We propose a novel phenomenon, attention contagion, defined as the spread of attentive (or inattentive) states among members of a group. We examined attention contagion in a learning environment in which pairs of undergraduate students watched a lecture video. Each pair consisted of a participant and a confederate trained to exhibit attentive behaviors (e.g., leaning forward) or inattentive behaviors (e.g., slouching). In Experiment 1, confederates sat in front of participants and could be seen. Relative to participants who watched the lecture (...) with an inattentive confederate, participants with an attentive confederate: (a) self-reported higher levels of attentiveness, (b) behaved more attentively (e.g., took more notes), and (c) had better memory for lecture content. In Experiment 2, confederates sat behind participants. Despite confederates not being visible, participants were still aware of whether confederates were acting attentively or inattentively, and participants were still susceptible to attention contagion. Our findings suggest that distraction is one factor that contributes to the spread of inattentiveness (Experiment 1), but this phenomenon apparently can still occur in the absence of distraction (Experiment 2). We propose an account of how (in)attentiveness spreads across students and discuss practical implications regarding how learning is affected in the classroom. (shrink)
Upshot: We respond to three main challenges that the commentaries have raised. First, we argue that to deal successfully with the hard problem of consciousness, it is not enough to posit a remedy by which to move beyond the hard problem. Second, we argue that it makes no sense to explain identity. Yet this does not commit us to definitions by fiat. The strategy we pursue here, and in the target article, is not to explain identity but to explain away (...) the appearance of non-identity. Finally, while we are sympathetic to Varela’s call for a paradigm shift in consciousness studies, we argue here, and in the target article, that this call can only be properly successful if the hard problem is dismantled. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Exploring the Depth of Dream Experience: The Enactive Framework and Methods for Neurophenomenological Research” by Elizaveta Solomonova & Xin Wei Sha. Upshot: This commentary focuses on an ontological claim made by the authors of this target article: that perceiving, imagining and dreaming are inseparable. It explores how best to understand this “inseparability condition.” It is shown that the evidence needed to justify a strict reading of the inseparability condition is lacking, while there is room (...) for a more relaxed rendition of the inseparability condition. The inferred lesson is that in developing an enactive neurophenomenology of dreaming, it is a non-trivial task to achieve clarity about the ontology of dreaming, and its relationship to imagining as well as perceiving. (shrink)
In recent years, we have seen a new concern with ethics training for research and development professionals. Although ethics training has become more common, the effectiveness of the training being provided is open to question. In the present effort, a new ethics training course was developed that stresses the importance of the strategies people apply to make sense of ethical problems. The effectiveness of this training was assessed in a sample of 59 doctoral students working in the biological and social (...) sciences using a pre–post design with follow-up and a series of ethical decision-making measures serving as the outcome variable. Results showed not only that this training led to sizable gains in ethical decision making but also that these gains were maintained over time. The implications of these findings for ethics training in the sciences are discussed. (shrink)
Objective: The field of clinical ethics is relatively new and expanding. Best practices in clinical ethics against which one can benchmark performance have not been clearly articulated. The first step in developing benchmarks of clinical ethics services is to identify and understand current practices.Design and setting: Using a retrospective case study approach, the structure, activities, and resources of nine clinical ethics services in a large metropolitan centre are described, compared, and contrasted.Results: The data yielded a unique and detailed account of (...) the nature and scope of clinical ethics services across a spectrum of facilities. General themes emerged in four areas—variability, visibility, accountability, and complexity. There was a high degree of variability in the structures, activities, and resources across the clinical ethics services. Increasing visibility was identified as a significant challenge within organisations and externally. Although each service had a formal system for maintaining accountability and measuring performance, differences in the type, frequency, and content of reporting impacted service delivery. One of the most salient findings was the complexity inherent in the provision of clinical ethics services, which requires of clinical ethicists a broad and varied skill set and knowledge base. Benchmarks including the average number of consults/ethicist per year and the hospital beds/ethicist ratio are presented.Conclusion: The findings will be of interest to clinical ethicists locally, nationally, and internationally as they provide a preliminary framework from which further benchmarking measures and best practices in clinical ethics can be identified, developed, and evaluated. (shrink)
The British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recently released new guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the psychiatric category antisocial personality disorder. Evident in these recommendations is a broader ambiguity regarding the ontology of ASPD. Although, perhaps, a mundane feature of much of medicine, in this case, ontological uncertainty has significant ethical implications as a product of the profound consequences for an individual categorised with this disorder. This paper argues that in refraining from emphasising uncertainty, (...) NICE risks reifying a controversial category. This is particularly problematical given that the guidelines recommend the identification of individuals “at risk” of raising antisocial children. Although this paper does not argue that NICE is “wrong” in any of its recommendations, more emphasis should have been placed on discussions of the ethical implications of diagnosis and treatment, especially given the multiple uncertainties associated with ASPD. It is proposed that these important issues be examined in more detail in revisions of existing NICE recommendations, and be included in upcoming guidance. This paper thus raises key questions regarding the place and role of ethics within the current and future remit of NICE. (shrink)
Moreau sketches here with enthusiasm the large features of Aquinas’s epistemology. He is not, as he makes clear, a Thomist either by training or by avowal. The book is not, then, a specialist’s monograph or dogmatic treatise. It is Moreau’s attempt to hear what Aquinas will say to the great questions. The attempt is largely successful in attending to Aquinas’s remarks, though it does not catch their ambiguities.
Citizens today are increasingly expected to be knowledgeable about and prepared to engage with biomedical knowledge. In this article, I wish to reframe this ‘public understanding of science’ project, and place fresh emphasis on public understandings of research: an engagement with the everyday laboratory practices of biomedicine and its associated ethics, rather than with specific scientific facts. This is not based on an assumption that non-scientists are ‘ignorant’ and are thus unable to ‘appropriately’ use or debate science; rather, it is (...) underpinned by an empirically-grounded observation that some individuals may be unfamiliar with certain specificities of particular modes of research and ethical frameworks, and, as a consequence, have their autonomy compromised when invited to participate in biomedical investigations. Drawing on the perspectives of participants in my own sociological research on the social and ethical dimensions of neuroscience, I argue that public understanding of biomedical research and its ethics should be developed both at the community level and within the research moment itself in order to enhance autonomy and promote more socially robust science. Public bioethics will have to play a key role in such an endeavour, and indeed will contribute in important ways to the opening up of new spaces of symmetrical engagement between bioethicists, scientists and wider publics—and hence to the democratisation of the bioethical enterprise. (shrink)