Neuro Tracker graphs real-time discussions about the neurosciences happening on Twitter. The project is designed to demonstrate the influence of the neurosciences on a multitude of social issues and to allow users to stay up-to-date on a fast-changing neuro-news landscape. By watching the graphs grow, users can get a sense of how often words like "cognition" and "neuroscience" are mentioned on Twitter at each moment, and by clicking on the bar graphs, users can read the individual tweets. The project also automatically displays a real-time stream of tweets about the brain, highlighting the word's prominence.
All in all, the project collates a world-wide neuro-spectacle as performed through Twitter.
On another level, Neuro Tracker can be said to demonstrate what Jan Slaby describes as a "readiness" to adopt neuroscientific claims despite their objectivist tendencies. Slaby states, "the new brain sciences in the media and popular writing, often in the form of a futuristic discourse of promise and progress, increasingly lead to the incorporation of neuroscientific claims and language into laypeople's self-understanding" (Phenom Cogn Sci, 2010, p. 398). Neuro Tracker serves as a central location to evaluate the extent of this "incorporation" of the neurosciences. Thus, Neuro Tracker becomes one place from which to watch the "gap" between the brain sciences and people's own embodied perceptions of themselves fold over and collide. The tweets may even serve to evidence what Slavoj Zizek describes as the capacity of modern science to "humiliate" the human image of the Self as a Thing in itself, revealing "nothing behind" the face (Zizek, The Parallax View, p. 162-165). The project might, in other words, be taken as measuring expressions of just how much the neurosciences compel a re-alignment of the Self-image or incite a shift toward a different recognition of the material subject as "immaterial void" (Zizek, p. 164).
* David Gruber would like to recognize Kevin Brock for his valuable feedback throughout project development.