Confronting the Cadaver: The Denial of Death in Modern Medicine
A cultural hermeneutic interpretation of the cadaver in the history of medicine is examined in light of a body of evidence, including historical data on cadaver dissection, qualitative analyses of medical students working with cadavers, responses during a panel discussion on experiences in a gross anatomy course, and interviews with the creator of Body Worlds, Gunther von Hagens. The evidence is analyzed and found to support the conclusion that medical education works implicitly to manage death anxiety through a set of defenses which conceal the nothingness of death.
- Amaral, D. G., & Adolphs, R. (2015). Living without an amygdala. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Becker, E. (1973). The denial of death. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
- Bloch, B. (2000, July 29). Exhibit with corpses makes us look inside ourselves. Missoulian. Online: http://missoulian.com/entertainer/exhibit-with-corpses-makes-us-look-inside-ourselves/article_9e939c51-3715-57fc-bbdd-2dfb1fc272e6.html.
- Counts, D. A. (1984). Revenge suicide by Lusi women: An expression of power. In S. Tiffany (Ed.), Rethinking women’s roles: Perspectives from the Pacific. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Ehlers, A., Margraf, J., Roth, W. T., Taylor, C. B., & Birbaumer, N. (1988). Anxiety induced by false heart rate feedback in patients with panic disorder. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 26(1), 1–11.Google Scholar
- Epstein, S., & Roupenian, A. (1970). Heart rate and skin conductance during experimentally induced anxiety: The effect of uncertainty about receiving a noxious stimulus. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 16(1), 20–28.Google Scholar
- Fox, A. S., Oler, J. A., Tromp, D. P. M., Fudge, J. L., & Kalin, N. H. (2015). Extending the amygdala in theories of threat processing. Trends in Neuroscience, 38(5), 319–329.Google Scholar
- Greenberg, J., & Arndt, J. (2011). Terror management theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology: Collection: Volumes 1 & 2 (pp. 398–415). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., & Pyszczynski, T. (1997). Terror management theory of self-esteem and cultural worldviews: Empirical assessments and conceptual refinements. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 29, pp. 61–139). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Halford, W. K., Cuddihy, S., & Mortimer, R. H. (1990). Psychological stress and blood glucose regulation in Type I diabetic patients. Health Psychology, 9(5), 516–528.Google Scholar
- Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time (J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Kane, A. C., & Hogan, J. D. (1986). Death anxiety in physicians: Defensive style, medical specialty, and exposure to death. OMEGA—Journal of Death & Dying, 16(1), 11–27.Google Scholar
- Khalsa, S. S., Feinstein, J. S., Li, W., Feusner, J. D., Adolphs, R., & Hurlemann, R. (2016). Panic anxiety in humans with bilateral amygdala lesions: Pharmacological induction via cardiorespiratory interoceptive pathways. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36(12), 3559–3566.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Leder, D. (1990). The absent body. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Lief, H. I., & Fox, R. C. (1963). Training for detached concern in medical students. In H. I. Lief, V. F., Lief, & N. R. Lief (Eds.), The psychological basis of medical practice. New York, NY: Harper Row.Google Scholar
- Maltsberger, J. T., & Buie, D. H. (1980). The devices of suicide—Revenge, riddance, and rebirth. The International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 7, 61–72.Google Scholar
- McNeill, M. (2017). Abracadaver. Paraphilia Magazine. Online: http://www.paraphiliamagazine.com/periodical/abracadaver/.
- Peters, L., Cant, S., O’Connor, M., McDermott, F., Hood, K., Morphet, J., & Shimoinaba, K. (2017). How death anxiety impacts nurses’ caring for patients at the end of life: A review of literature. The Open Nursing Journal, 7, 14–21.Google Scholar
- Robbins, B. D., Tomaka, A., Innus, C., Patterson, J., & Styn, G. (2008). Lessons from the dead: The experiences of undergraduates working with cadavers. OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying, 58(3), 177–192.Google Scholar
- Rodrigues, S. M., LeDoux, J. E., & Sapolsky, R. M. (2009). The influence of stress hormones on fear circuitry. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 32, 289–313.Google Scholar
- Singer, C. (1917). Studies in history and method by science. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Online at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/46572/46572-h/46572-h.htm.
- Van den Berg, J. H. (1978). Medical power and medical ethics. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.Google Scholar