New article from Dr. Cabrera’s research team in ‘Social Science & Medicine’

Laura Cabrera photoCenter Assistant Professor Dr. Laura Cabrera is co-author of an article in the January issue of Social Science & Medicine. The article, “Online comments about psychiatric neurosurgery and psychopharmacological interventions: Public perceptions and concerns,” was written by Dr. Cabrera, Marisa Brandt, Rachel McKenzie, and Robyn Bluhm.

The study was supported by a Science and Society at State (S3) internal Michigan State University grant, “Psychiatric Interventions: Values and Public Attitudes.”

Abstract: The field of biological psychiatry is controversial, with both academics and members of the public questioning the validity and the responsible use of psychiatric technological interventions. The field of neuroethics provides insight into these controversies by examining key themes that characterize specific topics, attitudes, and reasoning tools that people use to evaluate interventions in the brain and mind. This study offers new empirical neuroethical insights into how the public responds to the use and development of psychiatric technological interventions by comparing how the public evaluates pharmacological and neurosurgical psychiatric interventions, in the context of online comments on news media articles about these topics. We analyzed 1142 comments from 108 articles dealing with psychopharmacological and psychiatric neurosurgery interventions on websites of major circulation USA newspapers and magazines published between 2005 and 2015. Personal anecdote, medical professional issues, medicalization, social issues, disadvantages, scientific issues and cautionary realism were among the main themes raised by commenters. The insights derived from the comments can contribute to improving communication between professionals and the public as well as to incorporating the public’s views in policy decisions about psychiatric interventions.

The full text is available online via Science Direct (MSU Library or other institutional access may be required to view this article).