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By on September 19, 2014

We confess it! We are neuroscience junkies. So much so that Shawn and Melissa actually wrote a book on neuroscience for hypnotists called ‘Keeping the brain in mind’.

So it is always a salutary way to keep our feet on the ground when we come across a good article pointing out that neuroscience is in its infancy, and while humanity has made great strides over the last 30 or so years in discovering how the most complex object in the known universe, the human brain, works, we still have a long way to go. That’s why we were so happy to run across this excellent article by Gary Marcus in the New Yorker.

As well as being entertaining there is actually a great piece of information in the article, referring to some research carried out by Deena Skolnick Weisberg in which she demonstrated the power of neuroscience research in convincing people of the truth. MS Weisberg simply wrote papers suggesting some psychological phenomena was caused by some unlikely part of the brain and asked people if they believed the article. She then inserted the words “brain scans reveal” and asked the same question. People were much more likely to believe the second version than the first.

So in spite of the uncertainties of current neuroscience research, let’s soldier on using these awesome neuroscience metaphors to help our hypnosis clients to change. If in doubt just say the magic words, “Brain scans show…”!!!

For a complete range of metaphors see ‘Keeping the brain in mind’

Here’s the New Yorker article:

And then, boom! After two decades of almost complete dominance, a few bright souls started speaking up, asking: Are all these brain studies really telling us much as we think they are? … In the book “Out of our Heads,” the philosopher Alva Noë wrote, ”It is easy to overlook the fact that images… made by fMRI and PET are not actually pictures of the brain in action.” Instead, brain images are elaborate reconstructions that depend on complex mathematical assumptions that can, as one study earlier this year showed, sometimes yield slightly different results when analyzed on different types of computers. Via

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