Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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We live in a science fiction universe

Also, regardless of the positive spin the author tries to put on this article, I have to say this sounds like One Small Step Toward Your Dystopian Future to me: Scientists use ultrasonic mind control on monkeys

“Brief, low-intensity ultrasound pulses delivered non-invasively into specific brain regions of macaque monkeys influenced their decisions regarding which target to choose,” researchers wrote . “The effects were substantial, leading to around a 2:1 bias in choices compared to the default balanced proportion.” ….

Though a lot more testing of the technology and its potential is necessary, scientists estimate ultrasonic brain manipulation could eventually be used to study and treat decision-making disorders like addiction in humans.

I have several responses.

a) influencing which direction monkeys look does not necessarily seem to be dependent on influencing decision making. I wonder if the researchers are confusing reflexes with decisions. Or if they are defining decision in a really broad way. Would they say that pulling your hand back from something hot is a decision? Because I would not.

b) I can’t see any plausible link between glancing at movement and choosing to take a drink.

c) I’m not sure I believe that addiction is, at bottom, a problem that has to do with decision making.

Just how did the researchers get to any kind of theory about the usefulness of this research with regard to addictive behavior? I bet they spun some confection of theory in the intro and/or conclusion of their paper, because one does that in scientific papers, but when you pull the reflex-to-look-at-motion –> ability-to-influence-addictive-behavior connection out like this, it looks pretty tenuous.

Definitely a science-fiction-y kind of headline though.

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