We aim to develop a new, practicum-based science ethics training program which will be particularly appropriate for the diverse, practically oriented student population at the University of Houston. This project, "Experiencing Ethics", is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Click here to read more about this effort.

Coverage in the journal Science of the AAAS

The journal Science had a nice commentary about our Ethics in Science program.
The article is entitled "Responsibly conducting research."

It is also posted at the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science
at the National Academy of Engineering.

Upcoming Seminar

The Nature of Pride:
The Emotional Origins
of Social Rank

Professor Jessica L. Tracy

Jan 23 2017
11:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.
232 Philip G. Hoffman Hall

Why do people respond to their most impressive and apparent successes by engaging in verbal and nonverbal displays of self-celebration, superiority, and even arrogance? In this talk, I will argue that humans have an evolved tendency to respond to success by displaying pride, a distinct and universally recognized emotion expression. This expression may have evolved to serve a fundamental social function: communicating to others an individual’s deservedness of high status or social rank. As I will show, the pride expression is a powerful status signal, sending a message that is distinct from other emotions, implicitly perceived, and strong enough to counteract contradictory contextual information in shaping status-based decision-making. Furthermore, findings from a separate line of research on the psychological structure of pride support this account. Individuals subjectively experience and think about pride in two distinct ways, consistent with a theoretical distinction between a confident and effort-based “authentic” pride, and a more grandiose and self-aggrandizing “hubristic” pride. These findings explain how the experience of pride may serve a complementary function to its expression. Specifically, each form of pride is linked to a distinct rank-attainment strategy (i.e., “dominance” vs. “prestige”), suggesting that each motivates a divergent set of behaviors needed to attain each of these two forms of rank. Overall, this research suggests that pride is a complex and multifaceted social emotion that is closely linked to self-esteem, narcissism, achievement, and status, and may be an evolved part of human nature. Read more...

  • Featured Blog

    Defending Science in a Post-Truth Era

    By Lindsey Kone | December 9, 2016

    We live in interesting times. While there have been many gains in the fields of science, medicine, technology, and social issues, American society is currently facing a malignant epidemic: post-truth. Oxford Dictionary defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” [1] And before you question the relevance of this term, keep in mind Oxford recently named “post-truth” their international word of 2016. Read more ...

  • Featured Blog

    ‘Ethics in Science’ Course - Evidence of my training

    By Felix Yemanyi | December 9, 2016

    Unraveling mostly unbelievable historical incidences of unethical scientific misconduct has partly enhanced the era of well-drafted practical ethical guidelines in present times; therefore, scientists receive training in scientific ethics in the conduct of scientific researches. As rational human-beings, it falls in place for us to learn from our past mistakes and come out with measures, here being ethical regulations, in a bid to arrest the repetition of such unfortunate past occurrences. Notwithstanding, it’s not uncommon every now and then to hear from the media verified cases of scientific misconduct and fraudulent behaviors implicating typically up until then renowned scientists. Why such incidences still do happen despite the repository of ethical knowledge gleaned from painful past scientific research experiences is kind of mysterious. Read more ...

  • Featured Blog

    Driverless car – Unanswered questions

    By Indu Sankaranarayanan | December 9, 2015

    With the beginning of Industrial revolution, the early 18th century, marked a major turning point in science and history of mankind. The invention of variety of new machines aided in mechanization of manual tasks. This transition began to influence every possible aspect of human life. Machines were widely adopted because physical effort was greatly reduced and we humans just had to monitor and supervise the tasks performed by the machines. This made life our easier and simpler. In addition to that, industrialization also aided in socio-economic upliftment of the general population. Read more ...

  • Featured Blog

    Ethics: Environmental Conservation vs. Our Own Species

    By Rebecca K Keim | December 9, 2016

    This past summer I got an unbelievable opportunity to study in the Galapagos Islands, one of the places where Charles Darwin famously gathered evidence for his theory of evolution. Understandably, when most people think of visiting the Galapagos, they think of all of the wonderful flora and fauna and the perfect examples of genetic bottlenecking and survival of the fittest flying around before their eyes. However, there is an entire population of Galapaganians living on these islands. The Galapaganians are a strong community, residing on the archipelago for generations, brought by the prospect of tourism. They have struggled for years with the thought that their government values the wildlife on the archipelago more than them. Read more ...

Featured Course

Ethics in Science (Fall 2016)

The course focuses on historical perspectives and current practices of ethics and professional responsibility in science, technology engineering and mathematics. It includes a practicum component in a science or medical lab.

Read more ...