Neuro-Alarmism: Author Links Neuroscience & Government

In a lecture in Utah, author Jonathan Moreno, bioethics adviser for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, raised concerns about use of neuroscience by the government. An article in the Daily Utah Chronicle by Morgan Ratliffe described the talk, which was ominously titled “Mind Wars: Ethics, National Security and the Brain.”

“This stuff is creepy,” Moreno said.

There is a long history of the government funding neuroscience experiments, which Moreno called the “genetics of the 21st century.”

“Neuroscience is the fastest growing area of science, and it is more sensitive than nuclear physics and microbiology,” he said.

Certainly, there are valid concerns about unbridled use of any scientific technology, particularly if applied to citizens. Neuromarketers, though, should keep their eyes open for signs of budding neuro-alarmism that could cause a knee-jerk backlash against application of neuroscience to marketing and other non-therapeutic areas. According to the article, Moreno’s book, Mind Wars: National Security and the Brain, is scheduled for publication this fall.


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Roger Dooley writes and speaks about marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research to make advertising, marketing, and products better. He is the primary author at Neuromarketing, and founder of Dooley Direct LLC, a marketing consultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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