Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unspoken connections: Scientists' intersubjective experiences with animals
by Siegel, Angeline M., Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2015, 151; 3711355
Abstract (Summary)

Little is known about the scientist-animal relationship; therefore, the aim of this study was to learn how moments of intersubjectivity, or "oneness" are created and experienced by scientists. It is by appreciating the risks and vulnerabilities intrinsic to human-animal relationships that propel the present investigation. The current cultural bias of valuing objectification and detachment as the predominant form of scientific investigation overlooks relational subtleties intrinsic to deriving meaning from humananimal studies. By examining scientists and their descriptions of intersubjectivity with their animal participants, a greater understanding of society's philosophical and ethical deliberations on the human-animal relationship may be revealed. An exploratory, sequential mixed-method design was utilized to phenomenologically examine intersubjectivity, as well as to measure the prevalence of its dimensions within the larger academic population. Phenomenological analysis from ten interviews identified humananimal intersubjectivity as having four significant phases: joint mindfulness, synchronized embodiment, intrinsic belonging , and transcendental awareness. Spearman correlational analysis from fifty-four responses to the online survey supported these findings, as well as identified a potential link with the variables of proximity (r s = .469, p < .05, n=25), closeness (rs = .483, p < .01, n=25), similarity (rs = .483, p < .01, n=25) and embodied awareness (rs = .421, p < .01, n=25) that account for variation in the scientific population. When examining past behavior as it related to current scientific practices, gender differences emerged that resemble those reported by neuroanatomical studies. Lastly, further mixed analysis identified academic and cultural risks that were met by employing concealment and silencing strategies. These results add valuable depth in the interpretation of intersubjectivity and its relationship with scientific behavior, as well as insight into the role of intersubjectivity within ethical and philosophical debates.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Willis, David B.
Commitee: Balcombe, Jonathan, Washburn, Allyson
School: Saybrook University
Department: Mind Body Medicine
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Ethics, Behavioral Sciences
Keywords: Animal ethics, Animal studies, Empathy, Human-animal interaction, Intersubjectivity, Scientific behavior
Publication Number: 3711355
ISBN: 9781321875461
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