Visual attentional processing was examined in adult meditators and non-meditators on behavioral measures of change blindness, concentration, perspective-shifting, selective attention, and sustained inattentional blindness. Results showed that meditators noticed more changes in flickering scenes and noticed them more quickly, counted more accurately in a challenging concentration task, identified a greater number of alternative perspectives in multiple perspectives images, and showed less interference from invalid cues in a visual selective attention task, but did not differ on a measure of sustained inattentional (...) blindness. Together, results show that regular meditation is associated with more accurate, efficient, and flexible visual attentional processing across diverse tasks that have high face validity outside of the laboratory. Furthermore, effects were assessed in a context separate from actual meditation practice, suggesting that meditators’ better visual attention is not just immediate, but extends to contexts separate from meditation practice. (shrink)
A number of debates in philosophy of biology and psychology, as well as in their respective sciences, hinge on particular views about the relationship between genotypes and phenotypes. One such view is that the genotype-phenotype relationship is relatively straightforward, in the sense that a genome contains the ?genes for? the various traits that an organism exhibits. This leads to the assumption that if a particular set of traits is posited to be present in an organism, there must be a corresponding (...) number of genes in that organism's genome to account for those traits. This assumption underlies what can be called the ?counting argument,? in which empirical estimates of the number of genes in a genome are used to support or refute particular hypotheses in philosophical debates about biology and psychology. In this paper, we assess the counting argument as it is used in discussions of the alleged massive modularity of the brain, and conclude that this argument cannot be upheld in light of recent philosophical work on gene concepts and empirical work on genome complexity. In doing so, we illustrate that there are those on both sides of the debate about massive modularity who rely on an incorrect view of gene concepts and the nature of the genotype-phenotype relationship. (shrink)
Research is increasingly recognised as a key component of medical curricula, offering a range of benefits including development of skills in evidence-based medicine. The literature indicates that experienced academic supervision or mentoring is important in any research activity and positively influences research output. The aim of this project was to investigate the human research ethics experiences and knowledge of three groups: medical students, and university academic staff and clinicians eligible to supervise medical student research projects; at two Australian universities. Training (...) in research ethics was low amongst academic staff and clinicians eligible to supervise medical student research. Only two-thirds of academic staff and students and less than half of clinicians surveyed indicated that specific patient consent was required for a doctor to include patient medical records within a research publication. There was limited awareness of requirements for participant information and consent forms amongst all groups. In the case of clinical trials, fewer clinicians and students than academics indicated there was a requirement to obtain consent. Awareness of the ethics committee focus on respect was low across all groups. This project has identified significant gaps in human research ethics understanding among medical students, and university academic staff and clinicians. The incorporation of research within medical curricula provides the impetus for medical schools and their institutions to ensure that academic staff and clinicians who are eligible and qualified to supervise students’ research projects are appropriately trained in human research ethics. (shrink)
This volume provides a broad overview of issues in the philosophy of behavioral biology, covering four main themes: genetic, developmental, evolutionary, and neurobiological explanations of behavior. It is both interdisciplinary and empirically informed in its approach, addressing philosophical issues that arise from recent scientific findings in biological research on human and non-human animal behavior. Accordingly, it includes papers by professional philosophers and philosophers of science, as well as practicing scientists. Much of the work in this volume builds on presentations given (...) at the international conference, “Biological Explanations of Behavior: Philosophical Perspectives”, held in 2008 at the Leibniz Universität Hannover in Germany. The volume is intended to be of interest to a broad range of audiences, which includes philosophers (e.g., philosophers of mind, philosophers of biology, and metaethicists), as well as practicing scientists, such as biologists or psychologists whose interests relate to biological explanations of behavior. (shrink)
The fourteen authors in this collection used phenomenology and hermeneutics to conduct deep inquiry into perplexing and wondrous events in their work and personal lives. These seasoned scholar-practitioners gained remarkable insight into areas such as health care and illness, organ donation, intercultural communications, high-performance teams, artistic production, jazz improvisation, and the integration of Tai Chi into education. All authors were transformed by phenomenology's expanded ways of seeing and being.
The Bermuda Principles for DNA sequence data sharing are an enduring legacy of the Human Genome Project. They were adopted by the HGP at a strategy meeting in Bermuda in February of 1996 and implemented in formal policies by early 1998, mandating daily release of HGP-funded DNA sequences into the public domain. The idea of daily sharing, we argue, emanated directly from strategies for large, goal-directed molecular biology projects first tested within the “community” of C. elegans researchers, and were introduced (...) and defended for the HGP by the nematode biologists John Sulston and Robert Waterston. In the C. elegans community, and subsequently in the HGP, daily sharing served the pragmatic goals of quality control and project coordination. Yet in the HGP human genome, we also argue, the Bermuda Principles addressed concerns about gene patents impeding scientific advancement, and were aspirational and flexible in implementation and justification. They endured as an archetype for how rapid data sharing could be realized and rationalized, and permitted adaptation to the needs of various scientific communities. Yet in addition to the support of Sulston and Waterston, their adoption also depended on the clout of administrators at the US National Institutes of Health and the UK nonprofit charity the Wellcome Trust, which together funded 90% of the HGP human sequencing effort. The other nations wishing to remain in the HGP consortium had to accommodate to the Bermuda Principles, requiring exceptions from incompatible existing or pending data access policies for publicly funded research in Germany, Japan, and France. We begin this story in 1963, with the biologist Sydney Brenner’s proposal for a nematode research program at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the University of Cambridge. We continue through 2003, with the completion of the HGP human reference genome, and conclude with observations about policy and the historiography of molecular biology. (shrink)
Though we agree with their argument that language is shaped by domain-general learning processes, Christiansen & Chater (C&C) neglect to detail how the development of these processes shapes language change. We discuss a number of examples that show how developmental processes at multiple levels and timescales are critical to understanding the origin of domain-general mechanisms that shape language evolution.
Most behavioural genetic studies focus on genetic and environmental influences on inter-individual phenotypic differences at the population level. The growing collection of intensive longitudinal data in social and behavioural science offers a unique opportunity to examine genetic and environmental influences on intra-individual phenotypic variability at the individual level. The current study introduces a novel idiographic approach and one novel method to investigate genetic and environmental influences on intra-individual variability by a simple empirical demonstration. Person-specific non-shared environmental influences on intra-individual variability (...) of daily school feelings were estimated using time series data from twenty-one pairs of monozygotic twins over two consecutive weeks. Results showed substantial inter-individual heterogeneity in person- specific non-shared environmental influences. The current study represents a first step in investigating environmental influences on intra-individual variability with an idiographic approach, and provides implications for future behavioural genetic studies to examine developmental processes from a microscopic angle. (shrink)