Fooled by the brain: Re-examining the influence of neuroimages

Nicholas Schweitzer, D. A. Baker, Evan F. Risko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A series of highly-cited experiments published in 2008 demonstrated a biasing effect of neuroimages on lay perceptions of scientific research. More recent work, however, has questioned this bias, particularly within legal contexts in which neuroscientific evidence is proffered by one of the parties. The present research moves away from the legal framework and describes five experiments that re-examine this effect. Experiments 1 through 4 present conceptual and direct replications of some of the original 2008 experiments, and find no evidence of a neuroimage bias. A fifth experiment is reported that confirms that, when laypeople are allowed multiple points of reference (e.g., when directly comparing neuroimagery to other graphical depictions of neurological data), a neuroimage bias can be observed. Together these results suggest that, under the right conditions, a neuroimage might be able to bias judgments of scientific information, but the scope of this effect may be limited to certain contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-511
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Bias
  • Judgment
  • Neuroimages
  • Persuasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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