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Good old-fashioned ethnography of laboratory

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Author(s): Łukasz Afeltowicz

Journal: Avant : Journal of Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Vanguard
ISSN 2082-7598

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1/2013;
Start page: 383;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: ethnography of laboratory | fMRI | cognitive neuroscience | multimodal interactions | science and technology studies | embodiment

ABSTRACT
Handling Digital Brains proves that ethnography of the laboratory is still capable of making a significant contribution in the field of social studies on science and technology. The reviewed work presents details of interactions between researchers, as well as between researchers and their material equipment, which are key to explaining the methods of solving research problems when analyzing brain scans generated during fMRI experiments. Significantly, the reconstructed multimodal embodied practices shed light not only on the process of scientific cognition, but also on a broader spectrum of human cognitive activities. The book constitutes a challenge of a kind to neurocognitive sciences. As the author shows, cognitive neuroscientists utilizing fMRI declare that they study the embodied mind; yet, in practice, they reduce the body to the brain, and cognition – to purely internal processes. Such a model of cognition, (tacitly) assumed by experimental neurocognitive scientists, turns out to be insufficient when used reflexively in order to explain the way neuroscientists themselves solve problems.
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