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The Neuroenhancement of Healthy Individuals Using tDCS: Some Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects

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  • Toni Pustovrh

    () (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana)

Abstract

Over the past two decades there has been increasing scientific interest in Human Enhancement, that is, the possibilities of expanding and enhancing the capabilities of healthy individuals with direct technological interventions into the body. The (sub)field of neuroenhancement, which explores attempts to technologically increase attention, memory, perception, learning and other cognitive capabilities, as well as alter mood and emotions, has become especially prominent. Recently, transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) has emerged as a possible method for enhancing cognitive abilities in healthy individuals. The article provides a short overview of the concept of neuroenhancement and of the cognitive enhancement effects that tDCS has demonstrated in the scientific literature. It further focuses on the (neuro)ethical, legal and societal implications of such a practice, and points out issues and questions that especially require further research and investigation, both from a neuroscientific and from a social sciences and humanities perspective. tDCS could become another addition to the increasing set of Human Enhancement Technologies, but it requires further rigorous studies and trials in order to properly assess its potential risks and benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Toni Pustovrh, 2014. "The Neuroenhancement of Healthy Individuals Using tDCS: Some Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 12(4), pages 270-279.
  • Handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:12:y:2014:i:4:p:270-279
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    Keywords

    tDCS; transcranial direct-current stimulation; neuroenhancement; cognitive enhancement; neuroethics;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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