Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Decoding the Brain’s Cacophony
Benedict Carey in the New York Times:
Dr. Gazzaniga, 71, now a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is best known for a dazzling series of studies that revealed the brain’s split personality, the division of labor between its left and right hemispheres. But he is perhaps next best known for telling stories, many of them about blown experiments, dumb questions and other blunders during his nearly half-century career at the top of his field.
Now, in lectures and a new book, he is spelling out another kind of cautionary tale — a serious one, about the uses of neuroscience in society, particularly in the courtroom.
Brain science “will eventually begin to influence how the public views justice and responsibility,” Dr. Gazzaniga said at a recent conference here sponsored by the Edge Foundation.
And there is no guarantee, he added, that its influence will be a good one.
For one thing, brain-scanning technology is not ready for prime time in the legal system; it provides less information than people presume.
For another, new knowledge about neural processes is raising important questions about human responsibility.
Posted by S. Abbas Raza at 08:05 AM | Permalink