Project Sponsor(s): Christopher Thomas Scott, PhD, MA
Project Title: The Vortex of Expectations: Visions, Aspirations, and the Promise of Human Longevity Research
Project Description: We have received funding from the John Templeton Foundation to to investigate an emerging field at the frontier of enhancing human life: longevity research. To understand the strivings for human longevity, this study will provide a richly textured, thick description of the needs, goods, cultural resources, and possible futures offered by longevity research and the cultural movements that coalesce around the technologies. This project will ask what values, beliefs, social mechanisms, actors, and technologies are at work behind this much-heralded reimagining of anti-aging science. This study proceeds in two parts: (1) interviews with key stakeholders in the longevity movement, and (2) a web-based survey to assess public views on death, aging, and the pursuit of a longer, healthier life. Students on this project will focus on the majority of their time on web-based surveys, examining the interplay between terror management theory, the desire to extend life with new technology, and subjective life expectancy. By working with Dr. Scott, students will join an existing, international research team with collaborators in Germany and Brazil, and gain direct experience in a) systematic literature reviews, b) qualitative and quantitative analysis c) manuscript writing.
Institution and Location:
Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy
Baylor College of Medicine
Eligibility for international students?: Yes
Expectations of student:
- The student must devote 10 hours per week to the project (consistent with a 3-credit course) and will develop a timeline of activities in collaboration with supervisor(s). The student will meet at least monthly with the faculty supervisor(s) to evaluate progress.
- The student will prepare a summary of the project activities in the form of a PowerPoint presentation to the research team and will be encouraged to report findings, either through submission of an abstract at a national conference or in a co-authored manuscript.
Prerequisite training: Students with the following interests/experience might consider this project: social science or psychology majors; statistics and quantitative research; qualitative research; anthropology; science, technology, and society studies; communication (science communication). Students should be enthusiastic, organized, detail oriented, and have excellent written skills.