Positively, Scientifically, Cool… Oh Wait, Maybe Not So Cool

from the too-cool-for-school dept

Wired Magazine has an amusing tale about a researcher who is using fMRI brain imaging to separate out the cool kids from the not-so-cool kids. The reporter who gets her brain examined makes sure to explain her high level of uncoolness throughout her life, and clearly feels intimidated by the other two subjects she’s being compared to (the researcher himself, and someone else working on the project) — both of whom are described as matching the reporter’s definition of “cool.” Of course, the way the system works, their brains are monitored as they view certain objects, but the coolness factor of each object has mostly been decided by the lead researcher himself (along with some art students). Amusingly, the results seem to come out backwards from the way the article is set up. The author is, as she describes it, a cool savant — her brain simply lights up at cool things, whereas the researcher is tragically, completely uncool. Perhaps dealing with the shock of finding out that his own cool-ality test finds him not cool at all, the researcher rejiggers the ratings, and adjust the findings so that (phew), once again, he’s cool. In other words… it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any objective measure of coolness any time soon.

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