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Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Who's Afraid of the Science Section?
"Now that scientists have spotted the pain and pleasure centers in the brain, they’ve moved on to more expensive real estate: the brain’s shopping center. They have been asking the big questions:

What is the difference between a tightwad’s brain and a spendthrift’s brain?

What neurological circuits stop you from buying a George Foreman grill but not a Discovery Channel color-changing mood clock?

Why is there a $2,178.23 balance on my January Visa bill?

This last question isn’t yet fully answered, even after I stared at said Visa bill while lying inside a functional M.R.I. machine at Stanford University. But scientists are closer to solving the mystery. By scanning shoppers’ brains, they think they’ve identified a little voice telling you not to spend your money. Or, in my case, a voice saying, “At this price, you can’t afford not to buy the mood clock!”

Full story here.

This is what I call a great science piece! Informative, educational and very, very funny. Overall, a great reading experience! The subject was not exactly of top interest to me, but the story caught me! First because the title was a bit unusual for a science-focused story and then because of the author's tone.

Tags: Journalism, Science

posted by Alina @ 7:10 PM  
  • At 1/16/2007 11:25 PM, Blogger Luci Sandor said…

    We have a scanner in Princeton too. Actually I have been in the scanner a few times, let alone the other side of the window. What I saw is that a compensation of 40 USD is not drawing very much of an audience, and in regards to motivation it is like nothing. (Actually this is the ethical way to do it, you don't want the participants to come just because thet're paid. Otherwise, e.g, they might experience life-threatening conditions in the scanner, but won't say a thing because they would loose too much money.) So, IMHO, these people had zero motivation and it was something else.
    On the other hand, what to you think of this?

  • At 1/17/2007 8:38 AM, Blogger Alina said…

    Well, maybe they had a different motivation, not the amount in itself. Like curiosity: what does this thing do, what can I actually get for that amount, etc.

    The article you recommended sounds interesting. Never gave too much thought to what makes our moral judgment. But I think it is natural to have emotions play a certain role, not only reason. I am curious about their results. Is there a full version of it available on the Internet?

  • At 1/17/2007 8:41 AM, Blogger Alina said…

    Nevermind that last question. I'll register first, see if I can see the full version :P

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Name: Alina
Home: Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
About Me: "This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts". It's also where I feel free and my preferred means of expression.
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