Neurophysiology in the news

Part I

Find a popular press article online or in a newspaper or magazine (not a blog) about a neurophysiology experiment that uses fMRI or another imaging technique to illuminate some aspect of human behavior or experience (emotions, violence, intelligence, irrationality, attention, etc). Then read the scientific research publication it references.

In about 500 words describe the area of cognitive neuroscience that the paper is centered on giving an introductory overview of the topic and what is currently know about that area of neuroscience. This will set the scene for the research article that you have chosen to describe and review the popular press article.  

Part II

In 500 words give a short overview of the original research paper and its findings. Briefly describe the research premise and main findings. Discuss the conclusions of the paper made by the authors and in your own words discuss the implications of this paper. Is the data presented in this article robust? Does the paper represent a major breakthrough in this area of research, are the conclusions convincing? What are the limitations of the research and its findings? How robust a technology is fMRI and what are its limitations? How is fMRI used in cognitive neuroscience, is it a good choice of technique to use? What studies could follow this one to support the reported findings? Does this paper significantly increase our understanding of a cognitive neuroscience topic? 

Part III

Now in the next 500 words review the popular press presentation of the research. The following questions should guide your analysis: What claims of significance and implication are made in the scientific publication, and how are these recast as they move into the public domain? What popular cultural assumptions and attitudes are embedded in the original presentation of scientific research, and which are added or amplified in its popular retelling? What hopes, fears, and speculations get voiced in the popularization of the research? What limitations of the experimental setup and qualifications on the results are excluded/overlooked? How does the presentation enhance or distort the research presented in the scientific publication?

Neurophysiology in the news

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