The idea that our conscious decisions determine our actions has been challenged by a report suggesting that the brain starts to prepare for a movement before the person concerned has consciously decided to move . Libet et al. claimed that their results show that our actions are not consciously initiated. The current article describes two experiments in which we attempted to replicate Libet et al.'s comparison of participants' movement-related brain activity with the reported times of their decisions to move and (...) also the reported times of their decisions of which hand to move. We also looked at the distribution of participants' reports over time to evaluate an alternative explanation of Libet et al.'s results. Although the Readiness Potential was usually present before all of the decisions to move, consistent with the findings of Keller and Heckhausen and Libet et al. , we found that many reported decision times were before the onset of the Lateralized Readiness Potential, which measures hand-specific movement preparation. The latter finding is consistent with the conclusion that the LRP always started after the conscious decision to move. We conclude that even though activity related to movement anticipation may be present before a conscious decision to move, the cortical preparation necessary for the movement to happen immediately may not start until after the conscious decision to move. (shrink)
Benjamin Libet has argued that electrophysiological signs of cortical movement preparation are present before people report having made a conscious decision to move, and that these signs constitute evidence that voluntary movements are initiated unconsciously. This controversial conclusion depends critically on the assumption that the electrophysiological signs recorded by Libet, Gleason, Wright, and Pearl are associated only with preparation for movement. We tested that assumption by comparing the electrophysiological signs before a decision to move with signs present before a decision (...) not to move. There was no evidence of stronger electrophysiological signs before a decision to move than before a decision not to move, so these signs clearly are not specific to movement preparation. We conclude that Libet’s results do not provide evidence that voluntary movements are initiated unconsciously. (shrink)
Background: Privacy laws have recently created restrictions on how researchers can approach study participants.Method: In a randomised trial of 152 patients, 50–74 years old, in a family practice, 60 were randomly selected to opt-out and 92 to opt-in methods. Patients were sent an introductory letter by their doctor in two phases, opt-out before and opt-in after introduction of the new Privacy Legislation in December 2001. Opt-out patients were contacted by researchers. Opt-in patients were contacted if patients responded by email, free (...) telephone number or a reply-paid card.Results: Opt-in recruited fewer patients after invitation compared with opt-out ; . No proportional difference in recruitment was found between opt-in and opt-out groups varied by age, sex or socioeconomic status. The opt-in group had significantly more people in active decision-making roles . Non-significant trends were observed towards opt-in being less likely to include people with lower education and people who were not screened . Opt-in was more likely to recruit people with a family history of colorectal cancer .Conclusions: The number of participants required to be approached was markedly increased in opt-in recruitment. Existing participants with a vested interest such as increased risk, and those preferring an active role in health decision making and with less education were likely to be recruited in opt-in. Research costs and generalisability are affected by implementing privacy legislation. (shrink)
In this paper, the authors have detected a new effect in the area of geomagnetism, related to the behavior of a magnetic dipole freely floating on water surface. An experiment is described in the present paper in which a magnetic dipole fixed upon a float placed on non- magnetized water surface undergoes displacement along with reorientation caused by fine structure of the earth's magnetic field. This fact can probably be explained by secular decrease of the earth's major dipole moment. Further, (...) a detailed study of the phenomenon may create interesting premises for its practical use, particularly for the analysis of fine structure of geomagnetic field and its time-dependent anomalies. A strange behavior of some sea fish species prior to strong earthquakes may be explained if the fish are assumed as 'live magnetic dipoles'. (shrink)
Consider van Fraassen's ( 1981) Judy Benjamin (JB) problem. Judy is dropped in an area that is divided vertically in Blue (B) and Red (R) and horizontally in Headquarters (Q) and Second Company (S). These divisions define four quadrants, as in Figure 1 (roman script headings). Judy initially believes that there is an equal chance of being in each quadrant. She is then told by a fully reliable source that if she is in R, then there is (...) a chance of q > 0.50 that she is in Q. Now ask yourself: what should Judy's credence be that she is in B on the basis of this information? I am interested here in the limiting case of this problem in which q = 1. Let us call this limiting case the JB′ problem. (shrink)
The first priority of this response is to address Libet's rebuttal of my reinterpretation of his data. Then, because many authors have commented on various aspects of the debate, the rest of the response is organized in terms of subject matter, not as replies to each individual commentator. First, I reply to an objection expressed by two separate commentators to part of my reinterpretation of those of Libet's data supposedly supporting backward referral. This leads to a brief discussion of the (...) whole concept of backward referral. The relevance of the flash-lag illusion to possible measurement errors in the Libet/Trevena and Miller paradigm is addressed next. Finally, I have a few words to say on the relationship between quantum mechanical ontology and free will. (shrink)
Benjamin Libet's celebrated experiments concerning freedom elicited numerous attempts of _philosophical_ repudiation. Ten years ago, however, JudyTrevena and Jeff Miller published a _technical_ objection; they claim to have detected a,,smearing artifact" in Libet's calculations. This rests on a misunderstanding of Libet's methodology. In my reconstruction of Libet's argument, he draws an abductive inference to the best explanation. Now, Trevena's and Miller's objection does indeed lead to alternative explanations of Libet's measurements. These alternatives are _ad hoc_ and (...) extremely improbable. They constitute worse explanations than the explanation offered by Libet. _German_ Benjamin Libets bahnbrechende Experimente zur Willensfreiheit aus den Achtziger Jahren des vorigen Jahrhunderts gehören längst zu den Klassikern der Experimentalkunst. Aus _philosophischer_ Perspektive sind sie oft kritisiert worden; unabhängig davon ist zu Beginn des neuen Jahrtausends ein _technischer_ Einwand gegen Libet prominent geworden, der von Freiheitsfreunden gerne zitiert wird. Er geht auf JudyTrevena und Jeff Miller zurück und besteht in dem Vorwurf, dass Libet mit seiner Berechnung der _gemittelten_ Bereitschaftspotential-Kurven die wahren Verhältnisse verschmiere und dabei aus mathematischen Gründen den Anstiegs-Zeitpunkt des Bereitschaftspotentials künstlich nach vorne verschiebe – das ist der Vorwurf des sog. Verschmierungsartefakts. Ich zeige, dass der Vorwurf nicht sticht. Er beruht auf einem Missverständnis der Schlussmethode Libets. Laut meiner wissenschaftstheoretischen Rekonstruktion zieht Libet weder deduktive noch induktive Schlüsse aus seinen Einzelbeobachtungen; er schließt abduktiv, d.h. er schließt auf die beste Erklärung seiner Einzelbeobachtungen. Wie eine genaue arithmetische Analyse zeigt, bieten die Alternativ-Erklärungen, unter denen sich das Verschmierungsartefakt bewahrheiten würde, schlechtere Erklärungen als Libets Erklärung – sie sind an den Haaren herbeigezogen und extrem unwahrscheinlich. (shrink)
Sometimes we receive evidence in a form that standard conditioning (or Jeffrey conditioning) cannot accommodate. The principle of maximum entropy (MAXENT) provides a unique solution for the posterior probability distribution based on the intuition that the information gain consistent with assumptions and evidence should be minimal. Opponents of objective methods to determine these probabilities prominently cite van Fraassen’s Judy Benjamin case to undermine the generality of maxent. This article shows that an intuitive approach to Judy Benjamin’s case supports (...) maxent. This is surprising because based on independence assumptions the anticipated result is that it would support the opponents. It also demonstrates that opponents improperly apply independence assumptions to the problem. (shrink)
Although a number of articles have addressed ethical perceptions and behaviors, few studies have examined ethics across cultures. This research focuses on measuring the job satisfaction, customer orientation, ethics, and ethical training of automotive salespersons in the U.S. and Taiwan. The relationships of these variables to salesperson performance were also investigated. Ethics training was found to be negatively related to perceived levels of ethicalness and performance. High performance U.S. salespeople reported high ethical behavior, while the opposite was true in Taiwan. (...) Customer orientation in both countries was influenced by ethics training. Managers should evaluate current ethics training programs to insure correct ethical behavior is taught and rewarded. (shrink)
In Australia research projects proposing the use of linked data require approval by a Human Research Ethics Committee . A sound evaluation of the ethical issues involved requires understanding of the basic mechanics of data linkage, the associated benefits and risks, and the legal context in which it occurs. The rapidly increasing number of research projects utilising linked data in Australia has led to an urgent need for enhanced capacity of HRECs to review research applications involving this emerging research methodology. (...) The training described in this article was designed to respond to an identified need among the data linkage units in the Australian Population Health Research Network and HREC members in Australia. (shrink)
As researchers and as adults, caution must be maintained in perpetuating the rational approach to all family experience. Limiting the study of the family to the adult and, more communicatively competent, older siblings creates an artificial barrier that blocks insight into early childhood socialization practices and understandings.This study has raised the notion that children have valuable experiences that they quickly learn, embody, re-produce, and can present to researchers. As family members, they create and perpetuate those practices that reify the patriarchal (...) order. As researchers, the lessons to be learned from such a study are educational. For children, families that “might make your ears pop out” are the social and affectional structure that organizes their lives. The meanings that are produced within this structure are creatively constituted and should be heard. Studying the talk of children about families enriches knowledge and understanding of family relationships and family communication. (shrink)
From its inception psychoanalysis has sought to effect a cure through the therapeutic relationship between analyst and analysand. _Betweenity _looks at what happens when the established framework of the psychoanalytic process is challenged by those with borderline personalities. In this book Judy Gammelgaard looks at how we might understand the analysand who is unable to engage with therapy and how we might bring them to a point where they are able to do so. Areas of discussion include: the border (...) between psychiatry and psychoanalysis early mother-child relationships the splitting of the ego. This book will be essential reading for all psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and practitioners wishing to learn more about working with borderline personality structures and disorders. (shrink)
A commentary on articles by Klein, Pockett, and Trevena and Miller, in this issue, is given. Average shift in the point of subjective equality , calculated by Klein on Libet's data, and corresponding change in mean shift, calculated by Libet et al. , may be “corrected,” taking as a reference point the end of the minimum train duration. Values obtained, if significant, indicate a latency for conscious sensation of the skin stimulus of at least 230 ms. Pockett's main conclusions (...) are favored, but her explanation of peripheral–lemniscal couplings is found to be unconvincing. Trevena and Miller's article unsuccessfully tries to rescue a dualist interactionist view. Libet's method of timing intentions is thoroughly criticized. (shrink)
S. Pockett and G. Gomes discuss a possible bias in the method by which Libet's subjects estimated the time at which they became aware of their intent to move their hands. The bias, caused by sensory delay processing the clock information, would be sufficient to alter Trevena and Miller's conclusions regarding the timing of the lateralized readiness potential. I show that the flash-lag effect would compensate for that bias. In the last part of my commentary I note that the (...) other target articles do not examine the most interesting aspect of Libet's unfashionable views on free will. I point out that Libet's views are less strange than they at first appear to be. (shrink)
From a twenty-first century partnership between bioethics and neuroscience, the modern field of neuroethics is emerging, and technologies enabling functional neuroimaging with unprecedented sensitivity have brought new ethical, social and legal issues to the forefront. Some issues, akin to those surrounding modern genetics, raise critical questions regarding prediction of disease, privacy and identity. However, with new and still-evolving insights into our neurobiology and previously unquantifiable features of profoundly personal behaviors such as social attitude, value and moral agency, the difficulty of (...) carefully and properly interpreting the relationship between brain findings and our own self-concept is unprecedented. Therefore, while the ethics of genetics provides a legitimate starting point - even a backbone - for tackling ethical issues in neuroimaging, they do not suffice. Drawing on recent neuroimaging findings and their plausible real-world applications, we argue that interpretation of neuroimaging data is a key epistemological and ethical challenge. This challenge is two-fold. First, at the scientific level, the sheer complexity of neuroscience research poses challenges for integration of knowledge and meaningful interpretation of data. Second, at the social and cultural level, we find that interpretations of imaging studies are bound by cultural and anthropological frameworks. In particular, the introduction of concepts of self and personhood in neuroimaging illustrates the interaction of interpretation levels and is a major reason why ethical reflection on genetics will only partially help settle neuroethical issues. Indeed, ethical interpretation of such findings will necessitate not only traditional bioethical input but also a wider perspective on the construction of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
This paper argues that communitarian philosophy can be an important philosophic resource for feminist thinkers, particularly when considered in the light of Jane Addams's (1860-1935) feminist-pragmatism. Addams's communitarianism requires progressive change as well as a moral duty to seek out diverse voices. Contrary to some contemporary communitarians, Addams extends her concept of community to include interdependent global communities, such as the global community of women peace workers.
To date, ethics discussions about stem cell research overwhelmingly have centered on the morality and acceptability of using human embryonic stem cells. Governments in many jurisdictions have now answered these “first-level questions” and many have now begun to address ethical issues related to the donation of cells, gametes, or embryos for research. In this commentary, we move beyond these ethical concerns to discuss new themes that scientists on the forefront of NRM development anticipate, providing a preliminary framework for further discussion (...) between scientists and ethicists. Fostering strong partnerships between neuroscientists and ethicists that operate and collaborate within this evolving framework will maximize the translation of NRM discoveries on the brain into cures that are safe and address the needs of science and society. (shrink)
Advocates of “concordance” describe it as a new model of shared decision-making between physicians and patients based on a partnership of equals. “Concordance” is meant to make obsolete the notion of “compliance,” in which patients are seen as, ideally, following doctors’ orders. This essay offers a critical view of concordance, arguing that the literature itself on concordance, including materials at the web site of Medicines Partnership, the implementation arm in Great Britain of the concordance model, is full of contradiction; concordance, (...) in fact, harbors an ideology of compliance. The essay suggests that an improvement in patient medication use will more likely come from a frank consideration of the relation of compliance issues and commercial ones, and that a key question across domains is, “how are patients/health agents/consumers persuaded to acquire certain drugs and take them as directed?”. (shrink)
This article provides a historical overview of the Existential-Phenomenological tradition in psychiatry and psychotherapy, tracing its development from its origin in nineteenth and twentieth century philosophical thought, through its major European psychiatric proponents and schools, to its emergence as an influential approach in North America after World War II. The emphasis is on the implicit themes that provide continuity within this movement as well as on the distinctive contributions of individual thinkers. We conclude with a discussion of the present status (...) and future prospects of this tradition. (shrink)
The transformative effects of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices and processes in Australia are wide spread and far reaching. The move away from adjudication affects legal institutions, legal practitioners and the judiciary. As lawyers play a key role in the administration of justice, the transition to ADR transforms many areas of legal practice. This article considers the rise of ADR in Australia in the non-criminal law context, the manner in which ADR changes the way in which law is practised, and (...) the associated ethical challenges confronting the legal profession. (shrink)
This paper details a “metadisciplinary” applied ethics course jointly taught and pioneered by a biologist, psychologist, and ethicist on the subject of Assisted Reproduction. Contrasted with a transdisciplinary approach and a multidisciplinary approach , a metadisciplinary approach involves both of these former characteristics while incorporating a continuous, critical appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses of the contrasting methods and scopes of each discipline’s methods of inquiry. This paper details the kinds of subjects that lend themselves to metadisciplinary approaches , staffing (...) guidelines for a smoothly functioning core team, how to plan and prepare the day-to-day of such a course to prevent a diffuse lesson structure, assignment and evaluation guidelines, and an appraisal of the value of such a class. The authors argue that while fundamental research may be conducted along traditional disciplinary lines, solutions to the complex problems of contemporary society require people who are equipped with problem-solving skills whose relevance spans disciplinary boundaries. (shrink)
We reply to discussions of Equality: From Theory to Action by Harry Brighouse, Joanne Conaghan, Cillian McBride and Stuart White. We find many of their points helpful and treat them as a useful contribution to a continuing dialogue on egalitarianism.
Very young children occasionally commit scale errors, which involve a dramatic dissociation between planning and control: A child's visual representation of the size of a miniature object is not used in planning an action on it, but is used in the control of the action. Glover's planning–control model offers a very useful framework for analyzing this newly documented phenomenon.
The meaningful consideration of cultural practices, values and beliefs is a necessary component in the effective translation of advancements in neuroscience to clinical practice and public discourse. Society’s immense investment in biomedical science and technology, in conjunction with an increasingly diverse socio-cultural landscape, necessitates the study of how potential discoveries in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease are perceived and utilized across cultures. Building on the work of neuroscientists, ethicists and philosophers, we argue that the growing field of neuroethics provides (...) a pragmatic and constructive pathway to guide advancements in neuroscience in a manner that is culturally nuanced and relevant. Here we review a case study of one issue in culturally oriented neuroscience research where it is evident that traditional research ethics must be broadened and the values and needs of diverse populations considered for meaningful and relevant research practices. A global approach to neuroethics has the potential to furnish critical engagement with cultural considerations of advancements in neuroscience. (shrink)
A significant increase occurred in the initiation and duration of breast-feeding among Honduran women between 1981 and 1987. Changes in population characteristics would be expected to lead to a decrease in breast-feeding at each infant age, but these were offset by behavioural changes that led to an increase in the likelihood of initiation and continuation of breast-feeding. An exploration of relevant factors suggests that the PROALMA breast-feeding promotion programme has had a profound effect on the breast-feeding behaviour of Honduran mothers.
Any attention paid to the positioning of telecommunications installations in natural landscapes usually relates to the aesthetic impact. However, such paraphernalia, particularly when contrasted with “natural” surroundings, invites us to think beyond the visible. Through Heidegger’s accounts of Zuhandenheit and Vorhandenheit, as well as his later articulations on Nature as it is subjected to the ordering principles of Gestell, this paper aims to highlight the overlaps of the natural and the technological worlds inhabited by communications structures, considering the relationship between (...) the human and the natural realms, through the uncertain electromagnetic phenomena that envelops the two. The essay is underpinned by the extended phenomenological description of an encounter with such technology that includes, following Anthony J. Steinbock’s outline of a phenomenological approach that might begin with the facts of the everyday sciences, some reference to the basic concepts of physics involved in transmissions technology. (shrink)
Learning about a scientific concept often occurs in the context of unfamiliar examples. Mutual alignment analogy ? a type of analogical comparison in which the analogues are only partially understood ? has been shown to facilitate learning from unfamiliar examples . In the present study, we examined the role of mutual alignment analogy in the abstraction and transfer of a complex scientific concept from examples presented in expository texts. Our results provide evidence that (a) promoting comparison between two examples and (...) (b) orienting the learner toward relational commonalities result in greater abstraction and transfer. These findings suggest that mutual alignment analogy is an effective means of promoting abstraction and transfer of complex scientific concepts, and may thus be used in the classroom to promote learning from unfamiliar examples. (shrink)
This paper details a “metadisciplinary” applied ethics course jointly taught and pioneered by a biologist, psychologist, and ethicist on the subject of Assisted Reproduction. Contrasted with a transdisciplinary approach and a multidisciplinary approach, a metadisciplinary approach involves both of these former characteristics while incorporating a continuous, critical appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses of the contrasting methods and scopes of each discipline’s methods of inquiry. This paper details the kinds of subjects that lend themselves to metadisciplinary approaches, staffing guidelines for (...) a smoothly functioning core team, how to plan and prepare the day-to-day of such a course to prevent a diffuse lesson structure, assignment and evaluation guidelines, and an appraisal of the value of such a class. The authors argue that while fundamental research may be conducted along traditional disciplinary lines, solutions to the complex problems of contemporary society require people who are equipped with problem-solving skills whose relevance spans disciplinary boundaries. (shrink)
Images abound of women throughout the ages engaging in various activities. But why are there so few representations of childbirth in visual art? Feminist artist Judy Chicago once suggested that depictions of women giving birth do not commonly occur in Western culture but can be found in other contexts such as pre-Columbian art or societies previously considered "primitive." Chicago's own exploration of the theme resulted in the creation of The Birth Project (1980-85): an unprecedented series of eighty handcrafted works (...) of art created in a variety of needlework techniques by more than 130 artisans that celebrate the experience of birth and a woman's transformation into motherhood. But why is The Birth Project an aberration from today's norm? What are the reasons that childbirth remains a taboo subject in our visual culture? Why is the birthing experience--so pervasive for women--so infrequently celebrated, even by female artists? (shrink)