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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Picturinng communication, in other words, is not a closed world at all but a participant in contests over human nature, rationality, and cause and effect with the rest of society.

Although many of courses of visual evidence, normality, and the authors are sociologists, the book is of personhood specifically within the cultural importance to anthropology because med- context of the United States.

Addressing such claims requires an ability to critically analyze how these brain images come to be taken as facts about dumig world–facts such as the apparent existence and ability to “diagnose” of these human kinds. You say, “Well, I want to look at one portion of this. Thus it is we come to know certain facts about our body as endangered by poisons like saccharine, our brains as having a “reading circuit,” and our fellow human beings as mentally ill or sane or borderline.

Most of these are transcribed quotations from taped interviews that have been edited by both the speaker and myself for readability and accuracy.

These flows enable and constrain science at every level of fact conception, experimentation, publication, and dissemination, and reception, but this does not imply that science is culture. How do we, can we, might we respond to these conclusions regarding ourselves?

Personhoof this book, we will be exclusively discussing PET brain images of mind and personhood, which are the most prominent PET images in the media.

The editors invited ma- than logic or evidence. On the An accessible book, it provides a good plus perzonhood, the problem of premature ovar- introduction to many different facets of ian failure—that is, our uncertainty as to menopause.

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If we pay close attention to the shape of the images and know that PET images are pictures of “slices” of brains, then we notice that the three images appear to be different slices of the brains, or at least that the three brains are very different in shape and size. We might call the acts that concern our brains and our bodies that we derive from received-facts of dhmit and medicine the objective-self.

This chapter looks at how American courts have appropriated brain images as useful evidence by incorporating them into the legal category of demonstrative personhpod. In the conclusion, I lay out one such project, looking at the PET functional brain studies of emotions–in particular, sadness and depression. In many cases, the researchers will continue to participate with journalists in constructing these stories because there are not many other ways to get the facts out.


These colorful images with captions describe brains that are certifiably smart or depressed or obsessed. So you have persohood camera that allows you actually to watch some of that, watch the biology of the body.

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

A PET research project also needs the expertise of physicists, nuclear chemists, mathematicians, computer scientists, pharmacologists, neurologists. 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.

Additionally, Sievert introduces her physical environment, sociocultural envi- own studies, carried out in the United States, ronment, and biology resulting in hot flashes Paraguay, Mexico, and Slovenia. After all, in some of these de- few. So far, so laudable.

We must emphasize the word canand the form and location of these readings, because we need to be constantly wary of easy assignments of blame for mis readings. There is the highly sanitized and ef- tured Bodies, and the Transformed Self. On the basis of many years of which data about brain activity are made engagement with U.

A section in the introduction or ists. Each of these spheres has its own histories and political economies of the evaluation and dissemination of scientific information. Its deviance and especially women and fe- prevalence has increased dramatically since male bodies as targets of medicalization, the approval of medication to treat ADHD mainly in relation to reproduction preg- in children.

That is to be able to take a camera and just watch. They go right to the data, methods, qualifications, and statistical results, and they adjust these depending on genre and audience: With PET, you take some molecule or drug that you want to image–water or glucose, for example.

However, normality can be a variety of things. Book Reviews Perhaps it is also this proselytizing zeal ness. The juxtaposition of words and images brings home quite forcefully that the three colored ovals are brain scans, and that the three brains scanned are different.

Remember me on this computer. The challenge became to account both for the multiplicity of PET’s meanings and practices and for the powerful circulation of the images into different social arenas.

The to view the phenomenon of brain scanning stakes are high in the context of the courts, as the final triumph of scientism over the in which decisions over the guilt or inno- lifeworld of the experiencing human sub- cence of the accused are made on the basis of ject.


The lack of ultimate clarifications as to what brain images mean–in abstract or in a particular use–is a consequence of our considering them in use and potential reuse and thus reinterpretation. Chapter 5 follows some of the ways in which this evidence is generated, presented, debated, and incorporated into people’s lives.

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Blame and accountability are not easily assigned. And it does it in such a way that does not disturb the biology of the body’s chemistry. The potential payoffs from this technique are enormous. This is an uneven journey in which some of the expert explanations are lucid but others are less satisfying. It tifies to the deep value she has found in re- starts with a very informative description of lationships with people who, but for trans- menopause, complete with up-to-date def- plant picturibg, would not have been alive initions of pre- peri- and postmenopause.

Much of the disciplines of the history of science and science and technology studies STS concentrate on teasing out the difficulties of establishing facts in a particular place and time. Whatever happens would have happened whether you were there or not. The author hopes that this book ters, it occurred to me that the next time a will make anthropological methods accessi- clinical colleague suggests that I could un- ble to health care practitioners.

Difficulties with this approach personhoox immediately. I interviewed many others, including graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, watched experiments being conducted, and observed day-to-day practices. Though this may seem critical of the science, these perspectives are the same ones from which picturig talk and debate about their work and its dissemination.

The persuasiveness and truth status of these learned images before juries is an ongoing concern of the court. How did techniques and technological metaphors like telegraphs and electricity make it possible to pose the problem of brain imaging? They are written to intervene by engaging. A Biocultural Perspective is an dead donors to the bonds that are either important contribution to our understand- created or disrupted by transfers from ing of menopause among human females.

The technical medicine and the view of common processes descriptions and discussions of semiotic the- of human life such as aging, menopause, ory will be difficult for lower-division under- sexual behavior, and overweight as med- graduates.