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Emotional reactions to human reproductive cloning
  1. Joshua May
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joshua May, Philosophy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 900 13th Street South, HB 425, Birmingham 35294-1260, USA; joshmay{at}uab.edu

Abstract

Background Extant surveys of people's attitudes towards human reproductive cloning focus on moral judgements alone, not emotional reactions or sentiments. This is especially important given that some (especially Leon Kass) have argued against such cloning on the ground that it engenders widespread negative emotions, like disgust, that provide a moral guide.

Objective To provide some data on emotional reactions to human cloning, with a focus on repugnance, given its prominence in the literature.

Methods This brief mixed-method study measures the self-reported attitudes and emotions (positive or negative) towards cloning from a sample of participants in the USA.

Results Most participants condemned cloning as immoral and said it should be illegal. The most commonly reported positive sentiment was by far interest/curiosity. Negative emotions were much more varied, but anxiety was the most common. Only about a third of participants selected disgust or repugnance as something they felt, and an even smaller portion had this emotion come to mind prior to seeing a list of options.

Conclusions Participants felt primarily interested and anxious about human reproductive cloning. They did not primarily feel disgust or repugnance. This provides initial empirical evidence that such a reaction is not appropriately widespread.

  • Cloning
  • Moral Psychology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Scientific Research

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