The Stigma Gene?

This recent article by science journalist Ben Goldacre considers research into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to explore the problems in assigning biological causes to psychological and behavioural conditions.  What are the moral and cultural implications of classifying conditions like ADHD as genetic illnesses?  Goldacre cites studies which suggest that “biogenetic causal theories, and labelling something as an “illness”, are both positively related to perceptions of dangerousness and unpredictability, and to fear and desire for social distance”.  How can scientists avoid suggesting ‘essentialist’ biological causes in their own work, or when it is repackaged by the mass media?

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~ by essentialisms on October 13, 2010.

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