Several cognitive accounts of human communication argue for a language-independent, prelinguistic basis of human communication and language. The current study provides evidence for the universality of a prelinguistic gestural basis for human communication. We used a standardized, semi-natural elicitation procedure in seven very different cultures around the world to test for the existence of preverbal pointing in infants and their caregivers. Results were that by 10–14 months of age, infants and their caregivers pointed in all cultures in the same basic (...) situation with similar frequencies and the same proto-typical morphology of the extended index finger. Infants’ pointing was best predicted by age and caregiver pointing, but not by cultural group. Further analyses revealed a strong relation between the temporal unfolding of caregivers’ and infants’ pointing events, uncovering a structure of early prelinguistic gestural conversation. Findings support the existence of a gestural, language-independent universal of human communication that forms a culturally shared, prelinguistic basis for diversified linguistic communication. (shrink)
Background A baby hatch called the “Stork’s Cradle” has been in place at Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto City, Japan, since May 10, 2007. Babyklappes were first established in Germany in 2000, and there are currently more than 90 locations. Attitudes regarding baby hatches are divided in Japan and neither opinions for nor against baby hatches have thus far been overwhelming. To consider the appropriateness of baby hatches, we present and examine the validity of each major objection to establishing baby hatches. (...) Discussion There are various objections to baby hatches as follows: It violates a child’s right to know the identity of his or her biological parents by allowing anonymous birth; it neglects fulfillment of the biological parents’ basic obligation to raise their child and its very availability induces abandonment of infants; some people abuse it for very selfish reasons; it cannot save babies’ lives; the rights of one parent can be ignored if the other surrenders a child without his or her consent; it puts a baby in medical jeopardy; and it has no clear legal basis. The authors would argue that there are many plausible refutations for each objection mainly based on priority of child’s right to life, pregnant women’s vulnerability and necessity of anonymity, social responsibility to protect and raise children, differences between dropping a child off at a baby hatch and child neglect, limited function of social childcare center, inevitability of abuse by a minority of people, necessary distinction between outcomes that occur only because baby hatches exist and those that occur regardless of their existence, important local direct and upmost measures for women in trouble, and difference between ambiguous legality and illegality. Summary We argue that a certain number of baby hatches should continue to be established as a last resort, in a form that can maintain anonymity if the parent dropping the child off so desires. It should be supported if it is initiated with good intentions; if the maximum possible effort is made at said facility to protect the interests, rights, and safety of the child; and if no clear evidence of harm exists. (shrink)
Background The purpose of this study is to explore laypersons' attitudes toward the use of archived (existing) materials such as medical records and biological samples and to compare them with the attitudes of physicians who are involved in medical research. Methods Three focus group interviews were conducted, in which seven Japanese male members of the general public, seven female members of the general public and seven physicians participated. Results It was revealed that the lay public expressed diverse attitudes towards the (...) use of archived information and samples without informed consent. Protecting a subject's privacy, maintaining confidentiality, and communicating the outcomes of studies to research subjects were regarded as essential preconditions if researchers were to have access to archived information and samples used for research without the specific informed consent of the subjects who provided the material. Although participating physicians thought that some kind of prior permission from subjects was desirable, they pointed out the difficulties involved in obtaining individual informed consent in each case. Conclusions The present preliminary study indicates that the lay public and medical professionals may have different attitudes towards the use of archived information and samples without specific informed consent. This hypothesis, however, is derived from our focus groups interviews, and requires validation through research using a larger sample. (shrink)
Die Individuumslehre Fichtes äußert sich in seiner Jenaer Zeit am ausdrücklichsten. Nach dem Jahr 1800 erlebt sowohl seine Wissenschaftslehre als auch seine Individuumslehre eine große Umwandlung. Aber genauer gesehen tritt schon in der späten Phase seiner Jenaer Zeit eine gewisse Veränderung dieser Lehre auf.
We can easily discriminate self-produced from externally generated sensory signals. Recent studies suggest that the prediction of the sensory consequences of one’s own actions made by forward model can be used to attenuate the sensory effects of self-produced movements, thereby enabling a differentiation of the self-produced sensation from the externally generated one. The present study showed that attenuation of sensation occurred both when participants themselves performed a goal-directed action and when they observed experimenter performing the same action, although they clearly (...) reported that the tones were produced by other during action observation and by themselves during their own action. These results suggest that sensory prediction of action modulates ongoing auditory processing irrespective of who produces the sounds and that the explicit judgment of agency does not necessarily rely on the same mechanisms on which implicit perceptual measures such as sensory attenuation rely. (shrink)
Although euthanasia has been a pressing ethical and public issue, empirical data are lacking in Japan. We aimed to explore Japanese nurses’ attitudes to patients’ requests for euthanasia and to estimate the proportion of nurses who have taken active steps to hasten death. A postal survey was conducted between October and December 1999 among all nurse members of the Japanese Association of Palliative Medicine, using a self-administered questionnaire based on the one used in a previous survey with Australian nurses in (...) 1991. The response rate was 68%. A total of 53% of the respondents had been asked by patients to hasten their death, but none had taken active steps to bring about death. Only 23% regarded voluntary active euthanasia as something ethically right and 14% would practice it if it were legal. A comparison with empirical data from the previous Australian study suggests a significantly more conservative attitude among Japanese nurses. (shrink)
Objective—To demonstrate Japanese doctors' and nurses' attitudes towards and practices of voluntary euthanasia (VE) and to compare their attitudes and practices in this regard. Design—Postal survey, conducted between October and December 1999, using a self-administered questionnaire.Participants—All doctor members and nurse members of the Japanese Association of Palliative Medicine.Main outcome measure—Doctors' and nurses' attitude towards and practices of VE.Results—We received 366 completed questionnaires from 642 doctors surveyed (response rate, 58%) and 145 from 217 nurses surveyed (68%). A total of 54% (95% (...) confidence interval (CI): 49-59) of the responding doctors and 53% (CI: 45-61) of the responding nurses had been asked by patients to hasten death, of whom 5% (CI: 2-8) of the former and none of the latter had taken active steps to bring about death. Although 88% (CI: 83-92) of the doctors and 85% (CI: 77-93) of the nurses answered that a patient's request to hasten death can sometimes be rational, only 33% (CI: 28-38) and 23% (CI: 16-30) respectively regarded VE as ethically right and 22% (CI: 18-36) and 15% (CI: 8-20) respectively would practise VE if it were legal. Logistic regression model analysis showed that the respondents' profession was not a statistically independent factor predicting his or her response to any question regarding attitudes towards VE. Conclusions—A minority of responding doctors and nurses thought VE was ethically or legally acceptable. There seems no significant difference in attitudes towards VE between the doctors and nurses. However, only doctors had practised VE. (shrink)
As of 2009, the number of donors in Japan is the lowest among developed countries. On July 13, 2009, Japan's Organ Transplant Law was revised for the first time in 12 years. The revised and old laws differ greatly on four primary points: the definition of death, age requirements for donors, requirements for brain- death determination and organ extraction, and the appropriateness of priority transplants for relatives.In the four months of deliberations in the National Diet before the new law was (...) established, various arguments regarding brain death and organ transplantation were offered. An amazing variety of opinions continue to be offered, even after more than 40 years have elapsed since the first heart organ transplant in Japan. Some are of the opinion that with the passage of the revised law, Japan will finally become capable of performing transplants according to global standards. Contrarily, there are assertions that organ transplants from brain- dead donors are unacceptable because they result in organs being taken from living human beings.Considering the current conditions, we will organize and introduce the arguments for and against organ transplants from brain- dead donors in contemporary Japan. Subsequently, we will discuss the primary arguments against organ transplants from brain- dead donors from the perspective of contemporary Japanese views on life and death. After introducing the recent view that brain death should not be regarded as equivalent to the death of a human being, we would like to probe the deeply-rooted views on life and death upon which it is based. (shrink)
Recent social theory has identified various institutional forces operating at a global level promoting novel trends towards “individualization”, “reflexive self-identity” and “new individualism” (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 2001; Giddens, 1991, 1992; Elliott and Lemert, 2009, 2009a). This article develops an exploratory overview of the theory of new individualism with reference to Japanese sociologies of self specifically and contemporary Japanese society more generally. Detailing the large-scale societal shift in Japan from traditional forms of identity-construction (based on a citizenship model of social order) (...) to post-traditional forms of identity-construction (promoted by globalization and neoliberal policies), the article distinguishes between four discourses of the self in post-war Japanese society: the age of the ideal; the age of the dream; the age of fiction; and, the age of fragmentation. Moreover, the article examines the Japanese employment system and the emergence of new individualist employment, as well as considering the emotional impacts of a rise in suicides in contemporary Japan. The argument is that the new individualist thesis can contribute to a sociological understanding of recent social transformations in Japan. However, situating new individualism in the context of Japan also highlights significant tensions in processes of new individualism, tensions between individual initiatives and institutional pressures. (shrink)
BackgroundThe current debate about medical futility is mostly driven by theoretical and personal perspectives and there is a lack of empirical data to document experts and public attitudes towards medical futility.MethodsTo examine the attitudes of the Japanese experts in the fields relevant to medical futility a questionnaire survey was conducted among the members of the Japan Association for Bioethics. A total number of 108 questionnaires returned filled in, giving a response rate of 50.9%. Among the respondents 62% were healthcare professionals (...) (HCPs) and 37% were non-healthcare professionals (Non-HCPs).ResultsThe majority of respondents (67.6 %) believed that a physician's refusal to provide or continue a treatment on the ground of futility judgment could never be morally justified but 22.2% approved such refusal with conditions. In the case of physiologically futile care, three-quarters believed that a physician should inform the patient/family of his futility judgment and it would be the patient who could decide what should be done next, based on his/her value judgment. However more than 10% said that a physician should ask about a patient's value and goals, but the final decision was left to the doctor not the patient. There was no statistically significant difference between HCPs and Non-HCPs (p = 0.676). Of respondents 67.6% believed that practical guidelines set up by the health authority would be helpful in futility judgment.ConclusionThe results show that there is no support for the physicians' unilateral decision- making on futile care. This survey highlights medical futility as an emerging issue in Japanese healthcare and emphasizes on the need for public discussion and policy development. (shrink)
Since Japan adopted the concept of informed consent from the West, its inappropriate acquisition from patients in the Japanese clinical setting has continued, due in part to cultural aspects. Here, we discuss the current status of and contemporary issues surrounding informed consent in Japan, and how these are influenced by Japanese culture.
Background Destination therapy is the permanent implantation of a left ventricular assist device in patients with end-stage, severe heart failure who are ineligible for heart transplantation. DT improves both the quality of life and prognosis of patients with end-stage heart failure. However, there are also downsides to DT such as life-threatening complications and the potential for the patient to live beyond their desired length of life following such major complications. Because of deeply ingrained cultural and religious beliefs regarding death and (...) the sanctity of life, Japanese society may not be ready to make changes needed to enable patients to have LVADs deactivated under certain circumstances to avoid needless suffering. Main text Western ethical views that permit LVAD deactivation based mainly on respect for autonomy and dignity have not been accepted thus far in Japan and are unlikely to be accepted, given the current Japanese culture and traditional values. Some healthcare professionals might regard patients as ineligible for DT unless they have prepared advance directives. If this were to happen, the right to prepare an advance directive would instead become an obligation to do so. Furthermore, patient selection for DT poses another ethical issue. Given the predominant sanctity of life principle and lack of cost-consciousness regarding medical expenses, medically appropriate exclusion criteria would be ignored and DT could be applied to various patients, including very old patients, the demented, or even patients in persistent vegetative states, through on-site judgment. Conclusion There is an urgent need for Japan to establish and enact a basic act for patient rights. The act should include: respect for a patient’s right to self-determination; the right to refuse unwanted treatment; the right to prepare legally binding advance directives; the right to decline to prepare such directives; and access to nationally insured healthcare. It should enable those concerned with patient care involving DT to seek ethical advice from ethics committees. Furthermore, it should state that healthcare professionals involved in the discontinuation of life support in a proper manner are immune to any legal action and that they have the right to conscientiously object to LVAD deactivation. (shrink)
The present paper studies self-awareness and introduces some self-awareness related incidents. It then describes the relationship between self-awareness and consciousness and explains the MoNAD, a neural network circuit developed by the authors that capably describes the phenomena of self-awareness and consciousness. A model of self-awareness is then presented. This self-awareness model is a parallel network system in which multiple independent MoNADs communicate with one another. In experiments with robots, three test robots were used: (1) a self-image robot reflected in a (...) mirror, (2) another robot, and (3) a cable-connected robot behaving as commanded by the self-robot. The reactions of the three test robots to the self-robot were compared to investigate the self-awareness of the self-robot. The experiments have shown that the conditions required for the self-robot to interpret the test robot to be part of itself are: (1) the test robot must return a reaction within a certain period of time that is inte.. (shrink)