Neuroethical issues in cognitive enhancement.


Neuroethics is a developing field, concerned with addressing present and future applied ethical issues brought about directly and indirectly by neuroscience advancements. One domain where neuroscience has begun to have far-reaching ethical implications is in the research and development of pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers. Though such drugs are typically developed to treat cognitive disabilities and improve the quality of life for patients with neuropsychiatric disorders and brain injury, research has found that such drugs can improve performance on cognitive tasks in healthy individuals. In line with such findings is the growing use of these drugs by students and others for cognitive-enhancing purposes. The present paper reviews some of the evidence in both neuropsychiatric and healthy individuals and discusses the implications such research can have for society.