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Reflections on the Idea of Social and Behavioral Genetics

February 14 @ 10:00 am 11:30 am EST

Basic research is ongoing into the genomics of complex human behaviors and social outcomes, from eating and sexual behaviors to “subjective sense of well-being” and “educational attainment.”  Although the people doing this research may work hard to articulate their benevolent intentions as well as seeking to conduct rigorous, reproducible, ethical research, they do so against the history of pseudoscience, eugenics, and scientific racism. In this seminar, our expert panel will share insights regarding the potential risks and benefits of such research: Will investigations of associations between genetic differences and observed differences in behaviors and social outcomes exacerbate—or help to undermine—genetic determinism? How can behavioral and social genomics research community and the neurodiversity and disability justice movements learn from each other? Can the polygenic scores created by behavioral and social geneticists be of any real use to improve clinical or social science research? To what extent, if any, is behavioral and social genetics research relevant to discussions of using CRISPR to enhance moral and cognitive behavior? To explore these questions, we are delighted to be joined by:

  • Dr Daphne Martschenko (Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics)
  • Dr. Erik Parens (The Hastings Center)
  • Prof. Kathryn Paige Harden (University of Texas at Austin)

 If you are interested in joining, please send an email to oliver.feeney@uni-tuebingen.de

Moderated by: Dr Oliver Feeney, Ethics of Genome Editing Research Unit, Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Tübingen, Germany.

The Hastings Center

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