Tuesday, February 11, 2014

brain this, neuroscience that

Brain brain brain brain brain. Neuroscience. People say the word "brain" or "neuroscience" like doing so somehow reveals or explains the universe's greatest mysteries, when in fact, it's just a lot of brain-babbling they're doing. 

One of my biggest pet peeves is when a neuroscientist pretends to offer some profound kernel of wisdom which doesn't even take a neuroscientist to point out. 

Case in point, a recent article on how the architecture and design of Disneyland promotes nostalgia and comforting emotions. I'll quote the relevant sentence here (but I could easily find a hundred others that express the same sentiment.) 

So-and-so "visits Disneyland with a neuroscientist who points out how the fudge-scented air and pedestrian-friendly boulevards make people more relaxed and outgoing."

Great job, neuroscientist. You're so smart. But for your keen neuroscientific brain insights, no one would have ever figured out that smelling fudge makes people happy.