Saturday, August 13, 2016

Why are consumers willing to spend more money on ethical products?

What motivates consumers to make ethical choices such as buying clothing not made in a sweat shop, spending more money on fair-trade coffee, and bringing their own bags when they go shopping? According to a new study, ethical consumption is motivated by a need for consumers to turn their emotions about unethical practices into action. 

The primary motivators appear to be  contempt, concern, and celebration.
  • Contempt for the greed of big corporations
  • Concern for the victims of unethical behavior
  • Celebration from the joy of making ethical choices.

Read More

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Courage to Speak Up

"... I was learning another important fact: a large part of my ethical
education was going to happen behind the closed doors of a call room."

This reflection on the teaching of ethics in medical education suggests that educators must need to intentionally create a safe environment for the discussion of ethics. Too often, the discussion of ethics takes place with other students or residents.... not the attending... behind the closed doors of a call room.

On Cultivating the Courage to Speak Up: The Critical Role of Attendings in the Moral Development of Physicians in Training

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Researchers Caught Manipulating Facebook Users for "Science"

Facebook, in collaboration with Cornell university, conducted research on Facebook users without their consent in an attempt to manipulate emotions through an emotional contagion.

This violation is of high concern ethically, because ever since the horrific experiments in Nazi Germany in the mid 1900's and Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments in the U.S. South around the same time, there has been an iron-clad code of not performing research on human subjects without their full knowledge and consent. In the opinion of some academics, Facebook in conjunction with Cornell researchers violated this code of ethics.

A recent opinion article from Johns Hopkins University discusses the issues, stating that new technology and social media platforms have made it essential to update accepted research principles and ethics.

Watch this issue closely. Are we looking at early attempts of massive governmental control in the style of Orwell's 1984? Are governments willing to surreptitiously manipulate emotions to disrupt peace versus war via Facebook in order to achieve greater power? Is Facebook a willing partner?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Teaching Morality to Robots

Robots are performing more and more complex tasks in society. They are becoming so advanced, that a recent chatbox machine has purportedly passed the Turing test.

With this advancement in machine performance and learning, the dominant question becomes, are we going to be able to teach machines judgment and morality? But can we really teach robots how to be good?

Read More


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Personal narratives of social trauma in peace-building.

This article explores the uses of personal narratives of massive social trauma in conflict, most specifically as they relate to the Palestinian-Israeli context. It is asserted that there are types of narratives, fixated on persecution, hatred, and fear, that can obstruct peace, and different types that encourage peace and reconciliation.

A theoretical categorization of 4 types of personal narratives of massive social trauma is proposed:

1.  vengeance

2. victim-hood

3. confusion

4. embracing the other

It is concluded that a more nuanced understanding of types of personal narratives is needed when engaged in peace-building endeavors in an ongoing conflict.

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2014 Sep;84(5):475-486

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hooking phishers of men and women

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt seeking to acquire money, confidential information or other gain such as usernames, passwords or credit card details from people by masquerading as a trustworthy entity such as a bank, service provider, social network, email systems or institutions. In order to improve security and reduce the risk that any of us is caught out by a phishing attack there is a need to carry out research so that countermeasures can be designed. Unfortunately, in carrying out such research it is possible for the scientists taking part to come unstuck by laws that are in place to protect users from the very attacks they wish to study.Read More

Friday, March 28, 2014

Finding Middle Ground

Parents might take a lesson from Goldilocks and find a balanced approach to guide their teens in making moral, safe online decisions, according to researchers. In a study on parenting strategies and online adolescent safety, the researchers found evidence that suggests that parents should try to establish a middle ground between keeping their teens completely away from the internet not monitoring their online activities at all.Read More