Here’s a type of study I would like to see less of:
From Nature Precedings: Prepublication research and Preliminary Findings, here’s part of the abstract:
Received 30 January 2009 08:57 UTC; Posted 09 February 2009
Tags: neuroimaging Methods Marketing research Neuromarketing
We now stand at a juncture where cognitive function can be mapped in the time, space and frequency domains, as and when such activity occurs. These advanced techniques have led to discoveries in many fields of research and clinical science, including psychology and psychiatry. Unfortunately, neuroscientific techniques have yet to be enthusiastically adopted by the social sciences. Market researchers, as specialized social scientists, have an unparalleled opportunity to adopt cognitive neuroscientific techniques and significantly redefine the field and possibly even cause substantial dislocations in business models. Following from this is a significant opportunity for more commercially-oriented researchers to employ such techniques in their own offerings. This report examines the feasibility of these techniques.
I hope this goes nowhere. Market research is a big enough social pest already.
Market research is tolerable if we understand that it is part of a sales strategy (those people gotta make a living). But pretending it is some kind of science is a fringe too far, I am afraid.
I believe that neuroscience should stay anchored closely to medicine. Urgent issues confront medical professionals – how to help children with development or behaviour disorders, adults with mental problems, seniors with reduced mental abilities, recovering victims of accidents and disease. What works and what doesn’t are worthy challenges. Figuring out what happens when someone decides to buy red hot scarlet pants as opposed to mean green ones is trivial – and may not really be knowable, precisely because it is so trivial.
Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose
Also at The Mindful Hack:
Consciousness – best understood as like dancing, not digesting?
Psychology: Intelligence does not lead to better judgement, decision-making
Religion on the decline? Maybe, but then again maybe not
The latest on God neurons: There ARE no God neurons
Mind: Yet another effort to explain to materialists why minds are not like computers
The Mindful Hack is my blog on neuroscience and spirituality issues, which supports The Spiritual Brain.