Lost and Found in Translation: Popular Neuroscience and the Emerging Neurodisciplines

Jenell M. Johnson, Melissa M. Littlefield

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Recent years have seen an explosion in research by scholars from the social sciences and humanities who apply neuroscience to research in their home disciplines. One way these 'neuroscholars' have engaged in conversations with neuroscience is by incorporating books of popular neuroscience into their work. This chapter explores some of the textual changes that result from the translation of neuroscience to popular neuroscience, and through rhetorical analysis, examines how popular neuroscience is used to support claims in emerging disciplines like neuroeconomics, neuroliterary criticism, neurolaw, and neuroeducation. An examination of scholarship from several disciplines - including sociology - reveals that popular neuroscience is often marshaled not as a translation or accommodation of science, but as science itself via two primary rhetorical strategies we have termed 'fact finding' and 'theory building.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSociological Reflections on the Neurosciences
EditorsMartyn Pickersgill, Ira Van Keulen
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84855-881-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-84855-880-9
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Medical Sociology
PublisherJAI Press
ISSN (Print)1057-6290

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)


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