Don’t use that tone with me
Imagine sitting in a court room, you have been accused of a crime you have not committed. Your faith in the justice system is reassuring and you know you will be set free when the lack of evidence against you is presented. At least that is what you hope. Olivier Ouillier is a neuroscientist and adviser to the Centre for Strategic Analysis of the French Priminister, and is trying to ensure that doesn’t happen.
In the article ‘Clear up this fuzzy thinking on brain scans’, Olivier expresses his concerns for the misusage of underdeveloped brain-imaging technology in the justice system. In France, after the law on bioethics was revised due to the work of him and other neuroscientists, Olivier is still not satisfied that brain-imaging techniques remain permitted in the court of law. He feels that brain-imaging methods are yet to be fully understood.
“We should support efforts in that direction, but is there yet enough evidence to give the green light to neuroimaging in the courts? Certainly not.”
So how does Olivier’s opinion affect the tone and framing of the article?
Well firstly, the tone set in the first five paragraphs was immediately established through the use of language and subtle sarcasm. Frustration towards the ‘pretenders’ that are making absurd assumptions using brain scans and the idiots buying them is clear from the beginning. “Most recently, people have pretended that they can use neuroimaging alone to identify paedophiles or prove that we fall in love with mobile phones.”
The way in which he patronizes the big dogs of the companies in the 5th paragraph, allows the reader to obtain a momentary feeling of superiority. I think this is an effective way to almost bribe the reader to agree with Olivier’s opinion, as with teaching a dog to sit or in this case manipulating the audience to agree, both could possibly be achieved through positive reinforcement. Or am I just easily convinced?
“And damage can be done even if the victims of neuromarketing hype are not the general public but the gullible heads of companies who are being over charged”
The paragraphs to follow developed a sense of vulnerability as he explained the prospect of this misinterpreted brain-imaging technology, one day being the primary source of evidence in a court. This could not only affect me and my family, but also the community or the country! What if a serial killer was set free? Olivier has written the article in a way that conveys his thoughts and feelings very well to an extent in which we are forced to experience certain emotions. The overall article left me feeling, angry, apprehensive and vulnerable.
Obviously there are more issues with using undeveloped brain-imaging technology than just in the courts. However, Olivier has cleverly framed the issue in a way that will highly influence the audience and generate a response. By expressing the damaging consequences of this undeveloped technology in the context of courts, it enables clear understanding and can relate to all types of audiences.
I think Olivier’s way of writing is very manipulative and I was left wondering why I trusted his opinion so much. Why did I feel so strongly against these people allowing brain-imaging methods in the context of court expertise? For all I knew, he could just be a professional shit stirrer!
I feel this article was based primarily on Olivier’s opinions, rather than scientific facts and to increase this articles credibility, I would have liked to see more scientific evidence to support his opinions.
Overall, I feel the tone and language of this article was the key ingredients to expressing his opinions in such a way that imposed an impact on the reader. It made it interesting and also slightly fun. Only slightly fun though, I’m definitely no neuroscience nerd.