The neuro-turn in science and society

NESSHI: The Neuro-Turn in European Social Sciences and Humanities: Impact of neurosciences in economics, marketing and philosophy.

The NESSHI project aims to provide the first comprehensive assessment of the effects of the 'decision neurosciences' in transforming social sciences and humanities (SSH).

Decision neurosciences have increasingly attracted the attention of SSH researchers interested in how agents, citizens or consumers assess, deliberate, choose and select in a variety of contexts. In particular, the emerging areas of neuroeconomics, neuromarketing and neurophilosophy are based on the neuroscience of decision-making. As a result, SSH models, definitions of concepts, and standards of proofs, are now challenged to become “neurologically plausible”. How do SSH negotiate this “neuroscientific turn”, and how and to what extent does it impact their societal relevance?

NESSHI is conducted by a European network of researchers in scientometrics, sociology of science, and domain specialists in neuromarketing, neuroeconomics and neurophilosophy. Among the studies produced and under way,  Levallois et al., “Translating upwards” (2012) is a collaboration with researchers from Duke University and Caltech published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience. It offers the first empirical study of neuroeconomics as an interdisciplinary community of scientists, demonstrating the progress and limitations in the integration of different scientific milieus into one new knowledge domain.

This line of research is carried out by Clement Levallois and part of a three year, €1.2 million Open Research Area (ORA) project supported by four European research agencies (NWO, ANR, DFG, ESRC). The project also involves collaboration with partners from Oxford University, Paris II – Sorbonne University and the University of Mainz.

Previous research on this theme was linked to the research programme of the Erasmus Virtual Knowledge Studio.