The Psychology Industry Under a Microscope!

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Jeffrey Kahn a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University but they were not invited to give presentations and had to vie for time in the discussion sessions where they were frequently shut down. This was especially shocking since Dr. Kahn had such relevant expertise, having chaired the review committee on the use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which led to the decision by the NIH to end support for invasive chimpanzee research.

The lack of balance was, I believe, no accident. When the workshop was first announced I contacted the workshop organizers to encourage a robust review and specifically suggested our own Dr. Jarrod Bailey who has published multiple peer-reviewed papers on the use of non-human primates in biomedical research and who participated in the aforementioned review of chimpanzees. Despite his impressive resume he, and many other possible candidates, were not invited to participate in the workshop. John P. Gluck, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, who seemed to suggest that the NIH workshop was poised to miss the mark from its inception; he wrote, " H will hold a workshop on, "continued responsible research" with these animals.

This sounds like a positive development. But as someone who spent decades working almost daily with macaque monkeys in primate research laboratories, I know firsthand that "responsible" research is not enough. What we really need to examine is the very moral ground of animal research itself.

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Across the pond, Dr. Gluck joined Dr. Jane Goodall, Sir David Attenborough and 18 other scientists, primatologists and animal welfare experts in signing an open letter, organized by Cruelty Free International , to bodies in the UK and EU responsible for funding and licensing controversial brain experiments on monkeys. Of particular concern is neuroscience research involving monkeys being subjected to invasive brain surgery, water deprivation and prolonged restraint.

A recent review of the claims of the human relevance of data made by researchers, who use monkeys in these kinds of experiments, were found to be overstated and the availability and use of ethical studies involving humans were of more value to medical progress. They are sentient beings that have mental lives comparable to ours, and sensitivities, and pain and deprivation mean things to them, just as they mean things to us.

I can state categorically that they have a similar capacity for suffering, both mental and physical, and show similar emotions to many of ours.

We also study baboons and other monkeys and there is no doubt they too can suffer and experience fear, depression, anxiety, frustration and so on. To confine these primate relatives of ours to laboratory cages and subject them to experiments that are often distressing and painful is, in my opinion, morally wrong. To restrain their movement and deprive them of water is inhumane and extremely cruel and we have no right to exploit them in this way for any reason. In response to the letter, a group of UK primate researchers have gone on the defensive, attacking the credibility of those scientists who disagree with them.

Last week's lopsided NIH workshop and the hostile response to the open letter seem to suggest that those directly involved with primate research aren't quite ready for an open, honest, discussion about the ethics of non-human primate research and the inevitable soul searching that will come with it.

Psychology Industry Under A Microscope Stein David B

But whether they are ready or not, the conversation with the public and policy makers has begun. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Join HuffPost Plus. Patricia Rosenfield's investigation of collaborative projects involving several disciplines in the life sciences finds that disciplinary boundaries are most thoroughly transcended when members of disparate fields develop a common language that facilitates a shared conceptual framework [ 5 ].

She concludes that this level of collaboration has the most potential for originality, but occurs least often because developing a common language is difficult. Peter Galison[ 6 ] goes further in his study of the interaction between different sub-cultures within twentieth-century microphysics. He analyses the competing traditions of researchers who collected microphysical data by imaging high-energy phenomena, and those who collected them by electronically counting subatomic events. Galison argues that fruitful collaboration between these groups occurred only when they began to share not only language but practices — methods — thus creating a 'trading zone' in which commerce of ideas and methods could occur.

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A multitude of examples, spanning over years, can be marshalled to illustrate Galison's and Rosenfield's conclusions that common language and methods are the currency of meaningful interdisciplinarity. One of the major challenges of 18 th - and 19 th -century life science was to explain how organisms obtain and use energy.

Lavoisier, a physicist and chemist, used to thinking in terms of experimental machines, in put forward the notion that animals' bodies are combustion machines for carbon and hydrogen. The notion was wrong; nevertheless, Lavoisier's and his followers' insistence that chemistry be brought to bear on biology, forced physiologists of the age to do chemistry, if only to refute him. The results gave rise to our understanding of respiration, and formed the cornerstone for biochemistry [ 7 ].

A more recent development illustrating the point is the field of biophysics, in which physicists, computer programmers, chemists, and biochemists have learned each other's conceptual vocabulary and methods in order to collaborate in exploring problems such as biomolecular processes coupled to mechanical force, bioelectronic metabolism, and the function and mechanism of membrane proteins.

Contemporary cognitive neuroscience provides a final illustration. By the s, clinical neuropsychologists, who studied the consequences of brain lesions for cognition and behaviour, realized that their field was thwarted by a lack of models of normal cognitive function. They therefore looked to cognitive psychology, which had developed such models — albeit at a purely functional, not physiological or anatomical, level.

As a result, the clinical neuropsychologists began to speak the language and use the methods of cognitive psychology, and to do cognitive psychology at the same time as neuropsychology. The result was the new field of cognitive neuroscience [ 8 ]. All these examples bear out the notion that a commonly understood language and set of methods are key to overcoming the ontological and epistemological challenges of interdisciplinary research.

After analyses of how disciplines merge, the next most prominent body of research into interdisciplinarity addresses the importance of institutions. Perhaps the most important environmental condition favouring interdisciplinarity is the building of an institutional 'platform' for collaboration: an infrastructure of research organizations, academic journals, funding committees and informal networks of researchers that actively foster interdisciplinary research.

Several research institutions have organized themselves expressly to promote interdisciplinarity. The Rockefeller Institute during the s brought together researchers from a broad spectrum of sciences, minimized the divisional structure of the organization, and revolved socially around communal meals, all of which contributed to a matrix for the Institute's biomedical breakthroughs [ 9 ]. In our own era, Caltech has developed a programme in computation and the neural sciences in which collaboration among neurobiologists, electrical engineers, computer scientists and physicists is common rather than exceptional.

The Pasteur Institute was recently reorganized around cross-disciplinary research programs intended to maximize links between scholars from disparate fields. Harvard University's Bauer Center for the Study of Genomics "aims to reap a post-genomic harvest by uniting physicists, mathematicians, chemists and computer scientists with a spectrum of biologists.

Research funding institutions have typically endorsed disciplinary structures [ 2 ]. However, there are important exceptions such as the MacArthur Foundation which has facilitated grants to interdisciplinary networks organized around research problems; the outcomes have included seminal discoveries in surgery, psychiatry, and neurology [ 11 ].

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The disciplinary and institutional perspectives on interdisciplinary research reviewed above have already proved to be useful: neither is a new idea. In contrast, this paper's concluding section addresses a notion that has hitherto been virtually neglected, and which we propose could improve interdisciplinary research's rigour, accountability, and productivity.

We propose that the single most valuable step forward in interdisciplinary research would be to render transparent the methods of interdisciplinary research projects. Researchers have an obligation to make their procedures transparent, but interdisciplinary teams — while they report methods of data collection and analysis — seldom report the methods they employ in the process of achieving interdisciplinary collaboration itself. We could identify only one group, which is still very early in its work, focussed on examining the methods of interdisciplinary collaboration [ 12 ].

Because the process of collaboration itself determines the premises of a research project namely, how a phenomenon is conceived of and the ways it is to be apprehended not reporting the methods of collaboration can make it difficult for others to assess the validity, reliability or trustworthiness of data collection and inferences, and to build on the methods of earlier groups.

Other researchers should be able to follow the process of collaboration and the decisions made during inquiry; this allows them to think out how they might attempt to replicate findings, or choose to carry out collaboration differently. Making it possible thus to evaluate collaboration could open up debate around decisions until now always implicit in the process of interdisciplinary research. The process begins with identifying the problem to be studied.

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Then, case studies are conducted to understand the context. Ethical and legal analyses of relevant concepts are conducted. The case studies and ethical and legal analyses are considered by a consensus panel of representatives from academia, industry, NGOs, and government that then produces guidelines. Public consultation is sought on the draft guidelines before finalizing them. The guidelines are disseminated and their impact evaluated. The large-scale, interdisciplinary platform has been designed specifically to address the deficiencies of current approaches to the study of the ethical, environmental, legal and social implications of scientific and technological advances.

To take a concrete example: We had identified nutrigenomics as a problem and its importance was ratified through a set of consultations with experts and attendance at the First International Nutrigenomics Meeting in Amsterdam in We conducted a case study of the first company providing nutrigenomics services on the internet. We analyzed ethical and legal issues such as consent, privacy, and consumer choice in the context of the case study. We formed a consensus panel to develop nutrigenomics guidelines. The draft guidelines will be released for public consultation at a range of meetings.


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The finalized guidelines will then be disseminated to relevant agencies. We will continue to evaluate the model above and refine it through use. What are the characteristics of this approach that are crucial to its interdisciplinarity and its success? This interdisciplinary approach is developed to address important issues not yet addressed through traditional disciplinary approaches e.

The broad range of disciplines represented by the research participants philosophy, law, management, medicine, public health, social sciences, and molecular biology was achieved in two ways: some participants are selected because their disciplinary expertise is obviously necessary to address the research issues, and some participants self-select because of their own interest in the issues. The participants are made aware from the start that this is a unique interdisciplinary research effort that would be guided by the research template Fig.

Moreover, each participant agreed that only through this type of interdisciplinary approach, could the research issues be adequately addressed. Anticipating potential communication issues between participants from disparate disciplines, frequent electronic communications and face-to-face meetings occur to enhance opportunities for dialogue and information exchange. A key feature of the actual research is the combining of empirical and theoretical methodologies. In particular, the use of qualitative research methods e.