This event is free and open to the public.
RSVPs are not required.
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Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience
Imagine if “Mad Men’s” Don Draper had brain scans to rely at while working on an ad campaign for a potential client. In the 1960s, the standard practice for advertisers was measuring spontaneous pupil dilation of the focus group or seeing who in the room had sweaty palms after viewing a specific ad. But with brain scans, Draper and crew could have just looked at an image, see what section of the brain lit up with a certain color, and they would have known if American housewives really were going to buy Heinz beans. Their jobs would be infinitely simpler, as a good deal of the guesswork when it comes to the consumer’s brain would be conveniently eliminated.
But is it really that easy? Can we just take a picture of the human brain and see all our thoughts and motivations working themselves out in real-time? Not so fast, say Sally Satel and Scott Lilienfeld, authors of Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Neuroscience. When fMRI, or functional magnetic resonance imaging, was introduced in the early 1990s, it allowed scientists to track which brain regions were activated by various stimuli, giving them an unprecedented window onto how the brain works. Since then, brain scans have often been presented as the key to understanding - and altering - our mindsets and our behavior. Yet, although the authors believe that neuroscience is an incredibly promising field, they contend that we need to proceed with caution when it comes to its real-world applications.
About Scott Lilienfeld
Scott Lilienfeld is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Emory University. He lives in Atlanta.
Marc Merlin, Director
Atlanta Science Tavern
Marc Merlin is an Atlanta native, former software consultant, part-time community activist and currently the director of the Atlanta Science Tavern, a grassroots public science forum organized on Meetup.com with over 3,400 members. Marc is the creator and organizer of the Science Track, now in its third year at the Decatur Book Festival.