How has neuroscience affected lay understandings of personhood? A review of the evidence


O'Connor, Cliodhna and Joffe, Helene (2013) How has neuroscience affected lay understandings of personhood? A review of the evidence. Public Understanding of Science, 22 (3). pp. 254-268. ISSN 0963-6625

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Abstract

The prominence of neuroscience in the public sphere has escalated in recent years, provoking questions about how the public engages with neuroscientific ideas. Commentaries on neuroscience’s role in society often present it as having revolutionary implications, fundamentally overturning established beliefs about personhood. The purpose of this article is to collate and review the extant empirical evidence on the influence of neuroscience on commonsense understandings of personhood. The article evaluates the scope of neuroscience’s presence in public consciousness and examines the empirical evidence for three frequently encountered claims about neuroscience’s societal influence: that neuroscience fosters a conception of the self that is based in biology, that neuroscience promotes conceptions of individual fate as predetermined, and that neuroscience attenuates the stigma attached to particular social categories. It concludes that many neuroscientific ideas have assimilated in ways that perpetuate rather than challenge existing modes of understanding self, others and society.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm). Citation: Cliodhna O’Connor and Helene Joffe, How has neuroscience affected lay understandings of personhood? A review of the evidence. Public Understanding of Science April 2013 22: 254-268, first published on February 18, 2013 doi:10.1177/0963662513476812
Keywords: lay expertise; popularization of science; public understanding of science; folk psychology; neuroscience; public engagement with science;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
Item ID: 6681
Identification Number: 10.1177/0963662513476812
Depositing User: Cliodhna O'Connor
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2015 10:40
Journal or Publication Title: Public Understanding of Science
Publisher: SAGE
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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