Review: Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation, by Shane O’Mara

By Adelma Jakupovic Waterboarding. Sleep deprivation. Solitary confinement. Stress positions. These were some of the tactics outlined and authorized in a series of Bush Administration secret legal documents, known as the “torture memos,” which were made public in 2009. Most accept that these tactics amount to torture. However, whether torture is an effective means of eliciting information and preventing terrorism, especially during a so-called “ticking time bomb” scenario—a hypothetical situation in which a bomb is set to explode and only the prisoner can provide information to prevent it—is still a point of contention today. And many, unfortunately, seem to think it works. In Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation, Shane O’Mara, professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College, Dublin, casts morality aside to examine whether torture produces reliable…


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