Making Sense of Research on the Neuroimage Bias


Both academic and legal communities have cautioned that laypersons may be unduly persuaded by images of the brain and may fail to interpret them appropriately. While early studies confirmed this concern, a second wave of research was repeatedly unable to find evidence of such a bias. The newest wave of studies paints a more nuanced picture in which, under certain circumstances, a neuroimage bias reemerges. To help make sense of this discordant body of research, we highlight the contextual significance of understanding how laypersons’ decision making is or is not impacted by neuroimages, provide an overview of findings from all sides of the neuroimage bias question, and discuss what these findings mean to public use and understanding of neuroimages.


Psychological Science

Keywords and Phrases

Governance of Science and Technology; Interaction Experts/Publics; Lay Expertise; Public Understanding of Science; Representations of Science; Science Attitudes and Perceptions; Science Communication; Scientific Controversies

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2017 SAGE, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2017