Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Friday, July 3, 2015

The rise of cognitive enhancers is a mass social experiment

By Emma A. Jane and Nicole A. Vincent
The Conversation
Originally posted June 15, 2015

Want to sign up for a massive human experiment? Too late. You’re already a lab rat. There was no ethics approval or informed consent. You weren’t asked, you never signed up, and now there’s no easy way to opt out.

We don’t want to be alarmist. We’re not suggesting you’re about to sprout wings, grow coarse hairs in surprising places and become a gruesome half-insect like the Brundlefly (the side effects of real life scientific experiments rarely impress like the special effects in David Cronenberg’s film The Fly).

But we do know not everyone wants to be a human lab rat. And yet we are all currently enrolled in a massive experiment involving cognitive enhancers.


But what drugs, what devices? Well, take this guy, for instance, pumping electricity through his brain with a homegrown transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) device that emits a current so small it can run off a nine-volt battery. Or Elizabeth, the 20-something founder of a start-up who takes Adderall – a medication prescribed to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – except she doesn’t have ADHD.

The entire article is here.