Date of this Version
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Brain scans have frequently been credited with uniquely seductive and persuasive qualities, leading to claims that fMRI research receives a disproportionate share of public attention and funding. It has been suggested that functional brain images are fascinating because they contradict dualist beliefs regarding the relationship between the body and the mind. Although previous research has indicated that brain images can increase judgments of an articleʼs scientific reasoning, the hypotheses that brain scans make research appear more interesting, surprising, or worthy of funding have not been tested. Neither has the relation between the allure of brain imaging and dualism. In the following three studies, laypersons rated both fictional research descriptions and real science news articles accompanied by brain scans, bar charts, or photographs. Across 988 participants, we found little evidence of neuroimagingʼs seductive allure or of its relation to self-professed dualistic beliefs. These results, taken together with other recent null findings, suggest that brain images are less powerful than has been argued.
© MIT Press
brain imaging, fMRI
Hook, C. J., & Farah, M. J. (2013). Look Again: Effects of Brain Images and Mind-Brain Dualism on Lay Evaluations of Research. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25 (9), 1397-1405. http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00407
Date Posted: 16 February 2015
This document has been peer reviewed.