Human behaviour: is it all in the brain – or the mind?
Neuroimaging is widely regarded as the key to understanding everything we do, but the authors of a controversial new book, Brainwashed, claim this approach is misguided and dangerous
You’ve seen the headlines: This is your brain on love. Or God. Or envy. Or happiness. And they’re reliably accompanied by pictures of colour-drenched brains – scans capturing Buddhist monks meditating, addicts craving cocaine, and students choosing Coke over Pepsi. The media – and even some neuroscientists, it seems – love to invoke the neural foundations of human behaviour to explain everything from the Bernie Madoff financial fiasco to slavish devotion to our iPhones, the sexual indiscretions of politicians, conservatives’ dismissal of global warming, and an obsession with self-tanning.