the active brain have served to establish a particular domain of com- petence for brain mappers and to distinguish brain mapping's particular contributions to mind/brain research. At the heart of the claims about the emerging contributions of functional brain mapping is a paradox: functional imagers seem to reject representa- tions while also using them at multiple points in their work. This article therefore consid- ers a love-hate relationship between scientists and their object: the case of the iconoclas- tic imager. This paradoxical stance is the result of the formation of an interdisciplinary approach that brings together a number of scientific traditions and their particular stan- dards of what constitutes scientific evidence. By examining the various ways in which images are deployed and rejected, the origins of these conflicting tendencies can be traced to the technological, methodological, and institutional elements in the work of functional imagers. This approach provides insight into the current demarcation of imaging and reflects on features of visual knowledge. IS THIS THE OPENING PARAGRAPH? Representations of the active brain have served to establish a particular domain of competence for brain mappers, an emerging group at the boundaries of cognitive and neural science, and to distinguish brain mapping's particular contributions to mind/ brain research. At the heart of the claims about the emerging contributions of functional brain mapping is a paradox: functional imagers seem to reject rep- resentations while also using them at multiple points in their work. This arti- cle therefore considers a love-hate relationship between scientists and their object: the case of the iconoclastic imager. This paradoxical stance is the result of the formation of an interdisciplinary approach that brings together a
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The growing controversy over fMRI scans is forcing us to confront whether brain equals mind
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Because graphs provide a compact, rhetorically powerful way of representing research findings, recent theories of science have postulated their use as a distinguishing feature of science. Studies have shown that the use of graphs in journal articles correlates highly with the hardness of scientific fields, both across disciplines and across sub-fields of psychology. In contrast, the use of tables and inferential statistics in psychology is inversely related to subfield hardness, suggesting that the relationship between hardness and graph use is not attributable to differences in the use of quantitative data in subfields or their commitment to empiricism. Enhanced "graphicacy" among psychologists could contribute to the progress of psychological science by providing alternatives to significance testing and by facilitating communication across subfields.
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The wide dissemination and expanding applications of functional MRI have not escaped the attention of the media or discussion in the wider public arena. From the bench to the bedside, this technology has introduced substantial ethical challenges. Are the boundaries of what it can and cannot achieve being communicated to the public? Are its limitations understood? And given the complexities that are inherent to neuroscience, are current avenues for communication adequate?
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As one of the most compelling technologies for imaging the brain, functional MRI (fMRI) produces measurements and persuasive pictures of research subjects making cognitive judgments and even reasoning through difficult moral decisions. Even after centuries of studying the link between brain and behavior, this capability presents a number of novel significant questions. For example, what are the implications of biologizing human experience? How might neuroimaging disrupt the mysteries of human nature, spirituality, and personal identity? Rather than waiting for an ethical agenda to emerge from some unpredictable combination of the concerns of ethicists and researchers, the attention of journalists, or after controversy is sparked by research that cannot be retracted, we queried key figures in bioethics and the humanities, neuroscience, media, industry, and patient advocacy in focus groups and interviews. We identified specific ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) that highlight researcher obligations and the nonclinical impact of the technology at this new frontier.
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Explanations of psychological phenomena seem to generate more public interest when they contain neuroscientific information. 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. We tested this hypothesis by giving naïve adults, students in a neuroscience course, and neuroscience experts brief descriptions of psychological phenomena followed by one of four types of explanation, according to a 2 (good explanation vs. bad explanation) x 2 (without neuroscience vs. with neuroscience) design. Crucially, the neuroscience information was irrelevant to the logic of the explanation, as confirmed by the expert subjects. Subjects in all three groups judged good explanations as more satisfying than bad ones. But subjects in the two nonexpert groups additionally judged that explanations with logically irrelevant neuroscience information were more satisfying than explanations without. The neuroscience information had a particularly striking effect on nonexperts' judgments of bad explanations, masking otherwise salient problems in these explanations.
Article
A growing interest in and concern about the adequacy and fairness of modern peer-review practices in publication and funding are apparent across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Although questions about reliability, accountability, reviewer bias, and competence have been raised, there has been very little direct research on these variables. The present investigation was an attempt to study the peer-review process directly, in the natural setting of actual journal referee evaluations of submitted manuscripts. As test materials we selected 12 already published research articles by investigators from prestigious and highly productive American psychology departments, one article from each of 12 highly regarded and widely read American psychology journals with high rejection rates (80%) and nonblind refereeing practices. With fictitious names and institutions substituted for the original ones (e.g., Tri-Valley Center for Human Potential), the altered manuscripts were formally resubmitted to the journals that had originally refereed and published them 18 to 32 months earlier. Of the sample of 38 editors and reviewers, only three (8%) detected the resubmissions. This result allowed nine of the 12 articles to continue through the review process to receive an actual evaluation: eight of the nine were rejected. Sixteen of the 18 referees (89%) recommended against publication and the editors concurred. The grounds for rejection were in many cases described as “serious methodological flaws.” A number of possible interpretations of these data are reviewed and evaluated.
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Drug addiction manifests as a compulsive drive to take a drug despite serious adverse consequences. This aberrant behaviour has traditionally been viewed as bad "choices" that are made voluntarily by the addict. However, recent studies have shown that repeated drug use leads to long-lasting changes in the brain that undermine voluntary control. This, combined with new knowledge of how environmental, genetic and developmental factors contribute to addiction, should bring about changes in our approach to the prevention and treatment of addiction.
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There is much interest currently in using functional neuroimaging techniques to understand better the nature of cognition. One particular practice that has become common is 'reverse inference', by which the engagement of a particular cognitive process is inferred from the activation of a particular brain region. Such inferences are not deductively valid, but can still provide some information. Using a Bayesian analysis of the BrainMap neuroimaging database, I characterize the amount of additional evidence in favor of the engagement of a cognitive process that can be offered by a reverse inference. Its usefulness is particularly limited by the selectivity of activation in the region of interest. I argue that cognitive neuroscientists should be circumspect in the use of reverse inference, particularly when selectivity of the region in question cannot be established or is known to be weak.
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