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Casting Light on the Dark Side of Brain Imaging - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128161791, 9780128163092

Casting Light on the Dark Side of Brain Imaging

1st Edition

Editors: Amir Raz Robert Thibault
eBook ISBN: 9780128163092
Paperback ISBN: 9780128161791
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 15th February 2019
Page Count: 204
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Most people find colorful brain scans highly compelling—and yet, many experts don’t. This discrepancy begs the question: What can we learn from neuroimaging? Is brain information useful in fields such as psychiatry, law, or education? How do neuroscientists create brain activation maps and why do we admire them?

Casting Light on The Dark Side of Brain Imaging tackles these questions through a critical and constructive lens—separating fruitful science from misleading neuro-babble. In a breezy writing style accessible to a wide readership, experts from across the brain sciences offer their uncensored thoughts to help advance brain research and debunk the craze for reductionist, headline-grabbing neuroscience.

This collection of short, enlightening essays is suitable for anyone interested in brain science, from students to professionals. Together, we take a hard look at the science behind brain imaging and outline why this technique remains promising despite its seldom-discussed shortcomings. 

Key Features

  • Challenges the tendency toward neuro-reductionism
  • Deconstructs hype through a critical yet constructive lens
  • Unveils the nature of brain imaging data
  • Explores emerging brain technologies and future directions
  • Features a non-technical and accessible writing style


Students in brain related fields, researchers and clinicians who draw on findings from brain imaging research, and neuro-enthusiasts in general.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors

Introductory Comments to Any Aspiring NeuroJedi: The Right Way to Read this Book
Amir Raz
Robert T. Thibault

Neuroskepticism: questioning the brain as symbol and selling-point
Neuroskeptic, Pseudonymous blogger, Discover Magazine

Section I: Imaging bains: What for?
1. Can neuroimaging reveal how the brain thinks?
Stevan Harnad
2. Is addiction a brain disease?
Scott O. Lilienfeld and Sally Satel
3. How brain imaging takes psychiatry for a ride
Surjo R. Soekadar and David Haslacher
4. Brain-computer interfaces for communication in paralysis
Niels Birbaumer and Aygul Rana
5. Neurohype and the law: A cautionary tale
Stephen J. Morse
6. The brain in the classroom: The mindless appeal of neuroeducation
Gregory Donoghue

Section II: What are we measuring?
7. Brain waves: How to decipher the cacophony
Suresh Muthukumaraswamy
8. On the relationship between functional MRI signals and neuronal activity
Amir Shmuel
9. MRI artifacts in psychiatry: Head motion, breathing, and other systematic confounds
Robert T. Thibault and Amir Raz
10. When the brain lies: Body posture alters neural activity
Robert T. Thibault

Section III: The devil's in the details
11. The replication challenge: Is brain imaging next?
David Mehler
12. Power and design considerations in imaging research
Marcus R. Munafò, Henk R. Cremers, Tor D. Wager and Tal Yarkoni
13. Why neuroimaging can't diagnose autism
Robert T. Thibault, Lauren Dahl and Amir Raz

Section IV: Neuroimaging: Holy Grail or false prophet?
14. From mind to brain: The challenge of neuro-reductionism
Ian Gold
15. The power of belief in the magic of neuroscience
Jay A. Olson
16. Neuroplacebos: When healing is a no-brainer
Samuel Veissière
17. Brain imaging and artificial intelligence
Uri Maoz and Erik Linstead

Section V: Can we train the brain better?
18. Noninvasive brain stimulation: When the hype transcends the evidence
Jared Cooney Horvath
19. Neurofeedback: An inside perspective
Jimmy Ghaziri and Robert T. Thibault
20. The (dis)enchantment of brain-training games
Sheida Rabipour
21. What's wrong with "the mindful brain"? Moving past a neurocentric view of meditation
Michael Lifshitz and Evan Thompson
22. "Backed by neuroscience": How brain imaging sells
Lauren Dahl and Amir Raz

Section VI: What next?
23. From regions to networks: Neuroimaging approaches to mapping brain organization
Ricky Burns, Daniel S. Margulies and Philipp Haueis
24. Whole-brain modeling of neuroimaging data: Moving beyond correlation to causation
Morten L. Kringelbach and Gustavo Deco
25. Connecting networks to neurons
Michael I. Posner
26. High field magnetic resonance imaging
Alayar Kangarlu

Robert T. Thibault


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2019
15th February 2019
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Editors

Amir Raz

Amir Raz

Amir Raz, PhD, ABPH, is Canada Research Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention at both the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University and the SMBD Jewish General Hospital. He received his PhD in computation and information processing in the brain from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He went on to be a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Michael I. Posner at the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He was then appointed to the position of Assistant Professor at Cornell University and subsequently at Columbia University in the City of New York. He is the recipient of multiple accolades, including the 2006 Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders and the 2005 Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association (Division 30). Professor Raz is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychological Hypnosis. Having examined the safety and efficacy of psychiatric drugs across development, his active research interests span the neural and psychological substrates of attention, self-regulation, expectation, placebo, and consciousness. He is also conducting research into developmental psychopathology, the cognitive neuroscience of culture, authorship processes and atypical cognition. Using neuroimaging and other state-of-the-art techniques, his research elucidates the relationship between disparate attention networks and attentional planes such as hypnosis.

Affiliations and Expertise

Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Robert Thibault

Robert Thibault

Robert Thibault earned his Ph.D. from the Integrated Program in Neuroscience at McGill University. He investigates how and why we image the living human brain. His research has highlighted the psychosocial and placebo phenomena involved in neurofeedback and raised body posture as an important variable in brain imaging research. He now focuses on how to expedite scientific discoveries through efficient research systems and rigorous experimental practices—in other words, meta-research. His work is supported by a scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Affiliations and Expertise

Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


"With the advent of advanced brain-imaging technologies, psychologists are finally in a position to understand the neural underpinnings of mind and behavior. Raz and Thibault cover the fads and fallacies and pitfalls while still celebrating the achievements, and potential, of neuroscience." – John F. Kihlstrom, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley

 “A dazzling collection of short, engaging writings on the hype, controversies, promises, and excitement generated by imaging the human brain. Great read for both neophytes and experts.” – Marco Iacoboni, Author, Mirroring People; Professor, UCLA

Ratings and Reviews