I will be giving a lecture, entitled
“Dehumanization and Empathy: The Impact on Patient Care”
at Jacobi Medical Center on June 15, 2016, 2:00-3:30pm.
Location: Jacobi Medical Center, 1400 Pelham Pkwy S., Bronx, NY 10461, Bldg. 4, 2nd fl. Conf. Ctr.
The presentation will review findings from neuroscience of social cognitions regarding the neuro-affective substrate of dehumanizing perceptions of others. Automatic, rapid processes of social categorization are rooted in the evolution of the human species. In earlier times, it was helpful to be able to quickly discern kinsmen from strangers and potential enemies. However, such automatic processes based on the perception of dissimilarity, can lead to non-conscious emotional bias toward those patients who appear different than us, in the multicultural society in which we live. Particular risks in medical settings which increase the risk for dehumanizing perceptions of patients will be elaborated, including some functional features in practice of modern medicine and some non-functional aspects.
The presentation will highlight the importance of recognizing the existence of discrepancies in healthcare distribution due to non-intentional emotional bias in healthcare providers, and the need to educate medical staff in the appropriate skills to counteract non-conscious emotional prejudice. Finally, recent insights from neuro-science of social cognitions will be integrated with previous seminal findings from social psychology to delineate the implications for medical settings and to the relationships between physicians, medical healthcare providers and patients.