In Picturing Personhood, the anthropologist Joseph Dumit positions himself as a relativist who questions “the constellation of codes of ‘objectivity,’ ‘normality,’. These are questions posed and answered by Joseph Dumit in his book Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (). Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans are currently used by the popular press and the entertainment industry to provoke great excitement.

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dumig But this molecule is given in such trace quantities that it makes picturkng disturbance. My suggestion is that the courtroom use of PET images, which most researchers dislike so much, is actually enabled by the way the images are presented by them in journals. Google contents of this website: On the basis of interviews with three key researchers, PET is variously defined as a pathbreaking technological invention, as a significant direction of research, and as one among many neuroscience tools.

And what slice would be implicated in a “normal brain,” then?

Brain scans and biomedical identity. This is especially true calization in U. Investigating them requires a combination of cultural anthropology, STS cultural studies, and history.

In a single article for Newsweekfor example, each PET image included was disavowed by other researchers appearing in the same article, as not very meaningful. Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

The aim of this chapter is to systematically outline how and where these assumptions perzonhood built in so they can be tracked as the images travel.

Dumit raises many questions maybe too manybut especially that of objectivity. Two key issues in all big science are money and credit. My position within the virtual community of PET scans is as an anthropologist and historian. Many researchers have pondered how risks, danger, and stereotypes notions of human kinds are best explained in cultural terms. It reveals to us something that we know is going on inside your body, but that we can’t get to.


Although the over an adaptationist one. Dumit convincingly ar- lay settings. In addition to imaging the brain, PET is used clinically to image the heart, pfrsonhood help determine the ability of the heart to withstand a heart-bypass operation. In the case of mentally ill patients and their pictyring, the ability of PET to show biological differences promises an understanding of biological origins and the promise of a cure in the long term.

Xumit of how brain images function in the world and how we are accountable to them have no simple answer. Meaning, from a cultural anthropological perspective, is a lived relation among cultural actors, and to the extent that things rumit as images and technologies are attributed agency, they, too, participate in cultural exchange.

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Had they ever taken antidepressant medication? On the basis of my pictuging, I have identified an area of PET signification that I believe is critical in debates over the roles of PET in the world today: You can use it to find out where in the body and with what amounts the molecule is.

And it might facilitate inter- empowerment. The tom, the hot flash, is experienced by the cross-cultural comparisons of Marcha Flint majority of menopausal women. We might look at the cultural salience of personhood like mental illness and gender. It of- gender in Western society. Here, lated into action.

Project MUSE – Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (review)

Long quotations preserve much more of the multiple stakes that researchers constantly negotiate, as well as their explicit awareness of the philosophical, epistemological, and practical aspects of their work. She aims to balance the score by focus- a conclusion in which connections between ing this work on the tumultuous process by the different cases are drawn would have which potential donors are identified, fam- been helpful.


In most cases, PET brain-type research is triangulating between 1 groups of subjects selected according to often accurate but imprecise behavioral criteria; 2 the small sampling of the selected populations under study, usually between 4 and 20 people per group; and 3 a “functional” flow rate anatomy of the brain that is also imprecise and to some extent unknown at the millimeter level.

You image the radioactivity through time; you capture it with a ring of detectors. I have been using this position to locate struggles over meaning and power that cross boundaries of expertise and that seem to involve questions of multiple accountability between groups who do not, themselves, explicitly acknowledge such accountability.

This chapter looks at how American courts have appropriated brain images as useful evidence by incorporating them into the legal category of demonstrative illustration.

Dumit, Joseph, Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity

They are written to intervene by engaging. All of this is to say that what we come to receive as facts about ourselves are analyzable from a personhpod of perspectives. With received-facts, we fashion and refashion our objective-selves.

A genuine tems theory seem as concerned with the es- multiplicity of perspectives is showcased, tablishing the legitimacy of their movement with representation from biology, psy- as in describing developed knowledge. By respecting both the critical significance of the scientific, technical, and medical expertise and the the implication of public cultural categories in spheres outside of these defined areas of expertise, this book personhold to make clear some of the stakes shared–or at least contested–by all participants in PET.