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This study explores the social representations of cloning taking in consideration a series of associated emotions and the subjects’ level of religiosity. The participants in our study consisted of subjects of different ages and adrisn.
The data collection included four tasks for the subjects to fill in. First, they had to fill in a free task association: The second task janual polarity association for each of the expressions; thus, the subjects had to evaluate them as positive, negative or neutral in relation to “cloning”. The third task was a questionnaire evaluating the level of religiosity 28 items.
The last task included a list of 35 emotions positive as well as negative which subjects had to associate on a scale from 1 to 10 with the bio-medical procedure of cloning. The data analysis was focused on comparing the different groups defined in relation to the level of religiosity, affective polarity, age and level of beculau. We used the prototipicality technique, developed in the framework of the social representation’s theory, in order to identify the elements of the social representations of cloning belonging to the previously mentioned variables.
The advanced biomedical and biotechnological researches have given rise to many ethical, social political and economic challenges. For the first time in the history of the mankind, the human person has become a technological object which can be decomposed, necylau, multiplied, rearranged and subjected to all techniques with no restrictions 1.
The possibilities seem unlimited and the psiohlogie, published by important scientific reviews, are spectacular. The majority of the scientific and some lay people have manifested optimism and enthusiasm towards this scientific and technological progress 2especially, when taking in consideration the benefits in the area of therapeutics.
Other people experience skepticism and concern while the religious groups are strongly oriented against a continuation of the research in this field. There is a strong fear that these procedures that control psihologje transform nature, including human nature, could jeculau against human kind.
Psihologie Manual pentru clasa a X-a
The technological risks and dangers have continuously grown. Modern times have registered many changes from the “industrial society” to arian “risk society”, from the “social logic of producing sociwla to the “logic of avoiding and controlling risks” 3.
In the vast field of “red” biotechnologies, human cloning raises the most frequent and serious questions. After the successful cloning of Dolly inthe scientific experiments regarding human and animal cloning have continuously extended.
Thus, in the following years, famous reviews like Nature or Science, have reported successful cloning of different animals like pigs, calves, goats, mice, monkeys and, rabbits. It has become obvious that the cloning procedure can easily be transferred to human genetic material and as a consequence, scientific researchers, representatives of the civil society and politicians have engaged in ethical debates in order to formulate recommendations or normative acts to regulate the field of biotechnologies.
The essential adrixn made is related to reproductive and therapeutic cloning.
Manual de Psihologie Socială by Adrian Neculau
In the first case, the obtained embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus in order to determine a gestation process, ending with the birth of a child who will inherit the donor’s genes. In the second situation, the created embryos are not placed in the woman’s uterus, but are developed to create stem cells, with important therapeutic consequences for diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. In general, there is a tendency to accept therapeutic cloning and to reject the reproductive one.
The discussions, however, are far from being closed. The public debates regarding cloning have underlined pro and con arguments, as well 4. The most frequent arguments in favor of cloning are rooted in modern philosophy, in the work of John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham. The first is based on the principle of free will and rational choice, with the condition that practicing it will not harm the others or the society. Banning the practice of these medical procedures would break a fundamental human right 5.
The second argument, based on a utilitarian thesis, regards the medical and economic benefits of cloning. In relation to the benefits of cloning, its promoters believe that there is an unjustified fear of the public towards using biotechnologies, and science people are doing too little to reduce people’s fear regarding the use of cloning techniques 6.
Psihologie Manual pentru clasa a X-a by Adrian Neculau
For the majority of people, the human cloning procedure breaks many ethical norms as well as scientific and religious ones. The strongest argument against cloning regards the breaking of human dignity 7. The theme is very complex and may be analyzed on different levels: A large number of inconvenient situations are invoked against cloning, such as depersonalization, the threat to the unique identity 9difficulties regarding the psychological assumption of an identity in social interactions, juridical status assumption, the promotion of an identity in social interactions, the possibility of economic exploitation, disorders regarding the natural family relations etc.
However, the analyses of the objections towards cloning underline people’s concern on the risks deriving from the imperfections of the procedure rather than the breaking of the human dignity Secondly, the cloning procedure implies an asexual reproduction as it doesn’t allow the recombination of the genetic material, but only the copying of existing genetic material. The use of the cloning procedure on a large scale would lead, in time, to an impoverishment of the genetic material, diminishing the individual differences de-diversification and loss of genetic individuality.
It is hard to evaluate the long term impact considering the current scientific neculai and experimentation. Thirdly, from a theological perspective, human reproduction by cloning happens psiohlogie a sexual union between two human beings, husband and wife On one hand, it breaks the sacred frame of the marriage and, on the other hand, it enhances the human pride in substituting God, in assuming a role of self-sufficiency and transgressing the laws that govern human nature.
From this perspective, cloning, as well as other procedures of genetic manipulation, represents a parody of the Divine creation The Orthodox Church rejects cloning The media and scientific debates have had a great impact on the politicians. Thus, many international organizations have recommended banning human cloning, especially the reproductive one. As a consequence, the governments of different countries like France, Germany and Great Britain, have elaborated normative acts based on these recommendations by which they ban reproductive cloning.
In general, there is a political agreement regarding the ban of reproductive cloning but, no agreement has been reached with respect to therapeutic cloning There are also voices suggesting increased political pressure towards scientists, as a result of the public’s fear which negatively affects legislative decisions Many studies underline a polarization of the public opinion between acceptance and rejection, caused by the lack of information and distrust towards scientists and politicians.
Several research teams have developed a series of international studies about risk-perception, trust and attitudes towards biotechnology, public discourse in order to describe and understand the general image and representations that people have developed in relation with this new social object.
For example, in a European research published inBauer and his colleagues analyzed the discourse produced by the mass-media on biotechnology and identified eight major themes ranging from favorable to unfavorable attitudes: InWagner and his colleagues published the result of a series of European studies on the discourse produced by the media and average people involved in a series of focus-group interviews.
They developed a theory on collective symbolic coping which explains the dynamics of the social representations of biotechnology.
According to their results, symbolic coping with biotechnology in Europe involves four different strategies: In Australia, Tranter analyzed the reflection of the biotechnologies in the media. The author analyzed newspaper articles from six Australian journals, from The results were grouped into three categories of information, describing different scenarios.
The psihopogie category, named anxiety, refers to: The second category of themes, situated at the opposite attitudinal pole was labeled progress and is divided in two: Finally, a third category was labeled compromise and includes ambivalent or combined themes A study conducted soiala Japan showed growing public interest and a positive attitude towards the use of biotechnology and the involvement of the mass media in discussions on this subject Another study, comparing the attitudes of experts with the public, shows that the experts perceive biotechnology applications more useful and harmless than lay people Regarding the relationship between religiosity and attitudes toward human cloning, the results from a study conducted in US, on Evangelical, liberal protestant, catholic traditionalist and liberal catholic religious practitioners seem to reveal interesting facts.
Data analyses indicate a general disagreement with this technique, across all respondents. Secondly, evangelical people are more opposed to human cloning, compared with the other religious groups adrisn are more likely to see cloning as a religious issue Other studies show that there is no single religious perspective on human cloning; theological and ecclesiastical positions are pluralistic in their premises and their modes of argument In general, the European public shows optimism.
Thus, a comparison of attitudes between and in 15 European countries shows an increase in positive attitudes towards biotechnology 29 and a typical profile of the person with a favorable attitude is male, optimistic, well educated and open to the scientific-technological progress This trend has continued in subsequent years 31but religious people are less optimistic about the use of biotechnology and the adherents to the Orthodox Church remain most pessimistic In this section, we will argue our theoretical and methodological choice, the social representation theory.
The concept reached European social psychology inwhen the results of a famous inquiry about the public images of the psychoanalysis in French social contexts by Serge Moscovici were published In his later research, the author developed his conception, showing that neclau representations are elaborated by lay people in order to gain social knowledge, through socio-cognitive mechanisms which make the passing from unfamiliar scientific objects, for example to familiar 34as well psiholobie to regulate the social group’s relationships.
Social representations help people understand better their personal experiences, to project their future actions, give sense to social events and anticipate individual or collective actions The development of social representation allows the individual to reconstruct reality and integrate it in his cognitive system, according to the socio-historical and ideological context in which it is placed From his perspective, Moscovici believes that the person confronted with a new type of information has an active role in the formation of knowledge The person is interested in what happens around her, gathers information from the media, science, and politics and tries to adjust it, to make it nfculau in order to efficiently respond to social challenges.
Thus, man becomes an “amateur scientist” who is interested in janual the facts that he deals with, to give them significance and to share them with others. Social changes facilitated by the media and interpersonal interactions amplify, enrich and crystallize the social knowledge. It becomes more practical and more necessary in a society in which information is extremely diversified and abundant. Previous studies have identified an internal structure of social representations and have described a psihllogie core organized around the central themes of the sociaka discourse, and a periphery, including minor themes, marginally placed in the public discourse The first assembly of elements is characterized by stability in relation to contextual variations, is powerfully anchored in the social memory and gives sense and structure to the entire discourse.
The peripheral elements have different functions, such as exemplifying, tolerating the contradictions and justifying the central discourse themes In what concerns cloning, our investigation theme, the social representation, seem like the appropriate concept to identify the population’s diversified options. There are several images of cloning, differently structured in relation to people’s religious convictions, biological gender, social background, and level of education.
Unlike opinions and attitudes, social representations have a much more complex theoretical and methodological profile, proposing a more profound approach based on describing the discursive contents, as well as, original techniques of data analysis One of these techniques is the prototypical-categorical analysis which we will use in the current study. The subjects were selected from several cities of the North-Eastern area of Romania historical region of Moldova.
The average age was We limited our sample to subjects with high school and university studies, considering that they are more informed on the subject of our research. According to affective maunal, participants were divided into three categories: The level of religiosity also divided our participants into two groups: Finally, according to a last variable, agreement towards cloning, participants were distributed into three groups: The general purpose of this study was to investigate the social representation of cloning as well as to evaluate the impact of emotions that people associate to this bio-medical procedure.
We anticipated a general representational structure organized on two main axes: Our general hypothesis stated that, according to the considered variables religiosity, affective polarity, age and education we will identify different structures of the social representation of cloning.
The two dimensions described above, would be differently represented in composition as well as in scale according to these variables. Thus, adult religious participants with high school studies, who frequently associate cloning to negative emotions, would develop a social representation structured more visible on the affective–value dimension, colored with negative emotions and unfavorable attitudes.
On the contrary, the other participants would be more focused on the technical–informational dimension.