Sauvayre R., (2022) « “Voodoo” science in neuroimaging. How a controversy trans-formed into a crisis », Social Sciences, Vol. 12, n°1, 15. DOI:10.3390/socsci12010015

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Since the 1990s, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques have continued to advance, which has led researchers and nonspecialists alike to regard this technique as infallible. However, at the end of 2008, a scientific controversy and the related media coverage called func-tional neuroimaging practices into question and cast doubt on the capacity of fMRI studies to produce reliable results. The purpose of this article is to retrace the history of this contemporary controversy and its treatment in the media. Then, the study stands at the intersection of the his-tory of science, the epistemology of statistics and the epistemology of science. Arguments in-volving actors (researchers, the media) and the chronology of events are presented. Finally, the article reveals that three groups fought through different arguments (false positives, statistical power, sample size, etc.), reaffirming the current scientific norms that separate the true from the false. Replication, forming this boundary, takes the place of the most persuasive argument. This is how the voodoo controversy joined the replication crisis.
Keywords: controversy; neuroscience; voodoo; methodology; corrections for multiple comparisons; statis-tics; scientific norms; replication crisis; fMRI.