Friday, February 27, 2009

x-phi

Katja Wiech is a cheerful young German researcher who is fascinated by pain. She’s discovered many things—for example, when devout Catholics are given electric shocks while looking at a picture of the Virgin Mary they feel less pain than atheists do when administered the same unpleasant treatment.

She works in a set of rooms at the end of a maze of corridors in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. In one room sits a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. The magnet of this machine is so powerful it can seize a mobile phone from your hand,sending it flying through the air.

Her subjects lie flat on the scanner’s bed, their head inside its white tube. A computer by their feet provides various stimuli—images, questions and so on—and is operated from an adjacent room divided off by a glass screen. The noise is very loud. There’s a panic button if her subjects freak out.

Wiech is a neurologist. But here’s the strange thing: she is working with philosophers........

My attention grabbed in three paragraphs and a sentence.
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