fm4.ORF.at ORF.at login
StreamPodcastsMail an FM4
zurück zur TitelseiteSOUNDPARK - Your Place for Homegrown MusicSTATION - alles rund um den RadiosendernotesCHAT
Vienna | 27.4.2007 | 17:09 
God, what's happening in the world! A reality check on the web.

Chris, DaddyD, Zita

 
 
Reality Check Special: Reading Minds
  Back in 1991, Herbert Weinstein was a 64-year old semi-retired advertising exec living in Manhattan. Both he and his wife were having an argument one evening. It was a fairly typical scene; they would both get angry but soon he would become quieter and then refuse to say anything at all. On this occasion, it made his wife even angrier and she started beating him physically. At this point it seems he snapped and he strangled her. Then, he threw her out their 13th story window to try to make it look like a suicide.
 
 
 
Pressure on the brain
  The police arrested him and he was charged with second degree murder; basically, an intentional killing without thinking about it ahead of time under aggravated circumstances.

Herbert Weinstein was a wealthy man and he was able to bring in the finest lawyers to beef-up his defence. It turned out that inside his skull, doctors had diagnosed a cyst that was pressing on the protective layer around the brain. His defence? Because of the pressure on the brain where control of emotions is housed, his argument was he couldn't really appreciate the difference between right and wrong. Prepared MRI scans were set to be shown in court by his lawyers to back up these theories.

 
 
  Wind forward to 2007 and scientists have made great leaps in looking at the brain and studying how we can represent & measure emotional reaction. But this research has also opened up some important ethical questions; is the mind a no-go area, are my thoughts my own domain? And if society does indeed decide that anyones emotions can be analysed by the authorities or whoever, how accurate is that information anyway? Is it so precise that it could determine guilt or innocence in the case of a crime?

 
 
Brain Images
  By the way... what happened to Herbert Weinstein? Well the prosecution team seemed to fear that simply exhibiting images of his brain in court would sway the jury. And they agreed to let Weinstein plead guilty in exchange for a reduced charge of manslaughter. So, brain-scans or simply the notion of presenting brain-images in this instance did have an effect in court. The question is what more could all the new research into brain-scans determine in the future. Could a scan of our brains be the new DNA evidence of the future?

 
 
This Saturday, 12-13
  Time for us to do a Reality Check on "Reading the Mind". Catch more at 12 midday on Saturday.

fm4 links
  fm4.orf.at/podcast
Reality Check Special - available as Podcast after the show.
   
 
back
 Übersicht: Alle ORF-Angebote auf einen Blick