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Neurocultures

Glimpses into an Expanding Universe

Francisco Ortega and Fernando Vidal

Neurocultures offers «glimpses» into an expanding universe of knowledge, beliefs and practices characterized by the conviction that human activity is governed by the structure and functioning of the brain. The 1990s were the Decade of the Brain, and the first hundred years of the new millennium have been proclaimed its Century. Described as the most complex of all organs, the brain has become a major icon of contemporary culture. Brain imaging technologies are used in a large number of disciplines, and are increasingly applied in settings of potential social and legal relevance. It is often proclaimed that the neurosciences will bring about major transformations in notions and practices of the human in areas as diverse as spirituality and self-help, marketing, the law, education, or the classification and treatment of mental disease. Neurocultures explores these expectations, their history, their contexts, and the debates they raise, in a broad range of fields, including enhancement, meditation, neuroethics, the «social brain», psychedelic research, psychoanalysis, psychiatric and neurological conditions, and cinema and literature.