Prior studies have shown a general preference among citizens for juries over judges. Researchers, however, have not considered whether race and ethnicity modify this preference. We hypothesized that minorities (African-Americans, Hispanics), who generally express less trust in the legal system, may also express less trust in juries than non-Hispanic whites. We asked a representative sample of 1,465 residents of Texas to state whether they would prefer a jury or a judge to be the decision maker in four hypothetical circumstances. Consistent (...) with expectations, non-Hispanic whites favored juries over judges, particularly if they imagined themselves as a defendant in a criminal trial. By comparison, although African-Americans and some Hispanics generally favored juries, they showed a much weaker set of jury preferences. African Americans had markedly lower support for the civil jury, but support was higher among minorities with prior jury service. Among Hispanics, respondents who took the survey in Spanish typically preferred a judge to make legal decisions. We consider the implications of our findings for trust in the jury system and trust in community members as decision makers. (shrink)
Although authorship policies exist, researchers understand little about their impact on perceptions of authorship scenarios. Graduate students (N = 277) at a large university read 1 of 3 vignettes about a graduate student-faculty collaboration. One half of the surveys included the American Psychological Association's statement on authorship. Participants rated (a) the ethics of the professor as first author and (b) the likelihood of a dissatisfied student reporting the authorship result, as well as the effectiveness and negative consequences of reporting. Work (...) arrangements on the project had a consistent main effect. Also, an authorship policy impacted women's ratings of first authorship when the student contributed the idea for a project. For men, a policy impacted only ratings of the likelihood of reporting when a professor was first author on a student's dissertation. Apart from sex, no other demographic variables on participants were predictive. Discussion focuses on the policy's potential for making only some specific issues salient. (shrink)
In Life Beyond the Gene, Steven Rose offers a theory of life which insists that we as humans -- and indeed all living creatures -- create our own futures, though in circumstances not of our own choosing. Placing the organism at the center of life, Rose confronts the ideology of reductionism and ultra-Darwinism, with its insistence that all aspects of human life from sexual preference to infanticide, political orientation to violence, male domination to alcoholism, are in our genes (...) and are the inevitable consequences of natural selection. These claims, Rose asserts, are not only socially naive, but fundamentally misunderstand the active and irreducible nature of living processes. Rose argues that life depends on the elaborate web of interactions that occur within cells, organisms, and ecosystems, in which DNA has one part to play. From early in their development, living organisms have to be capable of quasi-independent existence while growing to maturity. If we are to understand life, we must recapture an understanding of the entire living organism and its trajectory through time and space. Rose calls these trajectories lifelines. Provocative and incisive, Life Beyond the Gene provides a compelling response to those enthusiasts of the gene who would deny the complexity of life. (shrink)
Reductionism--understanding complex processes by breaking them into simpler elements--dominates scientific thinking around the world and has certainly proved a powerful tool, leading to major discoveries in every field of science. But reductionism can be taken too far, especially in the life sciences, where sociobiological thinking has bordered on biological determinism. Thus popular science writers such as Richard Dawkins, author of the highly influential The Selfish Gene, can write that human beings are just "robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish (...) molecules known as genes." Indeed, for many in science, genes have become the fundamental unit for understanding human existence: genes determine every aspect of our lives, from personal success to existential despair: genes for health and illness, genes for criminality, violence, and sexual orientation. Others would say that this is reductionism with a vengeance. In Lifelines, biologist Steven Rose offers a powerful alternative to the ultradarwinist claims of Dawkins, E.O. Wilson, Daniel Dennett and others. Rose argues against an extreme reductionist approach that would make the gene the key to understanding human nature, in favor of a more complex and richer vision of life. He urges instead that we focus on the organism and in particular on the organism's lifeline: the trajectory it takes through time and space. Our personal lifeline, Rose points out, is unique--even identical twins, with identical genes at birth, will differ over time. These differences are obviously not embedded in our genes, but come about through our developmental trajectory in which genes, as part of the biochemical orchestra of trillions of cells in each human body, have an important part--but only a part--to play. To illustrate this idea, Rose examines recent research in modern biology, and especially two disciplines--genetics (which looks at the impact of genes on form) and developmental biology (which examines the interaction between the organism and the environment)--and he explores new ideas on biological complexity proposed by scientists such as Stuart Kauffman. He shows how our lifelines are constructed through the interplay of physical forces--such as the intrinsic chemistry of lipids and proteins, and the self-organizing and stabilizing properties of complex metabolic webs--and he reaches a startling conclusion: that organisms are active players in their own fate, not simply the playthings of the gods, nature, or the inevitable workings out of gene-driven natural selection. The organism is both the weaver and the pattern it weaves. Lifelines will be a rallying point for all who seek an alternative to the currently fashionable, deeply determinist accounts which dominate popular science writing and, in fact, crowd the pages of some of the major scientific journals. Based on solid, state-of-the-art research, it not only makes important contributions to our understanding of Darwin and natural selection, but will swing the pendulum back to a richer, more complex view of human nature and of life. (shrink)
Authorship on publications has been described as a “meal ticket” for researchers in academic settings. Given the importance of authorship, inappropriate publication credit is a pertinent ethical issue. This paper presents an overview of authorship problems and policies intended to address them. Previous work has identified three types of inappropriate authorship practices: plagiarism, giving unwarranted credit and failure to give expected credit. Guidelines from universities, journals and professional organizations provide standards about requirements of authors and may describe inappropriate practices; to (...) a lesser extent, they provide guidance for determining authorship order. While policies on authorship may be helpful in some circumstances, they are not panaceas. Formal guidelines may not address serious power imbalances in working relationships and may be difficult to enforce in the face of particular departmental or institutional cultures. In order to develop more effective and useful guidelines, we should gain more knowledge about how students and faculty members perceive policies as well as their understanding of how policies will best benefit collaborators. (shrink)
Many ecological processes exhibit trajectories which can be suitably represented by stable equilibria or smooth limit cycles. However, a third kind of ecological process involves intermittent, abrupt, and drastic changes in densities, here termed outbreak dynamics, which require different modelling frameworks. One such framework, the cusp catastrophe, is used here in a modelling study of a particular outbreak insect, the forest tent caterpillar. This model is then generalized to cover a set of related ecological systems. The particular form of the (...) model for each system depends on whether the major controlling ecological variables are externally imposed, or are incorporated in the model equations. It is concluded that the simple cusp catastrophe is an appropriate metaphor for understanding outbreak dynamics. (shrink)
Introduction While quizzing during informed consent for research to ensure understanding has become commonplace, it is unclear whether the quizzing itself is problematic for potential participants. In this study, we address this issue in a multinational HIV prevention research trial enrolling injection drug users in China and Thailand. Methods Enrolment procedures included an informed consent comprehension quiz. An informed consent survey followed. Results 525 participants completed the informed consent survey (Heng County, China=255, Xinjiang, China=229, Chiang Mai, Thailand=41). Mean age was (...) 33 and mean educational level was 8 yrs. While quizzing was felt to be a good way to determine if a person understands the nature of clinical trial participation (97%) and participants did not generally find the quiz to be problematic, minorities of respondents felt pressured (6%); anxious (5%); bored (5%); minded (5%); and did not find the questions easy (13%). In multivariate analysis, lower educational level was associated with not minding the quizzing (6–10 yrs vs 0–5 yrs: OR=0.27, p=0.03; more than 11 yrs vs 0–5 yrs: OR=0.18, p=0.03). There were also site differences (Heng County vs Xinjiang) in feeling anxious (OR=0.07; p=<0.01), not minding (OR=0.26; p=0.03), being bored (OR=0.25; p=0.01) and not finding the questions easy (OR=0.10; p=<0.01). Conclusions Quizzing during the informed consent process can be problematic for a minority of participants. These problems may be associated with the setting in which research takes place and educational level. Further research is needed to develop, test and implement alternative methods of ensuring comprehension of informed consent. Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov number NCT00270257. (shrink)
We doubt that primary sociopathy is adaptive, for three reasons: First, its prevalence is too low to require an adaptive explanation. Second, a common sequela of damage to the orbito-frontal lobes is Any pattern of behavior that can be produced by brain damage is unlikely to be adaptive. Third, we argue that most human social behavior is not under tight genetic control, but is produced by open-ended calculation of fitness-contingencies.