"A Mind Plague on Both Your Houses": Imagining the Impact of the Neuro-Turn on the Neurosciences

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


For the past decade, humanists and social scientists have responded to what some have experienced as an encroaching neuro-presence: the proliferation of neuro-disciplines, the adoption of brain-centrism that has accompanied an explanatory shift from gene to neuron, and the media machine dedicated to all things "neuro-." At the same time, neuroscientists have been reacting to hyperbolic media representations and potentially dubious scientific studies (often grouped under a rubric of pop neuroscience). In this chapter, I explore how the effects of the "neuro-" (and even the "neuro-turn") have been imagined for the neurosciences, and I analyze why the neurosciences are discursively-if not realistically-endangered by the "neuro-." I focus on two examples: the 2012-13 backlash against pop neuroscience, and the EU's Human Brain Project. In closing, I theorize some of the stakes for both the neurosciences and the neuro-turn: these include problems of translation, reputation, and marketability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Human Sciences after the Decade of the Brain
EditorsJon Leefmann, Elisabeth Hildt
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780128042601
ISBN (Print)9780128042052
StatePublished - Feb 13 2017


  • Backlash
  • Human Brain Project
  • Mind Plague
  • Neuromania
  • Neuroscience
  • Neuroscientific turn
  • Neuroturn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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