The idea that deep brain stimulation (DBS) induces changes to personality, identity, agency, authenticity, autonomy and self (PIAAAS) is so deeply entrenched within neuroethics discourses that it has become an unchallenged narrative. In this article, we critically assess evidence about putative effects of DBS on PIAAAS. We conducted a literature review of more than 1535 articles to investigate the prevalence of scientific evidence regarding these potential DBS-induced changes. While we observed an increase in the number of publications in theoretical neuroethics (...) that mention putative DBS-induced changes to patients’ postoperative PIAAAS, we found a critical lack of primary empirical studies corroborating these claims. Our findings strongly suggest that the theoretical neuroethics debate on putative effects of DBS relies on very limited empirical evidence and is, instead, reliant on unsubstantiated speculative assumptions probablyin lieuof robust evidence. As such, this may reflect the likelihood of a speculative neuroethics bubble that may need to be deflated. Nevertheless, despite the low number of first-hand primary studies and large number of marginal and single case reports, potential postoperative DBS changes experienced by patients remain a critical ethical concern. We recommend further empirical research in order to enhance theoretical neuroethics work in the area. In particular, we call for the development of better instruments capable of capturing potential postoperative variations of PIAAAS. (shrink)
To conclude that there is enough or not enough evidence demonstrating that deep brain stimulation causes unintended postoperative personality changes is an epistemic problem that should be answered on the basis of established, replicable, and valid data. If prospective DBS recipients delay or refuse to be implanted because they are afraid of suffering from personality changes following DBS, and their fears are based on unsubstantiated claims made in the neuroethics literature, then researchers making these claims bear great responsibility for prospective (...) recipients' medical decisions and subsequent well-being. Our article “Deflating the ‘DBS causes personality’ bubble” reported an increase in theoretical neuroethics publications suggesting putative DBS-induced changes to personality, identity, agency, autonomy, authenticity and/or self and a critical lack of supporting primary empirical studies. This special issue of Neuroethics brings together responses to our initial publication, with our own counter-responses organized according to common themes. We provide a brief summary for each commentary and its main criticisms as well as a discussion of the way in which these responses can: 1) help clarify the meaning of PIAAAS, suggesting supplementary frameworks for understanding the impact of DBS on PIAAAS; 2) provide further empirical evidence of PIAAAS by presenting results from the researchers’ own work; and/or 3) offer a critique of our research approach and/or findings. Unintended postoperative putative changes to PIAAAS remain a critical ethical concern. It is beyond dispute that we need to develop reliable empirical and conceptual instruments able to measure complex cognitive, affective, and behavioural changes in order to investigate whether they are attributable to DBS alone. (shrink)
The article Deflating the "DBS causes personality changes" bubble, written by Frederic Gilbert, J. N. M. Viaña and C. Ineichen, was originally published electronically on the publisher’s internet portal on 19 June 2018 without open access.
The principles of biomedical ethics – autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice – are of paradigmatic importance for framing ethical problems in medicine and for teaching ethics to medical students and professionals. In order to underline this significance, Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress base the principles in the common morality, i.e. they claim that the principles represent basic moral values shared by all persons committed to morality and are thus grounded in human moral psychology. We empirically investigated the relationship (...) of the principles to other moral and non-moral values that provide orientations in medicine. By way of comparison, we performed a similar analysis for the business & finance domain. (shrink)
BackgroundValue sensitivity – the ability to recognize value-related issues when they arise in practice – is an indispensable competence for medical practitioners to enter decision-making processes related to ethical questions. However, the psychological competence of value sensitivity is seldom an explicit subject in the training of medical professionals. In this contribution, we outline the traditional concept of moral sensitivity in medicine and its revised form conceptualized as value sensitivity and we propose an instrument that measures value sensitivity.MethodsWe developed an instrument (...) for assessing the sensitivity for three value groups in a four step procedure: 1) value identification ; 2) value representation ; 3) vignette construction and quality evaluation ; and 4) instrument validation by comparing nursing professionals with hospital managers.ResultsWe find that nursing professionals recognize and ascribe importance to principle-related issues more than professionals from hospital management. The latter are more likely to recognize and ascribe importance to strategy-related issues.ConclusionsThese hypothesis-driven results demonstrate the discriminatory power of our newly developed instrument, which makes it useful not only for health care professionals in practice but for students and people working in the clinical context as well. (shrink)