Hellraiser, sadomasochism, distributed and dismembered consciousness, and the brain’s experience of pain

[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] Horror films sometimes feature scenes of extreme torture, as well as sadism and sadomasochism (and especially the  subgenre known as “torture porn”, which we will ignore here). I will focus on one horror film –… Read More

Marathon Man: Hoffman, Olivier, Paranoia and Tortured Information Extraction

[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] Marathon Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Sir Laurence Olivier, is a classic of the paranoid thriller genre that was so popular during the 1970’s. It is also renowned for an extended and graphic torture sequence.… Read More

Sleep deprivation as the torture of choice in Koestler’s ‘Darkness at Noon’

[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] Orwell, in a 1944 essay on Koestler’s great novel of the show trials, “Darkness at Noon”, observes that the main protagonist, Rubashov “confesses because he cannot find in his own mind any reason for not doing… Read More

Torture methods employed for perceptual, personality and behavioural modification in Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Koestler’s ‘Darkness at Noon’

[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] George Orwell and Arthur Koestler  were perhaps the most important and celebrated political novelists of the mid-20th century. They were very different individuals, having lived very different lives. Koestler was a restless Hungarian émigré who spent time under… Read More

Terrorism, Torture and Memory: Royal Irish Academy | About | Science Series

[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] Royal Irish Academy | About | Science Series via Royal Irish Academy | About | Science Series. This links to a podcast of an unusual interdisciplinary evening, featuring a neuroscientist (me), a political scientist (Richard… Read More