Ethical issues in neuroscience and its business uses

Your Mind’s Civil Rights

WIRED ran an interesting piece that suggests increasingly invasive brain technologies will become a legal battleground. The more obvious areas have already been discussed here and elsewhere: using brain scans as lie detectors or to see if an individual recognizes [...]

By | March 26th, 2008|

The Brain Imaging Debate

Are the non-medical applications of fMRI and other brain imaging technology overrated, or are we seeing the birth of a major new field of study? Ofri Ilani and Yotam Feldman of Haaretz have written a lengthy survey piece that starts by describing some of the current and planned brain imaging centers in Israel and segues into a lengthy and detailed discussion of the pros and cons of neuroimaging technology. There is even a section on neuromarketing: […]

By | March 14th, 2008|

Cosmetic Neurology: Brain-Boosting Drugs

What’s the next big frontier in pharmaceutical marketing? Blockbuster drugs seem harder to develop these days, and it’s getting more difficult to sell minor tweaks to old products as major breakthroughs. It’s even getting more challenging to talk to physicians, as many of the old ploys to get face time (expensive meals, honoraria, etc.) are being abandoned. These days, it seems, pharma companies have been reduced to trying to convince consumers they suffer from obscure maladies like “restless leg syndrome.” The Holy Grail of new products would be a drug that could be used by anyone, and that is so attractive that consumers will flock to their physicians to demand it. Could that drug be a cognitive enhancer? Enter the brave new world of cosmetic neurology… […]

By | January 7th, 2008|

Better Giving Through Chemistry: Oxytocin Drives Generosity

There’s more proof that the hormone oxytocin is an important factor in our social behavior. Previously, the brain chemical was shown to be associated with trust (see Building Trust: Chemical Neuromarketing). Now, researcher Paul Zak, a professor of economics and director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California, has shown that subjects who inhaled oxytocin gave away 80% more money than subjects who inhaled a placebo. […]

By | November 8th, 2007|

Legal Decision Making Center Funded

Decision making is emerging as a key area of neuroscience research. Neuroeconomics and neuromarketing are informed by brain scan data and other studies of how people make decisions, and now Vanderbilt University is the home for a major new study [...]

By | October 11th, 2007|

Neuroethics vs. Neuromarketing

There has been interest in neuroethics for years - the ethical dilemmas involved in everything from brain scans to cognitive enhancement drugs have been long apparent to neuroscientists. Recent research seems to have brought renewed attention the field, as reported [...]

By | February 15th, 2007|


A church-based site, Vision.org, has published an interesting and thoughtful article by Thomas E. Fitzpatrick, Are We in Need of a Neuromorality? The article covers some of the same issues discussed in more detail in the book, Hard Science, Hard [...]

By | December 18th, 2006|

Book Review: Hard Science, Hard Choices

Meeting notes from a neuroethics conference hardly seem like fodder for book club meetings, but Hard Science, Hard Choices by Sandra J. Ackerman (Dana Press, 2006, 174 pages) is likely to produce far more spirited discussion than the latest Oprah [...]

By | December 7th, 2006|

“Neuroplanning” and Neuromarketing in the Czech Republic

The Prague Post, a popular English-language weekly in the Czech Republic, ran both an article, Picking Your Brain, and an opinion piece, On the brains (and ethics) of neuroplanning, on the topic of neuromarketing. The former covers the launch of [...]

By | October 13th, 2006|

Neuro-Optimized Products – Good or Evil?

Every little while, a neuroalarmist rant pops up in the blogosphere, almost always from someone who read an article about neuromarketing and concludes, "My goodness - now they'll manipulate my brain into buying all kinds of stuff I don't want [...]

By | June 23rd, 2006|