An article in the Feb 2018 issue of "JAMA Neurology" celebrates
the 200th bicenntennial of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" whose
neuroscience relevance is the implication of "Two Brains", that is,
"normal brains" and "Abby normal Brain (tm, Mel Brooks)".  See:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/article-abstract/2666191?redirect=true

Whatis interesting is that the novel does not contain this implication
at all,rather, there are bioethical issues about the research and its
justification (would it pass a current day IRB? See:
Harrison G, Gannon WL. Victor Frankenstein’s
Institutional Review Board Proposal, 1790. Sci Eng
Ethics. 2015;21(5):1139-1157. ).

The issue of two brains with one containing structures and processes
that lead to criminal behavior is actually developed in the movies
(just another example of why movies are a terrible source of
information about psychology, especially scientific research and
results; from the movies I assume all clinical psychologist sleep
with their patients ;-). The following quote provides the common view
of what Shelley was saying in the novel:

|Scholars have agreed that Mary Shelley was concerned about
|the unbridled pursuit of knowledge, fame, and power destroying
|the moral fabric of the scientist.10 She wrote that in seeing his
|Creature, a shocked Victor Frankenstein asked himself, “What
|have I created?”1 Neurologists (and Tinseltown) today may ask
|a similar question.

It seems like this article would be appropriate for a variety of courses,
from intro psychology (e.g., movies provide incorrect information about
scientific psychology), cognitive neuroscience (e.g., the overreach of
neuroscience in trying to explain behavior and cognition at the expense
of social and cultural factors which may lead to criminal behavior instead
of brain structures as the causal factors), and psychology and media
(e.g., when scientific psychology research is presented in movies tell
your students to locate the published research articles the serves as
the basis for the claims made about behavior [note secondary
sources like textbooks, pop sci articles and books, etc.]).  On the latter
point, the general public's lack of familiarity with scientific issues,
scientific psychology, and critical textual analysis of literature and its
various forms (which includes movies; how many people who teach
a Psychology and Media course include texts on literary text analysis?).

Then again, if the psych and media course is only supposed to be a
student magnet where the main point is just watching movies for fun
and not for distinguishing facts from fiction (anyone point out that
the Star Wars movies have great sound effects in outer space which
makes for exciting action scenes but, of course, since outer space
cannot transmit sound [use "2001" for comparison], all the action
scenes would be silent except for background music -- show action
science with the sound on and off and ask what reactions students
have to the two modes of presentation). then don't bother with articles
like this or other articles that show how movies misrepresent science.
A course like that would not be any fun at all. ;-)

Sidenote:  anyone notice how the movie "Kingsman: The Secret
Service" snuck in neurolinguist programming as part of the agent
training?  The three agents who use the techniques in trying to
seduce a person in a club act as though they are effective techniques
in making a person comply with the speaker's conversation goals
(in this case, having sex with the person).  A good assignment for
this scene is to ask students to find the peer-review literature that
support these techniques (good luck on that).

-Mike Palij
New York University
m...@nyu.edu

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