Is It Me or My Brain? Depression and Neuroscientific Facts

Journal of Medical Humanities 24 (1/2):35-47 (2003)
Abstract
This article considers the roles played by brain images (e.g., from PET scans) in mass media as experienced by people suffering from mental illness, and as used by scientists and activist groups in demonstrating a biological basis for mental illness. Examining the rhetorical presentation of images in magazines and books, the article describes the persuasive power that brain images have in altering the understanding people have of their own body—their objective self. Analyzing first-person accounts of encounters with brain images, it argues that people come to understand themselves as having neurotransmitter imbalances that are the cause of their illnesses via received facts and images of the brain, but that this understanding is incomplete and in tension with the sense that they are their brain. The article concludes by querying the emergence of a pharmaceutical self, in which one experiences one's brain as if on drugs, as a new form of objective self-fashioning
Keywords depression  experience  brain images  cultural anthropology  rhetoric  PET scans
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Angela K. Thachuk (2011). Stigma and the Politics of Biomedical Models of Mental Illness. International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 4 (1):140-163.

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