Three Forms of Neurorealism: Explaining the Persistence of the “Uncritically Real” in Popular Neuroscience News

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Neuro-realism is a widely cited concept describing a textual phenomenon in popular science news wherein brain research uncritically validates or invalidates the “realness” of particular beliefs or practices. Currently, no research on neuro-realism examines the variable rhetorical roles of such statements, that is, how they support specialized arguments or enhance social functions across genres of public communication. This article details the nuances of neuro-realism, arguing that neuro-realism is much more than a singular textual phenomenon but a flexible rhetorical vehicle manifesting in at least three forms: commonsense, judicial, and rational. Each form serves a larger argumentative purpose, and each can be consistently linked to a popular news subgenre, illuminating how neuro-realism’s stunning lack of criticality proves permissible and reproducible in popular science publications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWritten Communication
Volume34
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)189-223
Number of pages35
ISSN0741-0883
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

ID: 215412323