Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1 hot brain pic > 1k words?

Pretty pictures of brains with some parts lit up: Do they convince us that scientific results are real? Do they convince us more than text or bar graphs? McCabe and Castel ask these questions in their 2008 article "Seeing is Believing".

(The above is not an actual figure. It was pirated mercilessly from a   paper unrelated to this post by yours truly.)

Last Wednesday, Dr. Karen Rommelfanger presented McCabe and Castel's paper at the first meeting of a new journal club hosted by the Neuroethics Program at the Emory Center for Ethics. Karen began by talking about how pervasive those pretty pictures of brains have become. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) seems to be everywhere (a good introduction to how it works can be found here). Some companies, such as Cephos ("The science behind the truth") and NoLieMRI (who make up for their lack of a snappy slogan with their rhyming name), claim to use fMRI scanners as giant lie detectors, while other companies promise that they can use neuroimaging and related techniques to help with marketing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Now about this brain business

On the Neurobusiness Group website the text, "Amygdala activation can tell us from first impression whether leaders are profitable or have greater leadership ability," is displayed at the bottom of a picture of a faceless man in a well-tailored business suit. He is standing in a ready position, tie blowing in the wind, in front of a backdrop of expansive monochromatic blue mountains. He is back-lit by sunlight, and a laser beam of light slices through the sky as if to grant him special other-worldly gifts from the heavens. The perspective is set so that you feel you are below looking up to him, as you aspire to be him, from a lower (management) position. And perhaps the most clever detail is that the man's face isn't well-defined sending the message that, "This could be your face. You can be this guy with high amygdala activation foretelling exceptional leadership ability above those with low amygdala activation."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Post-doctoral position in Bioethics/Neuroethics at the University of Geneva

An amazing opportunity to do postdoctoral research in neuroethics in Switzerland!

Post-doctoral position in Bioethics/Neuroethics

The Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Geneva Medical School in Switzerland is opening one post-doctoral position in bioethics. This position is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9/11 Memories and Neuroscience

As part of the opening 9/11 events at Emory there was an excellent panel discussion on memorialization moderated by the Center for Ethics, Dr. Edward Queen and led by ILA’s Dr. Angelika Bammer, and Psychology’s Dr. Marshall Duke, as well as his brother, Mike Duke, a survivor of the World Trade Center attack.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Announcing the Neuroethics Scholars Program @ Emory University



Are you interested in the ethical and social implications of neuroscience and neurotechnology?


The Neuroethics Program of the Emory Center for Ethics is proud to announce the Neuroethics Scholars Program. The program is open to graduate students in any discipline who want to develop their interests at the intersection of neuroscience and ethics.

Deadline for applications: October 15, 2011

Sponsored by the Emory Center for Ethics and its Neuroethics Program, and funded by the Emory Neurosciences Initiative, the Neuroethics Scholars Program is an unprecedented opportunity for Emory graduate studentsto become active in the national Neuroethics community.

Graduate students are invited to propose collaborative or independent projects of interest to them, which could include areas such as:

  • Developing Neuroethics curricula and co-teaching Neuroethics topics in both academic and public arenas
  • Developing and executing interdisciplinary empirical Neuroethics research projects
  • Developing and implementing New Media projects to promote awareness of Neuroethics topics and public outreach
  • Exploring the application of neurotechnology in political, social, educational, or health arenas.

Applications with new and innovative ideas that challenge the boundaries of Neuroethics are strongly encouraged.


Scholarship support is $4000 per year and can be used to supplement current stipends with the approval of the student’s mentor or Division Graduate Supervisor (DGS).

For more information, please visit our website.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

David Eagleman visiting Decatur Book Festival

Dr. David Eagleman, neuroscientist and New York Times best-selling author, will be attending AJC’s Decatur Book Festival this Sunday, Sept 4 as part of his book tour on “Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain.” Dr. Karen Rommelfanger a neuroscientist from the Center for Ethics, Neuroethics Program at Emory University will be introducing Dr. Eagleman. Dr. Eagleman is the director of Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. The website is cleverly named “neulaw.org” reflecting the idea that neuroscience may inform new practices in law that reduce recidivism and emphasize rehabilitation–something he calls “Rational Sentencing.” Essentially, he believes, “You are your brain,” and by using neurorehabilitation, he promotes a “libertarian sentencing” where criminals can rehabilitate themselves.

A video of Dr. Eagleman speaking about neurolaw can be viewed below.

A video of Dr. Eagleman speaking about his book, Incognito, can be view below.

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David Eagleman
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Want to cite this post?
Rommelfanger, K. (2011). David Eagleman visiting Decatur Book Festival. The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on , from http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2011/09/david-eagleman-visiting-decatur-book.html