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Neuroethics

Edited by L. Syd M Johnson (Michigan Technological University)
About this topic
Summary Neuroethics is a nascent subdiscipline that has emerged out of bioethics and neuroscience to consider the ethical issued raised by developments in neuroscience, particularly recent developments in neuroetechnologies. The scope of neuroethics is broad and heterogeneous. In her seminal 2002 paper, philosopher and neuroscientist Adina Roskies bisected the field of neuroethics into two broad sectors: the ethics of neuroscience, and the neuroscience of ethics. The ethics of neuroscience overlaps significantly with traditional issues in biomedical ethics, including the ethics of neuroscientific research, and the ethical, legal, and social implications of new developments and discoveries in neuroscience. The “neuroscience of ethics”  engages with traditional ethical questions, and (controversially) overlaps with neurophilosophical, metaphysical inquiries concerning free will and personal identity as they inform and interact with important ethical and social issues. Specific areas of neuroethical interest include: cognitive enhancement, disorders of consciousness and neurological impairment, psychiatric disorders, brain imaging, free will/moral responsibility, and addiction, and the neuroscientific study of morality and decision-making.
Key works The broad scope of neuroethics defies a concise bibliography. Moreover, while there is overlap in some foci of neuroethics, there are also regions that stand apart. This article reflects neuroethics' origins as a subdiscipline of bioethics by examining ethical issues in clinical neuroscience (Glannon 2011). The moral significance of consciousness (Kahane & Savulescu 2009), and the role of neuroscience in illuminating the "problem of other minds" with respect to brain damage, and nonhuman animals (Farah 2008) is a subject with an extensive literature. Works on issues related to control, responsibility, freedom, and addiction include Hall 2003 and Glannon 2013Persson & Savulescu 2008 proposes both cognitive and moral enhancement. The neuroscience of ethics overlaps considerably with the work of experimental philosophers, e.g. Knobe 2003Greene unknown, and Appiah 2008.
Introductions For a general introductions to neuroethics, see Illes & Sahakian 2011 and Levy 2009 and Roskies 2002.
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  1. Carlo Abbate, Pietro D. Trimarchi, Isabella Basile, Anna Mazzucchi & Guya Devalle (2014). Sensory Stimulation for Patients with Disorders of Consciousness: From Stimulation to Rehabilitation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  2. Michael N. Abbott & Steven L. Peck (forthcoming). Emerging Ethical Issues Related to the Use of Brain-Computer Interfaces for Patients with Total Locked-in Syndrome. Neuroethics:1-8.
    New brain-computer interface and neuroimaging techniques are making differentiation less ambiguous and more accurate between unresponsive wakefulness syndrome patients and patients with higher cognitive function and awareness. As research into these areas continues to progress, new ethical issues will face physicians of patients suffering from total locked-in syndrome, characterized by complete loss of voluntary muscle control, with retention of cognitive function and awareness detectable only with neuroimaging and brain-computer interfaces. Physicians, researchers, ethicists and hospital ethics committees should be aware of (...)
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  3. Geoffrey K. Aguirre (2014). Functional Neuroimaging:Technical, Logical, and Social Perspectives. Hastings Center Report 44 (s2):S8-S18.
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  4. Sangtae Ahn, Kiwoong Kim & Sung Chan Jun (2016). Steady-State Somatosensory Evoked Potential for Brain-Computer Interface—Present and Future. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  5. George Ainslie (forthcoming). Intertemporal Bargaining in Habit. Neuroethics:1-11.
    Lewis ascribes the stubborn persistence of addictions to habit, itself a normal process that does not imply lack of responsiveness to motivation. However, he suggests that more dynamic processes may be involved, for instance that “our recurrently focused brains inevitably self-organize.” Given hyperbolic delay discounting, a reward-seeking internal marketplace model describes two processes, also normal in themselves, that may give rise to the “deep attachment” to addictive activities that he describes: People learn to interpret current choices as test cases for (...)
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  6. S. Akbari Chermahini & Bernhard Hommel (2012). More Creative Through Positive Mood? Not Everyone! Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6.
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  7. Maertens De Noordhout Alain (2014). Invasive and Non-Invasive Neuromodulation in Movement Disorders. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  8. Pearce Alan, Rogers Mark, Corp Daniel, Major Brendan & Hoy Kate (2015). The Effect Of Acute Sports Concussion on Corticomotor Excitability in Australian Football Players. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  9. Björn Albrecht, Henrik Uebel-von Sandersleben, Holger Gevensleben & Aribert Rothenberger (2015). Pathophysiology of ADHD and Associated Problems—Starting Points for NF Interventions? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  10. Kaplan Alexander & Kochetova Arina (2015). A P300 Brain-Computer Interface for Controlling a Robot by Issuing a Color Flashes Located in His "Eyes" as Target and Non-Target Stimuli. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  11. Johanna Alexopoulos, Daniela M. Pfabigan, Florian Göschl, Herbert Bauer & Florian Ph S. Fischmeister (2013). Agency Matters! Social Preferences in the Three-Person Ultimatum Game. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7.
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  12. Mark Alfano (forthcoming). Moral Thinking, More and Less Quickly. Journal of Moral Education.
    Cushman, Young, & Greene (2010) urge the consolidation of moral psychology around a dual-system consensus. On this view, a slow, often-overstretched rational system tends to produce consequentialist intuitions and action-tendencies, while a fast, affective system produces virtuous (or vicious) intuitions and action-tendencies that perform well in their habituated ecological niche but sometimes disastrously outside of it. This perspective suggests a habit-corrected-by-reason picture of moral behavior. Recent research, however, has raised questions about the adequacy of dual-process theories of cognition and behavior, (...)
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  13. Luz María Alonso-Valerdi, Francisco Sepulveda & Ricardo A. Ramírez-Mendoza (2015). Perception and Cognition of Cues Used in Synchronous Brain–Computer Interfaces Modify Electroencephalographic Patterns of Control Tasks. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  14. Tara L. Alvarez (2015). A Pilot Study of Disparity Vergence and Near Dissociated Phoria in Convergence Insufficiency Patients Before Vs. After Vergence Therapy. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  15. Ori Amir (2016). The Frog Test: A Tool for Measuring Humor Theories' Validity and Humor Preferences. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10.
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  16. Brian A. Anderson, Patryk A. Laurent & Steven Yantis (2013). Reward Predictions Bias Attentional Selection. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7.
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  17. Latham Andrew, Westermann Christine, Patston Lucy & Tippett Lynette (2015). The Care and Testing of Video-Game Players: Using Patterns of Performance to Provide Insight Into the Effects of Video-Game Experience and Expertise. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  18. Martin Andrew, Robinson Gail, Reutens David & Mowry Bryan (2015). Characterizing Rare Copy Number Variants in Schizophrenia: A Clinical, Cognitive, and Neuroimaging Study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  19. Francesco Angelucci, Antonella Peppe, Giovanni A. Carlesimo, Francesca Serafini, Silvia Zabberoni, Francesco Barban, Jacob Shofany, Carlo Caltagirone & Alberto Costa (2015). A Pilot Study on the Effect of Cognitive Training on BDNF Serum Levels in Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  20. Andrea Antal & Walter Paulus (2013). Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7.
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  21. Angwin Anthony, Dissanayaka Nadeeka, McMahon Katie, Silburn Peter & Copland David (2015). An Event-Related Potential Study of Sentence Processing in Parkinson's Disease. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  22. Yasunori Aoki, Ryouhei Ishii, Roberto D. Pascual-Marqui, Leonides Canuet, Shunichiro Ikeda, Masahiro Hata, Kaoru Imajo, Haruyasu Matsuzaki, Toshimitsu Musha, Takashi Asada, Masao Iwase & Masatoshi Takeda (2015). Detection of EEG-Resting State Independent Networks by eLORETA-ICA Method. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  23. Irene Aprile, Maurizio Ferrarin, Luca Padua, Enrica Di Sipio, Chiara Simbolotti, Sergio Petroni, Costanza Tredici & Anna Dickmann (2014). Walking Strategies in Subjects with Congenital or Early Onset Strabismus. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  24. Martijn Arns, Hartmut Heinrich, Tomas Ros, Aribert Rothenberger & Ute Strehl (2015). Editorial: Neurofeedback in ADHD. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  25. Yubraj Aryal (2010). On the Death of Human and Its History. Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry 5 (11):1-8.
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  26. Marco Antonio Azevedo (2016). The Misfortunes of Moral Enhancement. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (5):461-479.
    In Unfit for the Future, Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu present a sophisticated argument in defense of the imperative of moral enhancement. They claim that without moral enhancement, the future of humanity is seriously compromised. The possibility of ultimate harm, caused by a dreadful terrorist attack or by a final unpreventable escalation of the present environmental crisis aggravated by the availability of cognitive enhancement, makes moral enhancement a top priority. It may be considered optimistic to think that our present moral (...)
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  27. Jill B. Becker, Karen J. Berkley, Nori Geary, Elizabeth Hampson, James P. Herman & Elizabeth Young (eds.) (2007). Sex Differences in the Brain: From Genes to Behavior. Oxford University Press USA.
    Sex is a fundamentally important biological variable. Recent years have seen significant progress in the integration of sex in many aspects of basic and clinical research, including analyses of sex differences in brain function. Significant advances in the technology available for studying the endocrine and nervous systems are now coupled with a more sophisticated awareness of the interconnections of these two communication systems of the body. A thorough understanding of the current knowledge, conceptual approaches, methodological capabilities, and challenges is a (...)
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  28. Kathleen E. Bachynski & Daniel S. Goldberg (2014). Youth Sports & Public Health: Framing Risks of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in American Football and Ice Hockey. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 42 (3):323-333.
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  29. Chris Baeken, Daniele Marinazzo, Stephan Claes, Guo-Rong Wu, Peter Van Schuerbeek, Johan De Mey, Robert Luypaert & Rudi De Raedt (2014). COMT Val158Met Genotypes Differentially Influence Subgenual Cingulate Functional Connectivity in Healthy Females. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  30. Bernard Baertschi (2014). What is It Like to Be ‘Tuned’? Moral Lessons Drawn From Experiences of Enhancement. Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft Und Ethik 19 (1).
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  31. Sahil Bajaj, Andrew J. Butler, Daniel Drake & Mukesh Dhamala (2015). Functional Organization and Restoration of the Brain Motor-Execution Network After Stroke and Rehabilitation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  32. Gloria Balderas (2014). Habits as Learning Enhancers. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  33. Giampiero Bambagioni (2012). On the Valorisation of Public Real Estate Enhancement: The Valuation of Programs and Projects (Feasibility Study). Techne: Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment 3.
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  34. Guido P. H. Band, Chandramallika Basak, Heleen A. Slagter & Michelle W. Voss (2016). Editorial: Effects of Game and Game-Like Training on Neurocognitive Plasticity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10.
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  35. Michael J. Banissy & Neil G. Muggleton (2013). Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Sports Training: Potential Approaches. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7.
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  36. Xabier E. Barandiaran & Ezequiel A. Di Paolo (2014). A Genealogical Map of the Concept of Habit. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  37. A. V. Barashev & S. I. Golubov (2009). Unlimited Damage Accumulation in Metallic Materials Under Cascade-Damage Conditions. Philosophical Magazine 89 (31):2833-2860.
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  38. Zeynep Barlas & Sukhvinder S. Obhi (2013). Freedom, Choice, and the Sense of Agency. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7.
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  39. Gulzaar Barn (forthcoming). Can Medical Interventions Serve as ‘Criminal Rehabilitation’? Neuroethics:1-12.
    ‘Moral bioenhancement’ refers to the use of pharmaceuticals and other direct brain interventions to enhance ‘moral’ traits such as ‘empathy,’ and alter any ‘morally problematic’ dispositions, such as ‘aggression.’ This is believed to result in improved moral responses. In a recent paper, Tom Douglas considers whether medical interventions of this sort could be “provided as part of the criminal justice system’s response to the commission of crime, and for the purposes of facilitating rehabilitation : 101–122, 2014).” He suggests that they (...)
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  40. Anthony I. Barnett & Craig L. Fry (2015). The Clinical Impact of the Brain Disease Model of Alcohol and Drug Addiction: Exploring the Attitudes of Community-Based AOD Clinicians in Australia. Neuroethics 8 (3):271-282.
    Despite recent increasing support for the brain disease model of alcohol and drug addiction, the extent to which the model may clinically impact addiction treatment and client behaviour remains unclear. This qualitative study explored the views of community-based clinicians in Australia and examined: whether Australian community-based clinicians support the BDM of addiction; their attitudes on the impact the model may have on clinical treatment; and their views on how framing addiction as a brain disease may impact addicted clients’ behaviour. Six (...)
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  41. Chiara Baston, Manuela Contin, Giovanna Calandra Buonaura, Pietro Cortelli & Mauro Ursino (2016). A Mathematical Model of Levodopa Medication Effect on Basal Ganglia in Parkinson's Disease: An Application to the Alternate Finger Tapping Task. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10.
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  42. Kurt Bayertz, Birgit Beck & Barbara Stroop (2012). C Literaturberichte-Künstliches Glück? Biotechnisches Enhancement als (vermeintliche) Abkürzung zum guten Leben. Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 65 (4).
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  43. Stefano Bembich, Andrea Clarici, Cristina Vecchiet, Giulio Baldassi, Gabriele Cont & Sergio Demarini (2014). Differences in Time Course Activation of Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Associated with Low or High Risk Choices in a Gambling Task. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  44. Monica Bercea Olteanu (2015). Neuroethics and Responsibility in Conducting Neuromarketing Research. Neuroethics 8 (2):191-202.
    Over the last decade, academics and companies have shown an increased interest in brain studies and human cerebral functions related to consumer’s reactions to different stimuli. Therefore neuroethics emerged as a way to draw attention to ethical issues concerning different aspects of brain research. This review explores the environment of neuromarketing research in both business and academic areas from an ethical point of view. The paper focuses on the ethical issues involving subjects participating in neuroimaging studies, consumers that experience the (...)
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  45. Archy O. De Berker, Marom Bikson & Sven Bestmann (2013). Predicting the Behavioral Impact of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: Issues and Limitations. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7.
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  46. Kent C. Berridge (forthcoming). Is Addiction a Brain Disease? Neuroethics:1-5.
    Where does normal brain or psychological function end, and pathology begin? The line can be hard to discern, making disease sometimes a tricky word. In addiction, normal ‘wanting’ processes become distorted and excessive, according to the incentive-sensitization theory. Excessive ‘wanting’ results from drug-induced neural sensitization changes in underlying brain mesolimbic systems of incentive. ‘Brain disease’ was never used by the theory, but neural sensitization changes are arguably extreme enough and problematic enough to be called pathological. This implies that ‘brain disease’ (...)
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  47. Rose D. Bharath, Ashok Munivenkatappa, Suril Gohel, Rajanikant Panda, Jitender Saini, Jamuna Rajeswaran, Dhaval Shukla, Indira D. Bhagavatula & Bharat B. Biswal (2015). Recovery of Resting Brain Connectivity Ensuing Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  48. Johnson Blake, Meng David & Crain Stephen (2015). Measurement of Auditory Brain Function in Cochlear Implant Recipients Using MEG. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  49. Yannick Bleyenheuft & Andrew M. Gordon (2014). Precision Grip in Congenital and Acquired Hemiparesis: Similarities in Impairments and Implications for Neurorehabilitation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  50. Indu P. Bodala, Junhua Li, Nitish V. Thakor & Hasan Al-Nashash (2016). EEG and Eye Tracking Demonstrate Vigilance Enhancement with Challenge Integration. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10.
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