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Surprising Science

The Rhetoric of Studying the Brain

The whole of human behavior is often seen through the singular lens of the brain. We think the brain controls every aspect of life, which is a dangerous illusion says one neuroscientist.

What’s the Latest Development?


As the brain became the frontier of science, we increasingly thought of our lives as determined by its functioning, says communications professor Davi Johnson. In her new book, she says the influence of brain science rhetoric over how people look at themselves has convinced us that understanding the mind is the first step to changing its every aspect and building a life that is suited to our every desire. This desire to improve one’s self through altering the brain, however, can result in an anxiety-ridden life, says Johnson. 

What’s the Big Idea?

What are the implications of looking at the world through the rhetoric of neuroscience? If we see our mind as the deterministic force in life and as something that can be brought under control through more study, our lives will become over anxious, leading us to overemphasize every moment as one that will permanently make an imprint on our personality. This is especially harmful when it comes to parenting. Parents who obsess over nurturing a child’s brain (and therefore the child) are likely to neglect their own emotional lives to a fault. 


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