Dangers of exploiting science without understanding it

Recent years have seen a huge growth in the public awareness of neuroscience. People have become more interested in new findings about the brain, and also find brain-based explanations quite compelling. This public interest has led enterprising individuals to try to apply neuroscientific ideas to more everyday situations.

This trend first began back in the late 1990s with “neuromarketing”. More recent developments involve the use neuroscience in the business world and in education. But, like homeopathy and phrenology many of these applications can be regarded as “cargo-cult neuroscience”.

Consider the Neuroleadership Institute. It was founded in 2007 to “encourage, generate and share neuroscience research that transforms how people think, develop and perform”. Broadly, it seeks to apply neuroscientific research in management and business. It publishes its own journal, and holds meetings around the world where prominent business people and a few scientists deliver seminars. The cost of registering for this year’s two-day summit is US$3280 for non-members of the institute – that is roughly five times what an equivalent academic conference might charge.

The Neuroleadership Institute appears to be selling this stuff pretty successfully too. The public seems to be easily impressed with neuroscience right now, and business leaders don’t have the scientific background to adequately critique these ideas. Someone who cloaks themselves in the appearance of academic rigour and promises new thinking based on cutting-edge neuroscience must seem pretty attractive.

Read the full, original story: How neuroscience is being used to sell quackery in business and education





Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend