Max Kasun works in the Roberts Ethics Lab and Kim Ethics Lab at Stanford, which apply empirical methods to help anticipate, clarify and resolve ethical issues in modern biomedical research. He received his BA in 2016 from the University of Wisconsin. He has interests in empirical and normative thought related to increasing societal appreciation of the nature and prevalence of mental disorders and well-being, as well as in moral philosophy (e.g. Kantian ethics, justice, ethical naturalism, and pragmatism) and philosophy of mind (e.g. embodiment and personhood).
Education & Certifications
B.A., University of Wisconsin, English, Computer Science (2016)
empirical and normative ethics
natural and artificial cognitive science
philosophy of mind
Professional Affiliations and Activities
Member, International Neuroethics Society (2019 - Present)
Factors Influencing Perceived Helpfulness and Participation in Innovative Research: A Pilot Study of Individuals with and without Mood Symptoms.
Ethics & behavior
2022; 32 (7): 601-617
Little is known about how individuals with and without mood disorders perceive the inherent risks and helpfulness of participating in innovative psychiatric research, or about the factors that influence their willingness to participate. We conducted an online survey with 80 individuals (self-reported mood disorder [n = 25], self-reported good health [n = 55]) recruited via MTurk. We assessed respondents' perceptions of risk and helpfulness in study vignettes associated with two innovative research projects (intravenous ketamine therapy and wearable devices), as well as their willingness to participate in these projects. Respondents with and without mood disorders perceived risk similarly across projects. Respondents with no mood disorders viewed both projects as more helpful to society than to research volunteers, while respondents with mood disorders viewed the projects as equally helpful to volunteers and society. Individuals with mood disorders perceived ketamine research, and the two projects on average, as more helpful to research volunteers than did individuals without mood disorders. Our findings add to a limited empirical literature on the perspectives of volunteers in innovative psychiatric research.
View details for DOI 10.1080/10508422.2021.1957678
View details for PubMedID 36200069
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9528999
Self-reported influences on willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccines among physically ill, mentally ill, and healthy individuals.
Journal of psychiatric research
2022; 155: 501-510
OBJECTIVE: Individuals with mental and physical disorders have been disproportionately affected by adverse health outcomes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet vaccine hesitancy persists despite clear evidence of health benefits. Therefore, our study explored factors influencing willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.METHODS: Individuals with mental illness (n=332), physical illness (n=331), and no health issues (n=328) were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants rated willingness to obtain a fully approved COVID-19 vaccine or a vaccine approved only for experimental/emergency use and influences in six domains upon their views. We examined differences by health status.RESULTS: Participants across groups were moderately willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Perceived risk was negatively associated with willingness. Participants differentiated between vaccine risk by approval stage and were less willing to receive an experimental vaccine. Individuals with mental illness rated risk of both vaccines similarly to healthy individuals. Individuals with physical illness expressed less willingness to receive an experimental vaccine. Domain influences differently affected willingness by health status as well as by vaccine approval status.CONCLUSIONS: Our findings are reassuring regarding the ability of people with mental disorders to appreciate risk in medical decision-making and the ability of people of varied health backgrounds to distinguish between the benefits and risks of clinical care and research, refuting the prevailing notions of psychiatric exceptionalism and therapeutic misconception. Our findings shine a light on potential paths forward to support vaccine acceptance.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2022.09.017
View details for PubMedID 36191518
- Factors Influencing Perceived Helpfulness and Participation in Innovative Research:A Pilot Study of Individuals with and without Mood Symptoms ETHICS & BEHAVIOR 2021
Perceived protectiveness of research safeguards and influences on willingness to participate in research: A novel MTurk pilot study.
Journal of psychiatric research
2021; 138: 200–206
Little is known about how individuals with mood disorders view the protectiveness of research safeguards, and whether their views affect their willingness to participate in psychiatric research. We conducted an online survey with 80 individuals (self-reported mood disorder [n=25], self-reported good health [n=55]) recruited via MTurk. We assessed respondents' perceptions of the protectiveness of five common research safeguards, as well as their willingness to participate in research that incorporates each safeguard. Perceived protectiveness was strongly related to willingness to participate in research for four of the safeguards. Our findings add to a limited literature on the motivations and perspectives of key stakeholders in psychiatric research.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.04.005
View details for PubMedID 33865169