Neuroscience Bootcamp

Currently at a 10 day intensive on Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania called the Neuroscience Bootcamp

http://www.neuroethics.upenn.edu/index.php/education/neuroscience-boot-camp

After a basic introduction to Neuroscience the last two days were focused on research methodology, particularly around the fMRI (physics of how fMRI works as well as reserach approaches). The group consists of legal professionals and professors of law, philosophers, art historians, economists, behavioral science specialists, science writers, educators, and policy makers… and a colleague Fred Eddie who teaches CE, liturgy, and Youth at Duke Divinity School. Will be posting both on twitter and DC Facebook group as I go.

Interesting conversation at the end of yesterday as to why the pictures from fMRI studies seem so compelling. Dr. Geoffrey K. Aguirre (MD, PhD and leading fMRI researcher) noted the power of the machines, the ability to “smooth out” (rightfully) images so they look like they are an organic part of the brain, and societies proclivites to believe more once they see it, probably lends to this phenomenon. Eddie noted that fMRI imagery can prove iconic in a societal “liturgy” of science and health. Eddie was borrowing from James K Smith’s work but this was a powerful insight I think to the formative power within this body of research.

A lot of great information also about the science. I now have a much better understanding of the workings of fMRI machines (their different strengths and abilities) as well as stronger understanding of the statistical variables that go into these studies (and a bit more info to discern good from bad studies). The implications for education, formation, and therapy will be following but this gathering is eye opening. More later.

About Dean G. Blevins

Dr. Dean G. Blevins currently serves as Professor of Practical Theology and Christian Discipleship at Nazarene Theological Seminary. An ordained elder, Dean has ministered in diverse settings and currently also serves at the USA Regional Education Coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene. A prolific author, Dr. Blevins recently co-wrote the textbook Discovering Discipleship and edits Didache: Faithful Teaching, a journal for Wesleyan Education.
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