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Presentation “Dehumanization in Medicine: How to Understand It, How to Counteract It” on Fri. Dec. 16/2016 in Somerset, NJ

Next Friday (December 16, 2016) I will be giving a half-day workshop at the Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living in Somerset, NJ. The lecture is entitled “Dehumanization in Medicine: How to Understand It, How to Counteract It“.

Participants will be able to summarize some salient findings from recent neuroscience of social cognitions about brain processes observable in neuro-imaging technology, that correlate with dehumanizing perceptions of others.

The participants will be able to explain the roots of social categorization processes in the evolution of the human brain as a social organ, and how these automatic processes make us susceptible to social pressures from our in-group members, and to dehumanizing perceptions of those who do not look like us.

Participants will be able to recite major studies that demonstrated social conformity, diffusion of moral responsibility, conformity with role norms and expectations and apply these concepts to medical settings and to specific features of role-functioning in such settings. The participants will be able to distinguish between functional and non-functional causes of dehumanizing practices in medical settings, so they can suggest and implement ways to minimize non-functional causes in the setting and functions in which they are involved.

The participants will be prepared to recognize that the potential for dehumanization of others is ubiquitous, so that they can acknowledge it in their own unintentional reactions and implement effective strategies to counteract it.

The participants will be able utilize simple and specific strategies and mental habits that involve effective self-regulation to reduce non-conscious, unintentional emotional bias and to reverse dehumanizing perceptions of others. Such strategies will be hopefully implemented both personally by the attendees of the lecture as well as in further training and supervision of other staff members.  More information can be found at

                  Irit Felsen

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