Gdp2 2013 14-14bis
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Gdp2 2013 14-14bis Presentation Transcript

  • 1. NEUROETHICS AND EDUCATIONAL ISSUES
  • 2. Perimeter Bioethics = study of controversial ethical issues brought about by advances in life sciences (biology, medicine, genomics) Cognitive neuroscience = study of human higher functions and their neural underpinning
  • 3. Ethics of neuroscience (Farah 2010): encounter between (neuro)science and society, with its inevitable trade-off between risks and benefits – Ethics of scientific research: misconduct, privacy and experimental subjects – Ethics of applied research: • (impact on individuals) application of (new) treatments and techniques, including privacy • (impact on society and institutions) e.g. neuromarketing, neuropolicy, justice and neurolaw – Impact of the scientific approach on intuitions about humanity – Ethics of neuroscience communication, the public reception of knowledge about the brain, its potential impact on society and effective use.
  • 4. Neuroscience of ethics It is here, at the juncture between psychology and the natural sciences, that neutoethics comes in. In principle, and increasingly in practice, we can understand the human mind as a part of the material world. This has profound implications for how we regard and treat ourselves and each other. It gives us powerful new ways to predict and control human behavior and a jarringly material view of ourselves. Neuroethics is the field that grapples with theses developments. (Farah 2010) • Neuroscience of moral choices • Living informed by neuroethics • Scientific study of human nature (Gazzaniga 2005): the examination of how we want to deal with the social issues of disease, normality, mortality , lifestyle, and the philosophy of living informed by our understanding of underlying brain mechanisms
  • 5. History The term “neuroethics” was coined by William Safire, to refer to “the field of philosophy that discusses the rights and wrongs of the treatment of, or enhancement of, the human brain.” I would argue that it goes further. Neuroethics should not simply be bioethics for the brain. I define neuroethics as the examination of “how we want to deal with the social issues of disease, normality, mortality, lifestyle, and the philosophy of living, informed by our understanding of underlying brain mechanisms. It is not a discipline that seeks resources for medical cure, but one that rests personal responsibility in the broadest social context. It is—or should be—an effort to come up with a brain- based philosophy of life. (Gazzaniga 2004) • The field of neuroethics can be traced back to the 2000s – conference launched in 2002 by Dana Foundation Neuroethics: Mapping the Field, – followed by some notable publications (e.g.: Farah 2002, Illes 2002), – the birth of the International Neuroethics Society (2006), dedicated journals, as well as dedicated issues in journals like Bioethics and Cognitive Neuroscience.
  • 6. Spurred by the advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the 1990s, cognitive and affective neuroscience have finally come of age. We have learned enough about the neural bases of human thought and feeling to explain, predict, and even control some aspects of human behavior. This knowledge brings risks as well as benefits, and much of neuroethics is concerned with understanding the impact of neuroscience on society and assessing the inevitable trade-offs between risks and benefits. (Farah 2010)
  • 7. Racine (2006) describes a threefold impact of putting fMRI in the public eye Neurorealism: Our concept of ‘neuro-realism’ describes how coverage of fMRI investigations can make a phenomenon uncritically real, objective or effective in the eyes of the public Neuroessentialism: The concept of ‘neuro-essentialism’ reflects how fMRI research can be depicted as equating subjectivity and personal identity to the brain. In this sense, the brain is used implicitly as a shortcut for more global concepts such as the person, the individual or the self. Neuro-policy: ‘Neuro-policy’ describes attempts to use fMRI results to promote political and personal agendas, as in the case of interest groups that uphold the investigation of social problems using fMRI.
  • 8. (Roskies 2007) puts the finger on the use of images The most striking example is probably constituted by the way we tend to interpret images, taking them for “the real thing”, and thus by the power of images that look like pictures in seducing and convincing us
  • 9. Although translating and disseminating new knowledge is a fundamental responsibility for all scientists, neuroscience is among several scientific disciplines that are particularly prone to misinformation and inaccurate reporting. Sensational media headlines that evoke mind reading, a neurogenetic basis for fidelity or voting patterns, memory boosters for the healthy, and miracle cures for sensory and movement disorders are but a few examples. Without accurate and sufficient background information or context, the public — who are naturally interested in diseases and cures, especially with regard to common and serious brain disorders — may accept these simplistic messages uncritically. The power of brain imaging techniques, such as functional MRI, further feeds into this problem, with the potential for brain scan images to create biases in the laboratory, the clinic and the courtroom. (Illes 2010)
  • 10. Illes et al (2009) propose a number of actions that should be taken in order to enhance the communication of research in neuroscience. • • • • • Trust, reciprocity and transparency Academic rewards for communication and outreach Promote a cultural shift – increasing the professional value of delivering public lectures, media work and the development of training activities designed specifically for neuroscientists – the full integration of communication training into neuroscience curricula and graduate training – overall continued development of specialized training sessions, online course modules and ‘boot camps’ at professional meetings or local institutions will help to achieve this culture shift Support neuroscience communication specialists Enable research on neuroscience communication
  • 11. An exemplary case of bas neuroscience, bad communication, bad relationship between science and society Iacoboni et al. This is your brain on politics – The NY Times 11/11/2007
  • 12. Many of the neuroethical issues are also relevant for the new field of education and the cognitive sciences • because many of the issues debated in neuroethics are not specific to neuroscience, but apply to the study of the mind in general, whatever the method of investigation • because education is one of the domain of the encounter between science and society, and we must expect that ethical issues will ensue at several levels
  • 13. Issues also relevant for mind, brain, behavior and education  Issues related to the realization of fair trials with control groups of learners that are “deprived” of a potentially effective interventions are often raised by educators and parents  more generally: to the design of experimental protocols that count as “fair trials”
  • 14. Issues related to interventions based on neuroscience, in particular in relationship with  treatments for ADHD and other forms of “smart pills”  diagnostic tools for lear ning disorders  privacy  pre-diagnosis in the absence of a treatment or useful interventions  do we have the right to ignore what we know works or cannot work in education?
  • 15. ECC 2012-13  the fact of describing a learning difficulty as a “dys-” is sometimes perceived  as a form of stigmatization,
  • 16.  as the derogation of educational tasks to the physician (medicalization of learning issues)
  • 17. Issues related to “responsibility” are also present in the domain of education:  e.g., what if girls were really bad at mathematics? Should we judge them differently when they fail a math scor e? fairness: e.g. what should we do with dyspraxic children that are disadvantaged by having to write during an exam? Should they have a computer or not? the effects of truth:  e.g. it seems that learning is influenced by the image one has of oneself as a learner
  • 18.  All the considerations about communication and literacy apply to educators and policymakers, as well as to parents who might read about some new treatment or educational method or be caught by commercial vendors
  • 19. Happy pills Against human nature Medicalization of normal life
  • 20. Smart pills Neuropharmacology in education Doping issue
  • 21. Equity issue
  • 22. Pressure issue/Stigmatization of normality
  • 23. Values Efficacy Usefulness
  • 24. Whenever we ask: HOW IS KNOWLEDGE PUT INTO APPLICATIONS we are raising ethical issues
  • 25. ECC 2012 • Cognitive enhancers – Fairness – Personality – Stigmatization of normality – Aims of education
  • 26. ECC 2012 Questions • What does the controversy about smart pills tell us about the perception of education, its aims and values? • Devise other main ethical issues raised by the encounter between the study of cognition and education.