Saturday, May 02, 2009

Neuroscience: More on the You Do Voodoo neuroscience

In the NewsWeek blog, Sharon Begley, co-author of The Mind and the Brain, writes,
Since the original criticism of fMRI studies earlier this year by Ed Vul and his colleagues, neuroscientists seem to have gotten more aware of statistical pitfalls that can skew their results. But there is no question that passions are running high and that back-biting and defensiveness have set in. At least one attempt to get critics and criticized together in the same room blew up.
Well, if all these people were little rays of sunshine, that wouldn't be happening, right?

Go here for background on this growing controversy on the usefulness of social neuroscience.

I have said before and let me say it again: I think neuroscience should be firmly anchored in medicine, not in random searches for all kinds of political or social information.

If neuroscience can help Grandpa Joe keep his memory a few years longer or cousin Jane (the one who never had any luck in school) learn a bit better (without drugs), there will be objective ways to measure the findings - and there will be people who encourage its funding, even in hard times.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

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