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Author O'Mara, S. M. (Shane M.),
Title Why torture doesn't work : the neuroscience of interrogation / Shane O'Mara.
Imprint Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2015.

Author O'Mara, S. M. (Shane M.),
Subject Psychic trauma.
Psychological abuse.
Description 1 online resource (322 pages)
polychrome rdacc
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Torture in modern times -- How the brain supports memory and executive functions -- Can we use technology to detect deception? -- What do stress and pain do to the brain? -- What does sleep deprivation do to the brain? -- Drowning, cooling, heating, and starving the brain -- Why does a torturer torture? -- Why torture? Why not talk?
Summary "Torture is banned because it is cruel and inhumane. But as Shane O'Mara writes in this account of the human brain under stress, another reason torture should never be condoned is because it does not work the way torturers assume it does. In countless films and TV shows such as Homeland and 24, torture is portrayed as a harsh necessity. If cruelty can extract secrets that will save lives, so be it. CIA officers and others conducted torture using precisely this justification. But does torture accomplish what its defenders say it does? For ethical reasons, there are no scientific studies of torture. But neuroscientists know a lot about how the brain reacts to fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, and immersion in freezing water, all tools of the torturer's trade. These stressors create problems for memory, mood, and thinking, and sufferers predictably produce information that is deeply unreliable--and, for intelligence purposes, even counterproductive. As O'Mara guides us through the neuroscience of suffering, he reveals the brain to be much more complex than the brute calculations of torturers have allowed, and he points the way to a humane approach to interrogation, founded in the science of brain and behavior. Torture may be effective in forcing confessions, as in Stalin's Russia. But if we want information that we can depend on to save lives, O'Mara writes, our model should be Napoleon: 'It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile.'"--Publisher's description.
Note Print version record.
ISBN 9780674915510 (electronic bk.)
0674915518 (electronic bk.)
OCLC # 934433768
Additional Format Print version: O'Mara, S.M. (Shane M.). Why torture doesn't work. Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2015 9780674743908 (DLC) 2015015973 (OCoLC)906121712