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The Uses and Misuses of Neuroimaging Technologies

Principal Investigators: Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston

Funder: The Dana Foundation

Brain imaging technologies such as SPECT, PET, and MRI play an increasingly important role in the study of human psychology, from normal cognition to neuropsychiatric illness. Because neuroimaging technologies are used to study a wide variety of human behaviors, ever more people—scientists who are not expert in the interpretation of neuroimages, as well as clinicians, judges, scholars, journalists, and members of the public—are encountering neuroimages in their work and daily lives. It is vital that these people understand what knowledge neuroimages can—and cannot—impart. This project examined the complexities, assumptions, and conceptual debates involved in interpreting neuroimages. It produced a Hastings Center Report special report, Interpreting Neuroimages: An Introduction to the Technology and Its Limits.