Science and Society

  • Science and Society |

    In this Science and Society article, Tracey and Flower examine how insights and techniques from neuroscience have been and might be used by the military. They also highlight some of the ethical issues raised by the use of neuroscientific knowledge in this context.

    • Irene Tracey
    •  & Rod Flower
  • Science and Society |

    Myths about the brain — neuromyths — have established themselves among teachers worldwide, often contributing to poor practice. Paul Howard-Jones shows how fact became distorted into popular neuromyth by biases and cultural conditions that largely remain, threatening current attempts at authentic dialogue between neuroscience and education.

    • Paul A. Howard-Jones
  • Science and Society |

    The scientific and legal interest in functional MRI-based lie detection has grown rapidly in the past decade. In this Perspective, Farah and colleagues review the scientific state of the art of this approach to lie detection, discuss its legal status and consider broader ethical and societal implications.

    • Martha J. Farah
    • , J. Benjamin Hutchinson
    • , Elizabeth A. Phelps
    •  & Anthony D. Wagner
  • Science and Society |

    In this Perspective article, Reiss and colleagues summarize the most recent neuroimaging studies attempting to determine the neural correlates of humour and discuss the influence of sex, personality traits and certain psychiatric disorders on humour appreciation.

    • Pascal Vrticka
    • , Jessica M. Black
    •  & Allan L. Reiss
  • Science and Society |

    Brain imaging techniques have recently been able to reveal awareness and even allow rudimentary communication in some patients who have been diagnosed as being in the vegetative state. In this Perspective, Fernández-Espejo and Owen discuss these developments and consider their diagnostic, judicial and ethical implications.

    • Davinia Fernández-Espejo
    •  & Adrian M. Owen
  • Science and Society |

    Neuroscientific evidence is increasingly offered in court cases, with neuroscientists often acting as expert witnesses. Jones and colleagues discuss the important roles that neuroscientists serve, as well as the potential problems they, as well as judges and jurors, may encounter.

    • Owen D. Jones
    • , Anthony D. Wagner
    • , David L. Faigman
    •  & Marcus E. Raichle
  • Science and Society |

    Psychology and neuroscience studies have shown that memory is a reconstructive process that is susceptible to distortion. Lacy and Stark summarize the evidence and discuss how this insight could be applied to police and courtroom procedures.

    • Joyce W. Lacy
    •  & Craig E. L. Stark
  • Science and Society |

    The possession of psychoactive drugs is subject to national and international regulations. In this Perspective article, Nutt et al. discuss how this situation makes it extremely difficult to obtain licences and investigate both the therapeutic potential and the potential dangers of psychoactive drugs.

    • David J. Nutt
    • , Leslie A. King
    •  & David E. Nichols
  • Science and Society |

    Since its emergence, the field of neuroeconomics has gained much attention but has also been subject to criticism. In this Perspective, the authors analyse the neuroeconomics literature and the social networks within the neuroeconomics community and consider whether the field represents a truly integrated discipline.

    • Clement Levallois
    • , John A. Clithero
    • , Paul Wouters
    • , Ale Smidts
    •  & Scott A. Huettel
  • Science and Society |

    Maintaining cognitive function and reducing the risk of cognitive decline is a major concern in ageing populations. In this Perspective, the authors discuss the determinants of healthy and pathological brain ageing, and provide insights into how these processes are accelerated and might be prevented.

    • Alexis M. Stranahan
    •  & Mark P. Mattson
  • Science and Society |

    Biomarkers for autism may reveal causes of the condition and could be used to improve diagnosis and enable earlier detection of autism spectrum disorders. Walsh and colleagues discuss the major scientific challenges in the search for autism biomarkers and consider a number of important social and ethical concerns arising from biomarker development and application.

    • Pat Walsh
    • , Mayada Elsabbagh
    • , Patrick Bolton
    •  & Ilina Singh
  • Science and Society |

    Socioeconomic status (SES) influences brain development. Farah and colleagues discuss evidence that prenatal factors, parent–child interactions and cognitive stimulation mediate this effect, and consider implications for alleviating SES-related disparities in mental health and academic achievement.

    • Daniel A. Hackman
    • , Martha J. Farah
    •  & Michael J. Meaney
  • Science and Society |

    In this Perspective, Kraus and Chandrasekaran show that changes in the nervous system that are induced by music training enhance auditory processing, not only of music but also of speech and language. They argue that music training should be provided in schools to benefit children throughout society.

    • Nina Kraus
    •  & Bharath Chandrasekaran
  • Science and Society |

    The use of neuroimaging in product marketing has received considerable business and media attention. Ariely and Berns consider the possibilities and limitations of neuromarketing, arguing that, although not generally cost-effective, it might be useful in specific aspects of marketing. An interview with Gregory S. Berns for Neuropod is available for download.

    • Dan Ariely
    •  & Gregory S. Berns
  • Science and Society |

    Neuroscientists face increasing pressure to disseminate results and discuss their implications with the public. Illes and colleagues consider the challenges that they face and make specific recommendations for individuals and institutions to promote this process.

    • Judy Illes
    • , Mary Anne Moser
    • , Jennifer B. McCormick
    • , Eric Racine
    • , Sandra Blakeslee
    • , Arthur Caplan
    • , Erika Check Hayden
    • , Jay Ingram
    • , Tiffany Lohwater
    • , Peter McKnight
    • , Christie Nicholson
    • , Anthony Phillips
    • , Kevin D. Sauvé
    • , Elaine Snell
    •  & Samuel Weiss
  • Science and Society |

    Advances in brain research capture public attention not only through the media but also through the arts and commercial products. Frazzetto and Anker reflect on the numerous cultural products that are inspired by neuroscience research and highlight the dialogue between science and culture.

    • Giovanni Frazzetto
    •  & Suzanne Anker
  • Science and Society |

    The rates of ADHD diagnosis have increased sharply in most countries around the world. This Perspective examines the current state of scientific research into ADHD and the key social and ethical concerns that are emerging from the use of stimulant drug treatments in children.

    • Ilina Singh
  • Science and Society |

    Magic tricks require the manipulation of the audience's attention and awareness. Macknik, Martinez-Conde and their magician co-authors describe the visual and cognitive illusions that underlie many magic tricks, and the techniques that magicians use to achieve these illusions. An interview with Martinez-Conde for Neuropod is available for download.

    • Stephen L. Macknik
    • , Mac King
    • , James Randi
    • , Apollo Robbins
    • , Teller
    • , John Thompson
    •  & Susana Martinez-Conde
  • Science and Society |

    The effects of particular foods on brain function have long been suspected. Gómez-Pinilla discusses the mechanisms responsible for the action of nutrients on mental function and the potential of diet manipulations to promote mental fitness.

    • Fernando Gómez-Pinilla
  • Science and Society |

    Tracey and Leknes review the emerging evidence of extensive similarities between the anatomical substrates and signalling systems that mediate painful and pleasant sensations. Understanding the relationship between these powerful modulators of behaviour could be important for alleviating unnecessary suffering and improving well-being.

    • Siri Leknes
    •  & Irene Tracey
  • Science and Society |

    Functional MRI has shown that aspects of cognitive and emotional processing and even conscious awareness might be retained in some patients who have been diagnosed as vegetative. Owen and Coleman discuss the clinical, legal and scientific implications of these findings.

    • Adrian M. Owen
    •  & Martin R. Coleman
  • Science and Society |

    Mounting evidence suggests that aerobic exercise improves cognitive function throughout the lifespan. In this article, Hillman and colleagues describe the latest research in humans and non-human animals and discuss the implications for our increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

    • Charles H. Hillman
    • , Kirk I. Erickson
    •  & Arthur F. Kramer
  • Science and Society |

    For millennia, cannabis has been used for its relaxing and medicinal properties. Murray and colleagues shed light on recent findings concerning the potential adverse effects of cannabis use and discuss some societal issues that might benefit from research into the effects of cannabis on the brain.

    • Robin M. Murray
    • , Paul D. Morrison
    • , Cécile Henquet
    •  & Marta Di Forti
  • Science and Society |

    Illes and colleagues examine trends in neuroscience discovery, scientific discourse and public reactions to the dissemination of research findings, drawing on the example of a neurogenetic disorder, autism, to investigate the interactions between these groups.

    • Jennifer Singh
    • , Joachim Hallmayer
    •  & Judy Illes
  • Science and Society |

    Psychiatric symptoms are frequently observed in patients with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. Ballard and Howard discuss the current knowledge, and present an analysis of the efficacy of neuroleptic drugs in treating these symptoms and their adverse effects.

    • Clive Ballard
    •  & Robert Howard
  • Science and Society |

    The gap between neuroscience and education is being filled by packages aimed at helping teachers enhance learning in the classroom. Goswami considers the myths versus the science that is genuinely relevant for education and how we might bridge this gap.

    • Usha Goswami
  • Science and Society |

    The relationship between brain activity and behaviour is an issue of great interest and contention. Eastman and Campbell discuss the differences in the legal and scientific constructs of responsibility, and their implications for the determination of criminal responsibility.

    • Nigel Eastman
    •  & Colin Campbell