WTMC Summer School 2012 – Seeing Through Numbers with Helen Verran

Arentshorst, M.E. MSc.

Toward an appropriate societal embedding of neuroimaging in the domain of healthcare

Faculteit der Aard-en Levenswetenschappen
Athena Instituut
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1085
1081 HV Amsterdam

Dr. Tj de Cock Buning, Dr. JEW Broerse, Prof. Dr. SARB Rombouts, Drs. A Roelofsen



Innovations in neuroimaging techniques are expected to play a major role in future healthcare. This emerging technology holds promises for e.g. more accurate and earlier diagnostic methods and for monitoring the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions for certain neurological and psychiatric disorders. However, there is a risk that concerns impede successful implementation of neuroimaging and the anticipated benefits may not be realized (Eaton 2007). Besides, there exist multiple perspectives in society on what positive and negative implications of neuroimaging are. The challenge is to address the opportunities and concerns of medical neuroimaging in an early phase of the development, when options are still open and there are good possibilities for steering (Roelofsen et al. 2008). To address opportunities and concerns of medical neuroimaging, and to ensure an appropriate societal embedding of medical neuroimaging, a specific operationalisation of a science-society dialogue (also known as participatory research, transdisciplinary research and mode-II science), the Interactive Learning and Action (ILA) approach (Broerse and Bunders 2000) is used and combined with vision assessment (Roelofsen et al. 2008 and 2010). In this science-society dialogue 1) stakeholders from science and society are actively involved in an open exchange, planning, action and reflection process, 2) both scientific and practical knowledge are integrated, and 3) mutual learning is enhanced, leading to identified actions for social responsible technology development. By taking the ideas, opportunities, objections, demands and future visions of both scientific and societal actors into account, this research aims at identifying and implementing possible win-win matches in an early phase of the innovation process.