Friday, August 26, 2011
An experiment published in Cognition set out to determine how people perceive individuals who are in a persistent vegetative state. The first survey of 201 people revealed that, on average, people believe dead individuals have more mental capacities than individuals in a persistent vegetative state.
A follow-up survey found that when emphasis is made on the deceased individual’s corpse, irreligious people believe the corpse and the vegetative individual have about the same mental capacities, and religious people continue to believe the corpse has more mental capabilities than the vegetative individual.
See How Dead is Dead?, The Economist, Aug. 20, 2011.