Society has already seen multiple potential futures of neurotechnologies through the multifaceted lens of science fiction. We do not know which of those futures we will come to live, but the strong force in society's evolutionary process will likely continue to be the insight and oversight developed by the bioethics community, pushing and being pushed by the advances of technology, improvements in medical care, and market competitiveness.
Interactive technology assessment (iTA) provides an answer to the ethical problem of normative bias in evaluation research. This normative bias develops when relevant perspectives on the evaluand (the thing being evaluated) are neglected. In iTA this bias is overcome by incorporating different perspectives into the assessment. As a consequence, justification of decisions based on the assessment is provided by stakeholders having achieved agreement. In this article, agreement is identified with wide reflective equilibrium to show that it indeed has the potential (...) of justifying decisions. We work out several conditions for this agreement to be achievable and just. (shrink)
Colour has been shown to facilitate the recognition of scene images, but only when these images contain natural scenes, for which colour is ‘diagnostic’. Here we investigate whether colour can also facilitate memory for scene images, and whether this would hold for natural scenes in particular. In the first experiment participants first studied a set of colour and greyscale natural and man-made scene images. Next, the same images were presented, randomly mixed with a different set. Participants were asked to indicate (...) whether they had seen the images during the study phase. Surprisingly, performance was better for greyscale than for coloured images, and this difference is due to the higher false alarm rate for both natural and man-made coloured scenes. We hypothesized that this increase in false alarm rate was due to a shift from scrutinizing details of the image to recognition of the gist of the image. A second experiment, utilizing images without a nameable gist, confirmed this hypothesis as participants now performed equally on greyscale and coloured images. In the final experiment we specifically targeted the more detail-based perception and recognition for greyscale images versus the more gist-based perception and recognition for coloured images with a change detection paradigm. The results show that changes to images are detected faster when image-pairs were presented in greyscale than in colour. This counterintuitive result held for both natural and man-made scenes and thus corroborates the shift from more detailed processing of images in greyscale to more gist-based processing of coloured images. (shrink)
Cigarette smoking and other addictive behaviors are among the main preventable risk factors for several severe and potentially fatal diseases. It has been argued that addictive behavior is controlled by an automatic-implicit cognitive system and by a reflective-explicit cognitive system, that operate in parallel to jointly drive human behavior. The present study addresses the formation of implicit attitudes towards smoking in both smokers and non-smokers, using a Go/NoGo association task, and behavioral and electroencephalographic measures. The GNAT assesses, via quantifying participants’ (...) reaction times, the strength of association between a target category and either pole of an evaluative dimension. EEG analysis is performed to determine the temporal course of the event-related potential components underlying Go/NoGo decisions and implicit attitude formation. Both smokers and non-smokers showed prolonged reaction times to smoking-related pictures when the pictures were coupled with positive evaluative words. This indicates negative implicit attitudes towards smoking in both groups alike at the time point of the behavioral response. However, only the non-smokers, not the smokers, were found to show a delay of the N200 component in the incongruent condition. This is interpreted as reflecting ambivalent or even positive implicit attitudes towards smoking in the smoker group at the time point of the N200. Our study thus provides evidence for the hypothesis that implicit attitudes are subject to changes within several hundred milliseconds after stimulus presentation, and can be altered in the course of their formation. (shrink)
Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
This article addresses the research question: “How do Dutch highly educated Muslim women of Moroccan descent use prayer in dealing with problems?” The theoretical framework was mainly based on the work of Pargament et al. regarding religious coping. The empirical part of the study consisted of a quantitative and a qualitative part. This article presents results of the quantitative part. For the quantitative part of our research, 177 questionnaires were collected using snowball sampling. We asked respondents about their praying practices (...) and their ways of religious coping, using the Brief RCOPE. The connection and communication in their prayer with a loving, caring, benevolent God is the main religious way in which these Muslim women of Moroccan descent cope with all kinds of problems. This use of prayer as a way of coping can be clarified through the psychological functions of religiosity and prayer that are suggested by Pargament, Koenig, and Perez. Prayer could help them in: finding meaning, being master over their circumstances and controlling their emotions, finding comfort and closeness to God, experiencing intimacy with others and closeness to God, and transforming their way of life. We did find few negative religious coping strategies, such as negative feelings towards God or alienation. This is in line with research results of Abu Raiya and Pargament. As Islam implies surrender to God, it may be difficult for Muslims to admit their religious distress, doubts, and struggles. (shrink)
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