start the week with neuroscience

radio.jpgToday’s ‘Start the Week’ on BBC Radio 4 features Steve Rose discussing advances in neuroscience, in drug treatments (for illnesses or mind-enhancement) and the ethical issues that the public will have to increasingly deal with.

Andrew Marr, the presenter, uses this lovely metaphor for brain scanning. It is like, he said (i paraphrase), looking at the outside of a darkened house at night, a house which contains someone moving from room to room turning on and off lights as they do. So when we look at an fMRI scan we might know which neural and/or mental ‘room’ they are in, but we’ve no idea what they’re doing there. Steve Rose agreed: “I don’t believe we’ll ever be able to tell what a person is thinking from a brain scan” (although he added that some of his colleagues would disagree with him).

If you’d like to hear the show, you can listen again here

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