The appeal of the brain in the popular press

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the advent of human neuroimaging, and of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in particular, the popular press has shown an increasing interest in brain-related findings. In this article, I explore possible reasons behind this interest, including recent data suggesting that people find brain images and neuroscience language more convincing than results that make no reference to the brain (McCabe & Castel, 2008; Weisberg, Keil, Goodstein, Rawson, & Gray, 2008). I suggest that part of the allure of these data are the deceptively simply messages they afford, as well as general, but sometimes misguided, confidence in biological data. In addition to cataloging some misunderstandings by the press and public, I highlight the responsibilities of the research scientist in carefully conveying their work to the general public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)762-766
Number of pages5
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Fmri
  • Media
  • Neuroscience
  • Public

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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