cognitive science

Let’s Get Off the Pop-Neuroscience Bandwagon

by GERALD LOMBARDI Interest in the unconscious and the instinctual has been on the ascent for several years now in many research realms that EPIC members inhabit. In consumer research particularly, where I’ve been a practicing anthropologist for years, the findings of neuroscience, cognitive science and the brand of social psychology called behavioral economics have driven an upsurge of interest in what lies below the surface of overt action. They all promise new ways to explain why people do what they do, and have provoked a sizable shift in research methods and goals. The consequences of this for our understanding of people have not been all good. The consequences for society are downright scary. I’ll explain; but first, some background. How We Got Here The underlying science behind this change in perspective is a set of still-emerging findings about how the brain works, how behavior in social contexts is genetically and physiologically influenced, and the role of evolutionary pathways in determining our mental structures....