The arguments against torture come from all sides

If all the moral, ethical and practical considerations against torture that I have examined in the various posts are inconclusive, I’ve now been sent an article from the highly specialist journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences that examines in medical terms how stress resulting from torture or enhanced interrogation techniques so impair the memory of the tortured as to make the information gained unreliable. Not, of course, that Cheney would accept the argument…

Torturing the brain – On the folk psychology and folk neurobiology motivating ‘enhanced and coercive interrogation techniques’. Shane O’Mara, September 24, 2009. Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Conclusion to article as follows:

In sum, coercive interrogations involving extreme stress are unlikely to facilitate the release of veridical information from long-term memory, given our current cognitive neurobiological knowledge. On the contrary, these techniques cause severe, repeated and prolonged stress, which compromises brain tissue supporting memory and executive function. The fact that the detrimental effects of these techniques on the brain are not visible to the naked eye makes them no less real.

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