News and analysis on the implications of brain science

Are You Creeped Out by the Idea of a “Moral Enhancement” Pill?

by Vanessa Rampton

Slate | March 20, 2017

Today, we are increasingly aware that new developments in science and technology bring with them increased moral responsibility. But by downplaying the relationship between morality and freedom, there is a danger that we could undermine the moral learning that goes on when we think actively about the validity of our own intuitions.

Brain-Altering Science and the Search for a New Normal

by Sarah Scoles

Pacific Standard magazine | March 13, 2017

A team using BRAIN Initiative money is working to determine what the "normal" range of emotion looks like in the brain, hoping to build deep-brain stimulators that could monitor one's mind and "correct" it to normal when it wanders too far down the low-mood or manic paths.

Crime and the Adolescent Brain

by New York Times Editorial Board

New York Times | March 11, 2017

States that channel most under-18 offenders into juvenile courts have seen less recidivism; now some states are considering creating a "young adult" category for 19- and 20-year-olds.

How Brain Scientists Forgot That Brains Have Owners

by Ed Yong

Atlantic magazine | February 27, 2017

Five neuroscientists argue that fancy new technologies have led the field astray.

When Neuroethicists Become Labmates

The Neuroethics Blog | February 21, 2017

A Q&A with Maggie Thompson and Tim Brown, graduate students at the University of Washington. Maggie studies electrical engineering, and Tim studies philosophy (in particular, neuroethics). They are both members of the Biorobotics Laboratory—a multidisciplinary lab investigating the interface between human bodies and machines. Tim serves as the lab’s “embedded ethicist.”

As Presidents Live Longer, Doctors Debate Whether To Test For Dementia

by Bret Stetka

NPR | February 17, 2017

Until Ronald Reagan, septuagenarian presidents at risk for dementia weren't a concern. "Donald Trump at the time of his inauguration was older than half of our deceased former presidents at the age when they died," says Dr. Jacob Appel, a Mt. Sinai School of Medicine psychiatrist who has studied the health of politicians and presidents.

Monkeys taught to pass mirror self-awareness test

by Bob Yirka | February 14, 2017

For many years, cognitive researchers have relied on the mirror self-recognition test as a means for determining if an animal is capable of self-awareness. But a team of researchers at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences has found that rhesus monkeys can pass the mirror self-awareness test if they are first taught how mirrors work.

Why advances in treating those with brain injuries require advances in respecting their rights

by Joseph J. Fins

Montana Standard | January 26, 2017

Many people see the 21st Century Cures Act as a boon for medical research, but researcher Joseph Fins also see it as "legislation that will help realize the civil rights of people with severe brain injury. With new understanding and better neurotechnologies, we can help patients communicate and reengage with their world. The long arc of justice demands nothing less for citizens with severe brain injury."

Neuroethics and the Third Offset Strategy

by Jonathan Moreno

The Neuroethics Blog | January 24, 2017

A new U.S. strategic doctrine called the third offset poses an important challenge for the field of neuroethics.

Doppler Labs wants to put two extra brains in your ears

by Dave Gershgorn

Quartz | January 19, 2017

The company is capitalizing on a gap in the market—well-designed, high-quality wireless earbuds that don’t make you look like an early-aughts Bluetooth dad. But Doppler is also vying to redefine the way we hear, and by extension how we interact with the world around us, by giving our ears their own assistants.

What Can fMRI Tell Us About Mental Illness?

by Neuroskeptic

Discover Magazine | January 14, 2017

Results of a recent meta-analysis were surprising: It turned out that there were very few differences between different disorders in terms of the distribution of the group differences across the brain.

How Much Does It Hurt?

by John Walsh

Mosaic Science | January 10, 2017

Aching, throbbing, searing, excruciating – pain is difficult to describe and impossible to see. So how can doctors measure it? John Walsh finds out about new ways of assessing the agony.

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