• Neurowhat? Neurorhetoric: The Marriage of Rhetoric and Neuroscience

      Hall, Emily S. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-04-17)
      In 1990 president George Bush senior made an official proclamation that the 1990s would be the “Decade of the Brain.” But interest in the brain did not stop after 1999, it only continued to grow. In 2013 president Barack Obama proposed the BRAIN initiative, Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. Bush and Obama state that advances in neuroscience are getting science closer to creating better treatments and cures for brain disease and mental illness, like Parkinson’s, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and PTSD. But neuroscience advancements have become of interest to more than the presidents and the medical community. The media and the public have caught the brain craze as well. Magazines feature articles about neuroscience reports, and more nutritional supplements are showing up to help maintain and improve the brain. Books and games advertise their ability to train your brain and exercise your mind. It is not only the presidents and the public that have a growing investment in neuroscience. New fields in academics are starting to show up, like neurolaw, neuroeconomics, neuroeducation, and neurorhetorics. The growing field of neurorhetorics has much to offer to academia. Neurorhetoric can look at the growing persuasive appeal of neuroscience and neuroimages, but it is also a versatile field for interdisciplinary discussion. Neurorhetoric looks at neuroscience research to see what new perspectives can be gained to create and add to conversations in rhetoric and rhetorical theories. In collaboration with neuroscientists, rhetoricians in neurorhetoric can look at the language and structures in neuroscience to provide new insight to scientists in how they rhetorically frame their research, bringing about new questions for neuroscience research. Hall 2 Neurorhetoric can add to a number of different rhetorical fields, such as feminist and gender studies, animal studies, and the rhetoric of disability. In 2010 Rhetoric Society Quarterly published a special issue on neurorhetoric, featuring Jordynn Jack and Gregory Appelbaum’s “’This is Your Brain on Rhetoric’: Research Directions for Neurorhetorics,” which has since become the cornerstone of neurorhetoric research. I will be using it to look at the methodology taking shape for neurorhetoric, and the conversations that have started in neurorhetoric about the appeal of neuroscience. I will then look at some of the ways neurorhetoric is interacting with the rhetoric of disability to display one of the ways neurorhetoric is being used. Neurorhetoric as a field of rhetoric inquiry sounds harrowing as an undergraduate, and I will recount my experience in looking into this field.