Over the past decade, Canadian media coverage of street sex work has steadily increased. The majority of this interest pertains to graphic violence against street sex workers, most notably from Vancouver, British Columbia. In this article, the authors analyze newspaper coverage that appeared in western Canadian publications between 2006 and 2009. In theorizing the violence both depicted and perpetrated by newspapers, the authors propose an analytic framework capable of attending to the process of othering in all of its complexity. To (...) this end, the authors supplement a Foucauldian analysis of abjection by considering the work of Judith Butler along with Julia Kristeva's conceptualization of abjection. Using excerpts from western Canadian newspapers, the authors illustrate how the media's discursive practices function as triggers for the process of cultural abjection by inscribing street sex workers with images of defilement. The authors argue that newspaper coverage of street sex workers reinforces the inviolability of normalized life by constantly reiterating the horror reserved for abjected bodies. (shrink)
A feminist perspective on selfhood – bound to a perspective on otherness – is the main concern of this article. The resonance of this notion of selfhood both with ethical philosophy and with the language of humanism enables a deeper understanding of a feminist ethics as well as its internal tensions. The article considers the relationship of feminism and humanism as one of “paradoxical fluidity” rather than antithetical polarization, to explore the ways in which feminism’s alliance with contemporary ethics exemplifies (...) its paradoxical relation to humanism. The study then underlines the vital contribution of feminist discourse to an ethical understanding of selfhood and intersubjectivity. Finally, it examines the work of experimental Canadian poet Lola Lemire Tostevin, who reveals the importance of an ethical, feminist version of selfhood that highlights the insufficiency as well as the potential of both humanist and postmodern versions of subjectivity. (shrink)
We examined whether different encounters of reading material influence the likelihood of mind wandering, memory for the material, and the ratings of interest in the material. In a within-subjects design participants experienced three different reading encounters: 1) reading a passage aloud, 2) listening to a passage being read to them, and 3) reading a passage silently. Throughout each reading encounter probes were given in order to identify mind wandering. After finishing the passage participants also rated how interesting it was and (...) completed a content recognition test. Results showed that reading aloud led to the least amount of mind wandering, while listening to the passage led to the most mind wandering. Listening to the passage was also associated with the poorest memory performance and the least interest in the material. Finally, within the silent reading and listening encounters we observed negative relations between mind wandering and both memory performance and interest in the material, replicating previous findings. Taken together, the present findings improve our understanding of the nature of mind wandering while reading, and have potentially important implications for readers seeking to take advantage of the convenience of audiobooks and podcasts. (shrink)
Although objective measures of memory performance typically indicate memory declines with age, self-reported memory failures often show no relation to age. In contrast, self-reported attention failures are reliably negatively correlated with age. This contrast suggests the possibility that age-related awareness and reporting of memory failures might be masked by a concurrent decrease in attention failures, which would reduce encoding failures with age and hence reduce perceived memory failures. Self-reported problems of attention and memory were evaluated in two samples with the (...) ages spanning eight decades. Initial analysis indicated that attention failures significantly decreased with age, whereas memory problems did not to differ across age. The association of self-reported memory failures became significantly positive, however, when residualized on attention lapses. In contrast, the correlation between attention lapses and age was modestly affected when memory failures were controlled. These results highlight the close relation of attention lapses and memory problems and, beyond the implications of individual differences in attention for memory research, suggest the advisability of assessing attention failures for a full evaluation of memory problems. (shrink)
We examined whether the temporal rate at which thought probes are presented affects the likelihood that people will report periods of mind wandering. To evaluate this possibility, we had participants complete a sustained-attention task (the Metronome Response Task; MRT) during which we intermittently presented thought probes. Critically, we varied the average time between probes (i.e., probe rate) across participants, allowing us to examine the relation between probe rate and mind-wandering rate. We observed a positive relation between these variables, indicating that (...) people are more likely to report mind wandering as the time between probes increases. We discuss the methodological implications of this finding in the context of the mind-wandering literature, and suggest that researchers include a range of probe rates in future work to provide more insight into this methodological issue. (shrink)
A recent study by Castellani et al. (JAMA 302(23):2573–2579, 2009) describes the population-level effects of the choices of individuals who underwent molecular carrier screening for cystic fibrosis (CF) in Veneto, in the northeastern part of Italy, between 1993 and 2007. We discuss some of the ethical issues raised by the policies and individual choices that are the subject of this study. In particular, (1) we discuss the ethical issues raised by the acquisition of genetic information through antenatal carrier testing; (2) (...) we consider whether by choosing to procreate naturally these couples can harm the resulting child and/or other members of society, and what the moral implications of such harm would be; (3) we consider whether by choosing to avoid natural procreation carrier couples can harm current or future individuals affected by cystic fibrosis; (4) we discuss whether programs that make carrier testing available can be considered eugenic programs. (shrink)
Purpose: A study was made of attitudes of clinical geneticists regarding the age at which minors should be allowed to undergo a carrier test and the reasons they provide to explain their answer. Methods: European clinical institutions where genetic counselling is offered to patients were contacted. 177 (63%) of the 287 eligible respondents answered a questionnaire. Results: Clinical geneticists were significantly more in favour of providing a carrier test to a younger person if the request was made together with the (...) parents than if the adolescent requested the test personally. Although a large fraction of respondents (16%–30%) were “neither unwilling nor willing” to provide a carrier test to a 16-year-old adolescent who requested the test personally, for most disorders slightly more clinical geneticists were “very willing” or “willing”. Conclusion: Age is not the only decisive element when considering the participation of adolescents in decisions affecting their health. The clinical geneticists referred to cognitive, emotional and sexual maturity and the support of parents as crucial elements in their comments regarding when to tell children about their genetic risk or to allow adolescents to request a carrier test. (shrink)
International health research in malaria-endemic settings may include screening for sickle cell disease, given the relationship between this important genetic condition and resistance to malaria, generating questions about whether and how findings should be disclosed. The literature on disclosing genetic findings in the context of research highlights the role of community consultation in understanding and balancing ethically important issues from participants’ perspectives, including social forms of benefit and harm, and the influence of access to care. To inform research practice locally, (...) and contribute to policy more widely, this study aimed to explore the views of local residents in Kilifi County in coastal Kenya on how researchers should manage study-generated information on sickle cell disease and carrier status. (shrink)
The high frequency of the fragile X premutation in the general population and its emerging neurocognitive implications highlight the need to investigate the effects of the premutation on lifespan cognitive development. Until recently, cognitive function in fragile X premutation carriers (fXPCs) was presumed to be unaffected by the mutation. Although as a group fXPCs did not differ from healthy controls (HC), we show that young adult female fXPCs show subtle age- and significant FMR1 gene mutation-modulated cognitive function as tested by (...) a basic numerical enumeration task. These results indicate that older women with the premutation and fXPCs with greater CGG repeat lengths were at higher risk for difficulties in the deployment of volitional attention required to count 5 to 8 items, but spared performance when spatial shifts of attention were minimized to subitize a few (1 to 3). Results from the current study add to a growing body of evidence that suggests the premutation allele is associated with a subtle phenotype and implies that the cognitive demands necessary for counting are less effectively deployed in female fXPCs compared to HCs. (shrink)
An analysis of biological selection aimed at deriving a mechanism-independent definition removes Hull et al.'s obligatory requirement for replication of the carriers of information, under conditions, such as those obtaining in the nervous system, where the information content of a carrier can be modified without duplication by an amount controlled by the outcome of interactions with the environment.
Because little is known about the human trait of affiliation, we provide a novel neurobehavioral model of affiliative bonding. Discussion is organized around processes of reward and memory formation that occur during approach and consummatory phases of affiliation. Appetitive and consummatory reward processes are mediated independently by the activity of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA)–nucleus accumbens shell (NAS) pathway and the central corticolimbic projections of the u-opiate system of the medial basal arcuate nucleus, respectively, although these two projection (...) systems functionally interact across time. We next explicate the manner in which DA and glutamate interact in both the VTA and NAS to form incentive-encoded contextual memory ensembles that are predictive of reward derived from affiliative objects. Affiliative stimuli, in particular, are incorporated within contextual ensembles predictive of affiliative reward via: (a) the binding of affiliative stimuli in the rostral circuit of the medial extended amygdala and subsequent transmission to the NAS shell; (b) affiliative stimulus-induced opiate potentiation of DA processes in the VTA and NAS; and (c) permissive or facilitatory effects of gonadal steroids, oxytocin (in interaction with DA), and vasopressin on (i) sensory, perceptual, and attentional processing of affiliative stimuli and (ii) formation of social memories. Among these various processes, we propose that the capacity to experience affiliative reward via opiate functioning has a disproportionate weight in determining individual differences in affiliation. We delineate sources of these individual differences, and provide the first human data that support an association between opiate functioning and variation in trait affiliation. Key Words: affiliation corticolimbic-striatal networks; appetitive and consummatory reward; dopamine; oxytocin; personality; social bonds; social memory; u-opiates. (shrink)
Commentary on our target article centers around six main topics: (1) strategies in modeling the neurobehavioral foundation of human behavioral traits; (2) clarification of the construct of affiliation; (3) developmental aspects of affiliative bonding; (4) modeling disorders of affiliative reward; (5) serotonin and affiliative behavior; and (6) neural considerations. After an initial important research update in section R1, our Response is organized around these topics in the following six sections, R2 to R7.