The scientific community, we hold, often provides society with knowledge—that the HIV virus causes AIDS, that anthropogenic climate change is underway, that the MMR vaccine is safe. Some deny that we have this knowledge, however, and work to undermine it in others. It has been common to refer to such agents as “denialists”. At first glance, then, denialism appears to be a form of skepticism. But while we know that various denialist strategies for suppressing belief are generally effective, little is (...) known about which strategies are most effective. We see this as an important first step toward their remediation. This paper leverages the approximate comparison to various forms of philosophical skepticism to design an experimental test of the efficacy of four broad strategies of denial at suppressing belief in specific scientific claims. Our results suggest that assertive strategies are more effective at suppressing belief than questioning strategies. (shrink)
Science communication via testimony requires a certain level of trust. But in the context of ideologically-entangled scientific issues, trust is in short supply—particularly when the issues are politically ‘entangled’. In such cases, cultural values are better predictors than scientific literacy for whether agents trust the publicly-directed claims of the scientific community. In this paper, we argue that a common way of thinking about scientific literacy—as knowledge of particular scientific facts or concepts—ought to give way to a second-order understanding of science (...) as a process as a more important notion for the public’s trust of science. (shrink)
"Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind" is an elegant survey of Stoic and Epicurean ideas about the soul an introduction to two ancient schools whose belief in the soul's physicality offer compelling parallels to modern approaches in the ...
What do the terms “profession, professional, professionalism” mean in 2002? One dictionary defines profession as “a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation,” and it defines professionalism as “the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or make a profession or professional person.” These definitions are appealingly simple. Complexity arises when we add the term “medical” as in the medical profession, a medical professional, or medical professionalism; and, here a specific understanding of “the conduct, aims, and qualities (...) that characterize” the field of medicine is required. To complicate matters, professionalism applies to both the profession as a whole as well as the individual professional persons, such as the physicians. (shrink)
Early adversity and trauma can have profound effects on children’s affective development and mental health outcomes. Interventions that improve mental health and socioemotional development are essential to mitigate these effects. We conducted a pilot study examining whether a reading-based program improves emotion recognition and mental health through socialization in Syrian refugee and Jordanian non-refugee children aged 7–12 years old living in Jordan. To measure emotion recognition, children classified the expression in faces morphed between two emotions, while mental health was assessed (...) using survey measures of optimism, depression, anxiety, distress, and insecurity. Prior to the intervention, both groups of children were significantly biased to interpret ambiguous facial expressions as sad, while there was no clear bias on the fear–anger spectrum. Following the intervention, we found changes in Syrian refugee children’s bias in emotion recognition away from sad facial expressions, although this returned to pre-intervention levels 2 months after the end of the program. This shift in the bias away from sad facial expressions was not associated with changes in self-reported mental health symptoms. These results suggest a potential positive role of the reading intervention on affective development, but further research is required to determine the longer-term impacts of the program. (shrink)
We surveyed selected physician members of the Society for Health and Human Values (SHHV) to study the benefits and problems of combining a medical career with a strong scholarly interest in the humanities. The 19 usable narrative responses characterized major benefits as experiential base and teaching opportunities. Barriers were numerous and fell under the general headings of: lack of time; lack of institutional rewards; lack of money for research and scholarship; lack of support from humanities peers; lack of suport from (...) medical colleagues; personal financial sacrifice; and lack of training. Some respondents offered creative solutions to these problems, including assertive negotiation of a job description, identification of helpful mentors, and various networking and administrative strategies. The survey results, while preliminary, suggest ways in which SHHV can assist clinicians who wish to develop a serious commitment to humanities study and teaching. (shrink)
Strategies for effectively communicating scientific findings to the public are an important and growing area of study. Recognizing that some complex subjects require recipients of information to take a more active role in constructing an understanding, we sought to determine whether it was possible to increase subjects’ intellectual effort via “priming” methodologies. In particular, we asked whether subconsciously priming “intellectual virtues”, such as curiosity, perseverance, patience, and diligence might improve participants’ effort and performance on various cognitive tasks. In the first (...) experiment, we found no significant differences in either effort or understanding between IV-primed and neutrally-primed individuals across two different priming techniques. The second experiment measured the effect of IV-priming on intellectual effort in simpler, shorter-duration puzzles and exploration activities; here, we observed an effect, but given its low strength and short duration, we do not believe that priming of IVs is a promising strategy for science communication. (shrink)
Dispositional forgiveness is positively associated with many facets of wellbeing and has protective implications against depression and anxiety in adolescents. However, little work has been done to examine neurobiological aspects of forgiveness as they relate to clinical symptoms. In order to better understand the neural mechanisms supporting the protective role of forgiveness in adolescents, the current study examined the middle frontal gyrus, which comprises the majority of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and is associated with cognitive regulation, and its relationship to (...) forgiveness and clinical symptoms in a sample of healthy adolescents. In this cross-sectional study, larger MFG volume was significantly associated with higher self-reported dispositional forgiveness scores and lower levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms. Forgiveness mediated the relationship between MFG volume and both depressive and anxiety symptom levels. The mediating role of forgiveness in the relationship between MFG volume and clinical symptoms suggests that one way that cognitive regulation strategies supported by this brain region may improve adolescent mental health is via increasing a capacity for forgiveness. The present study highlights the relevance of forgiveness to neurobiology and their relevance to emotional health in adolescents. Future longitudinal studies should focus on the predictive quality of the relationship between forgiveness, brain volume and clinical symptoms and the effects of forgiveness interventions on these relationships. (shrink)
This study examines the conflation of terms such as “knowledge” and “understanding” in peer-reviewed literature, and tests the hypothesis that little current research clearly distinguishes between importantly distinct epistemic states. Two sets of data are presented from papers published in the journal Public Understanding of Science. In the first set, the digital text analysis tool, Voyant, is used to analyze all papers published in 2014 for the use of epistemic success terms. In the second set of data, all papers published (...) in Public Understanding of Science from 2010–2015 are systematically analyzed to identify instances in which epistemic states are empirically measured. The results indicate that epistemic success terms are inconsistently defined, and that measurement of understanding, in particular, is rarely achieved in public understanding of science studies. We suggest that more diligent attention to measuring understanding, as opposed to mere knowledge, will increase efficacy of scientific outreach and communication efforts. (shrink)
This book features new essays by philosophers, psychologists, and a theologian on the important topic of virtue development. The essays engage with work from multiple disciplines and thereby seek to bridge disciplinary divides. The volume is a significant contribution to the emerging interdisciplinary field of virtue development studies.
:Open neural tube defects or myelomeningoceles are a common congenital condition caused by failure of closure of the neural tube early in gestation, leading to a number of neurologic sequelae including paralysis, hindbrain herniation, hydrocephalus and neurogenic bowel and bladder dysfunction. Traditionally, the condition was treated by closure of the defect postnatally but a recently completed randomized controlled trial of prenatal versus postnatal closure demonstrated improved neurologic outcomes in the prenatal closure group. Fetal surgery, or more precisely maternal-fetal surgery, raises (...) a number of ethical issues that we address including who the patient is, informed consent, surgical innovation and equipoise as well maternal assumption of risk. As the procedure becomes more widely adopted into practice, we suggest close monitoring of new fetal surgery centers, in order to ensure that the positive results of the trial are maintained without increased risk to both the mother and fetus. (shrink)
The narratives that emerging adults wrote about a time when they learned an important moral, value or lesson were explored in order to determine the characteristics of events that lead to internalized values as well as to compare the way different kinds of moral values are socialized. Lessons resulting from misbehavior were reported most frequently. Those involving direct teaching of values were most highly internalized, with internalization assessed by importance and current impact. Self-reflection and self-generation of values was identified as (...) a key means to value learning and was reported more frequently than any other source of values (e.g., parents, peers). Finally, it appears that a framework for understanding socialization that involves different domains can reflect how individuals categorize their value-learning experiences. (shrink)
This paper interrogates and reclaims clown practices in children’s rehabilitation as ‘foolish.’ Attempts to legitimize and ‘take seriously’ clown practices in the health sciences frame the work of clowns as secondary to the ‘real’ work of medical professionals and diminish the ways clowns support emotional vulnerability and bravery with a willingness to fail and be ridiculous as fundamental to their work. Narrow conceptualizations of clown practices in hospitals as only happy and funny overlook the ways clowns also routinely engage with (...) sadness, despair, discomfort and many other ways of being and doing. Our exploration of clown practices as foolish exposes the ways children’s rehabilitation upholds particular neoliberal models of success and invites a re-centring of rehabilitation and health care research and practice towards relationship building, supporting meaningful projects and a continued nurturing of aesthetic and pleasurable ways of being-in-the-world in the present moment as valuable unto themselves. (shrink)