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Cognitive Enhancement

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by

Antonio Carrara

on 18 March 2016

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Transcript of Cognitive Enhancement

A new
Neurobioethics
' field:
Cognitive Enhancement
Changing Neurochemical Balance
Makes Us More Compassionate... Neuroscience News - 19 March 2015
What if there were a
pill
that made you more compassionate and more likely to give spare change to someone less fortunate? UC Berkeley scientists have taken a big step in that direction...
A new study by UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco researchers finds that giving a
drug
that changes the neurochemical balance in the prefrontal cortex of the brain causes a greater willingness to engage in prosocial behaviors, such as ensuring that resources are divided more equally
The researchers also say that future research may lead to a better understanding of the interaction between altered
dopamine
-brain mechanisms and mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or
addiction
, and potentially light the way to possible diagnostic tools or treatments for these disorders
IGNACIO SÁEZ, LUSHA ZHU, ERIC SET, ANDREW KAYSER, MING HSU.
Dopamine Modulates Egalitarian Behavior in Humans
.
Current Biology
, Published Online: March 19, 2015

Highlights

Dopamine
is causally associated with human prosocial behavior

Pharmacological
dopamine
enhancement
led to prioritizing of egalitarian motives
• Computational modeling of inequity aversion captures drug-induced changes
• Results support involvement of dopamine in computing prosocial valuation signal
Cognitive enhancement refers to interventions in the brain that improve attention, concentration, and information processing in executive functions such as reasoning and decision-making
Walter Glannon
three main conceptions:

augmenting


diminishing


optimizing
"designed to
improve
human
form
or
function

beyond
what is necessary to restore or sustain good human health"
"Sometimes the diminishment of a capacity or function, under the right set of circumstances, could plausibly contribute to an individual's overall well-being:
more is not always better, and sometimes less is more
"
diminishes
the content of thought...
avoid distracting stimuli...
focus on that task...
any intervention that "aims at optimizing a specific class of information-processing functions; cognitive functions, physically realized by the human brain"
The
goal
of altering cognitive functions is not just to improve performance on a particular task but also to promote flexible behavior and adaptability to the environment
Optimal
levels of cognitive functions ...


"optimal" suggests that there are limits

Types:

genetic modification (?)

Noninvasive brain manipulation:
* transcranial magnetic stimulation
* transcranial direct current stimulation


psychopharmacology

25%
US students!
dextroamphetamine
modafinil
Neurobiological Mechanisms
and Enhancing Effects
Chronic use of methylphenidate and similar-acting drugs may
improve
some cognitive functions but
decrease
the ability to flexibly alter behavior and adapt to changing circumstances...
Memory
Risks
Some might claim that there are no significant differences between the cognition-enhancing effects of
psychostimulants
and those of
substances in certain foods and drinks
, such as
caffeine
...
Social Inequality ?
enhancing cognitive capacities by itself would not necessarily make our lives better on the
whole
, since
well-being
is
more than
a function of the extent to which we have and exercise these capacities
Inauthenticity and Alienation
Our
selves
consist of a unified set of mental states generated and sustained by normal functions in the brain
Moral Enhancement
It is an oversimplification to think that a
drug
targeting certain chemical receptors or circuits in the brain will transforms people's
behavior
Should research into psychopharmacological agents designed to
enhance
our rational and moral behavior be treated on a par with research designed to prevent or find
treatments
for neuropsychiatric and other
diseases
?
a
model
consisting of biomedical, educational, and social factors...
which attitudes or virtues should be enhanced and which vices should be diminished or eliminated?
individual liberty vs collective interest

¡Cuida tu cerebro! El hombre y el encanto de la mejora cognitiva
Full transcript