“They provide an insightful and comprehensive overview of methods and techniques from the origins of brain science to today’s MRI scanners. However, rather than emphasizing state-of-the-art procedures and technologies, they focus on the limitations of the field…

Mind and brain

…Because the question “what happens in the brain when…?” fits practically any aspect of human activity, fMRI has applied to a wide range of issues—from people’s artistic or religious experiences to their preferences for specific products or political parties. As a consequence, many established concepts in the social sciences gained the prefix “neuro-“ and a perfusion of new disiplines emerged (neuroaesthetics, neurotheology, and neuropolitics, to mention a few). Putting these disciplines under scrutiny, Legrenzi and Umiltà highlight that old knowledge may have been presented as novel just by changing “mind” to “brain,” without bringing actual scientific progress.

In the author’s reading, the brain has become the system of reference in explanations of human mind and behavior, relegating to the background an alternative approach that emphasized the social and cultural [also religious] aspects of the human mind.”

—Ricardo Basso Garcia: “The Mind Inside Our Skull” (Science 20July2012)

This book is relevant because this blog concerns the mind, which is criticized as being less scientific than a study of the brain. The mere mapping of the mind onto the brain has its limitations too. -JVW