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Epigenetics, Experience and Responsibility: Implications for neurodevelopmental disorders

Epigenetics, Experience and Responsibility: Implications for neurodevelopmental disorders

Objective

In folk psychology and in bioethical discussions, the central dogma of genetics is often taken for granted: humans are seen as defined in a genetic blueprint. The conceptualization of psychiatric conditions as innate or acquired, biological or psychosocial, genetic or environmental, influences the ascription of both capacity responsibility (the capacity to adapt or adjust one’s own behavior) and normative responsibility of individuals or the society towards those diagnosed. But findings in the field of epigenetics indicate that the social and physical environment influence how genes are expressed. Indeed, epigenetics may shed a new light on distinctions such as innate/acquired, genetic/environmental, biological/psychosocial: a far more complex view on neurodevelopmental disorders may emerge, with ethical implications. However, the implications of epigenetics for discussions on the scope and extent of normative responsibility have not been adequately addressed.

NEUROEPIGENETHICS aims to investigate the ethical implications of epigenetics for neurodevelopmental disorders. We will use theoretical and empirical methods to investigate how certain concepts (innate/biological/genetic) affect the ways in which professionals and stakeholders (persons with a neurodevelopmental disorder and their families) conceive of responsibility. We will evaluate how the emerging field of epigenetics alters the ascription of capacity responsibility and normative responsibility. We will research how individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)and their families experience the interaction between their condition and their biological and social environment. Finally, we will define moral responsibility in light of the emerging field of epigenetics in the area of neurodevelopmental disorders and child psychiatric practice.
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Host institution

UNIVERSITEIT ANTWERPEN

Address

Prinsstraat 13
2000 Antwerpen

Belgium

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 390 512

Beneficiaries (2)

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UNIVERSITEIT ANTWERPEN

Belgium

EU Contribution

€ 1 390 512

KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN

Belgium

EU Contribution

€ 62 500

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 804881

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2019

  • End date

    31 December 2023

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 453 012

  • EU contribution

    € 1 453 012

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITEIT ANTWERPEN

Belgium