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New Souls for Old

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2013

Anne Jaap Jacobson
Affiliation:
Center for Neuro-Engineering and Cognitive Science, University of Houston

Abstract

John Hibbing's paper prompts me to outline three points: (1) Cognitive psychology and neuroscience are developing a new picture of human beings' cognitive functioning, broadly understood. One startling implication is that we often understand ourselves much less well than we are inclined to think. (2) It is seriously mistaken to think that reading the output of an fMRI experiment is as easy and clear as interpreting a realistic picture. Among other things, various interpretations of an output may be equally acceptable. (3) Neuroscience can, and has been, used to support widespread prejudices, such as the intellectual inferiority of the female mind. Major researchers have given in to the temptation to see their older views in the new sciences of the mind. The second and third points may well lead us to think that incorporating the insights from the new fields involves us in genuinely interdisciplinary research. At the very least, we cannot count on skimming through an admired text to find out what is right. But serious research that spans different disciplines can be immensely rewarding.

Type
Reflection Response
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2013 

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References

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