Interim report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

The interim report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is now available for download Summary The Special Rapporteur elaborates on the legal, ethical, scientific and practical arguments against the use of torture, other ill-treatment and coercive methods during interviews of suspects, victims, witnesses and other persons in… Read More

Counterfactuals and metacognition regarding ticking time bombs and torture: A lesson from Mel Gibson

Payback, a Mel Gibson thriller from 1999, is a tough and visceral film, with an extraordinary torture scene involving a hammer. Gibson plays Porter, a hardened, unpleasant enforcer and killer, who is possessed of a curious sense of honour (and seemingly lacking a forename). Payback nicely shows that torture can be used to extract information, but… Read More

(Released from behind the paywall – my piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education) The Neuroscience of Interrogation: Why Torture Doesn’t Work

Here is the piece I wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education on the American Psychological Association’s Independent Review on its collusion in the programme of enhanced interrogation. I focus here on the broader context. My book, Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation is available on Amazon. deals with these and related issues in depth. It will be released in November, 2015.… Read More

The Connected Hippocampus, 1st Edition, Preface and Table of Contents: O’Mara & Tsanov (ISBN-13: 978-0444635495)

The Connected Hippocampus: Preface Available here (Elsevier) and here (Amazon). The hippocampus is an intriguing and anatomically remarkable structure: it is possessed of a remarkable curvilinear appearance in coronal section, and it is easy to spot in anatomical section with the naked eye in just about any mammalian species. A special and important function has been ascribed to it… Read More

TRAUMA – SCIENCE GALLERY DUBLIN – OPEN CALL DETAILS

TRAUMA SCIENCE GALLERY DUBLIN Science Gallery Dublin Open for submissions from 11th May 09:00 to 4th June 16:00 Season dates: 20th November to 21st February Click here to apply TRAUMA is an international, open-call exhibition and events programme at Science Gallery Dublin that will explore biological, psychological, societal, and cultural trauma. A sudden, violent, stressful and disturbing event,… Read More

I have an ISBN! 9780674743908 (preorder details for: Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation)

My forthcoming book (Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation, Harvard University Press, November 2015) now has an ISBN (9780674743908) and the book is starting to appear on searches in prepublication (see this) format. It even has a page on Amazon’s Japanese site! It is also available to pre-order via Amazon UK and Amazon USA. Amazon (.com) Amazon (.co.uk) Harvard… Read More

Cover Art for my new book with HUP – Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation

I have a new book due to appear (Autumn/Fall 2015) with Harvard University Press. Update: now available for preorder via Amazon (.com) Amazon (.co.uk) Harvard University Press Here’s the cover art (which is copyrighted HUP, so usual warnings apply regarding reproduction): Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation Shane O’Mara Torture is banned because it is cruel and inhumane. But… Read More

Blurb for my new book with HUP – Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation

‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ can now be preordered from: Amazon (.com) Amazon (.co.uk) Harvard University Press Torture is banned because it is cruel and inhumane. But as Shane O’Mara writes in this account of the human brain under stress, torture should never be condoned because it does not work the way torturers assume it… Read More

Reflections on the representations and implications of torture from medieval Siena (the Museo della Tortura) and London (the London Dungeon)

[My book ‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) can be preordered from Amazon (.com) – more details at end of post] La Balzana, beautiful Siena, the extravagant, the eccentric, sitting atop a hill in Tuscany, is another world. Once a medieval town of wealth and consequence; later marooned, isolated and preserved by the Black Death and… Read More

Some thoughts on the origins of the lay psychology of torture, PTSD, communication and memory provoked by ‘America Is Likely to Torture Again’ – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic

Face It: America Is Likely to Torture Again – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic [My book ‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) can be preordered from Amazon (.com) – more details at end of post] (Above: a demonstration of the ‘water torture‘ in the Museo della Tortura, Siena, Italy; pic by author) Face It: America Is… Read More