Besides offering opportunities in both clinical and non-clinical domains, the application of novel neuroimaging technologies raises pressing dilemmas. 'Responsible Research and Innovation' (RRI) aims to stimulate research and innovation activities that take ethical and social considerations into account from the outset. We previously identified that Dutch neuroscientists interpret "responsible innovation" as educating the public on neuroimaging technologies via the popular press. Their aim is to mitigate (neuro)hype, an aim shared with the wider emerging RRI community. Here, we present results of a media-analysis undertaken to establish whether the body of articles in the Dutch popular press presents balanced conversations on neuroimaging research to the public. We found that reporting was mostly positive and framed in terms of (healthcare) progress. There was rarely a balance between technology opportunities and limitations, and even fewer articles addressed societal or ethical aspects of neuroimaging research. Furthermore, neuroimaging metaphors seem to favour oversimplification. Current reporting is therefore more likely to enable hype than to mitigate it. How can neuroscientists, given their self-ascribed social responsibility, address this conundrum? We make a case for a collective and shared responsibility among neuroscientists, journalists and other stakeholders, including funders, committed to responsible reporting on neuroimaging research.
- Journal Article