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The Brain Scan Image and the Dangers of Brain Porn

What's the Latest Development?

The brain scan may be the iconic scientific image of the early 21st century. Not only does the image represent our growing understanding of the physical processes in the brain, it represents our willingness to accept neuroscientific explanations for just about anything. "Neuroscience is frequently used to discuss psychopathology in particular, with 36% of 'neuroscience' mentions in mainstream articles referring to it. Psychopathology can include anything from dementia, ADHD, and schizophrenia to eating disorders, personality disorders, addiction, depression, and anxiety."

What's the Big Idea?

The danger in explaining aberrant behavior in terms of miscued biology is that essential human elements, such as sympathy and free choice, are removed from the equation. Alcoholism, as a physical disease, helps to legitimate treatment resources but it can also imply that alcoholics are biologically abnormal. By making biological correlates essential to understanding of psychological illness, we often fall victim to the naturalistic fallacy, that what is right is what is biologically prescribed. Brain scans can give the illusion of scientific evidence even when they do not add any substantial information. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Spot On

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