News and analysis on the implications of brain science

When Your Child Is a Psychopath

by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

The Atlantic | June 1, 2017

The condition has long been considered untreatable. Experts can spot it in a child as young as 3 or 4. But a new, intensive, clinical approach offers hope.

Why using AI to sentence criminals is a dangerous idea

by Christopher Markou

The Conversation | May 16, 2017

In a recent US court case, a man was sentenced to six years in prison at least in part by the recommendation of a private company’s secret proprietary software.

Molly at the Marriott: Inside America’s Premier Psychedelics Conference

by Casey Schwartz

New York Times | May 6, 2017

For the advocates gathered for the convention of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), that psychedelic drugs, from LSD to magic mushrooms to MDMA (also known as Ecstasy or Molly), are taking a place in mainstream life. “We are not the counterculture,” said Rick Doblin, the executive director of MAPS, “we are the culture.”

New Human Rights for the Age of Neuroscience?

by Neuroskeptic

Discover Magazine | April 29, 2017

Do we have a human right to the privacy of our brain activity? Is “cognitive liberty” the foundation of all freedom? An interesting new paper by Swiss researchers Marcello Ienca and Roberto Andorno explores such questions.

Why is the brain prone to florid forms of confabulation?

by Jules Montague

Aeon | April 17, 2017

It’s not just those with brain injury or the very young who are susceptible to confabulation. Being tricked into confabulation and hence into a doubt deficit, even without brain injury, has moral and ethical consequences.

Can a Difficult Childhood Enhance Cognition?

by Olga Khazan

The Atlantic | April 11, 2017

Poverty tends to dampen test scores, but new research suggests people with hard upbringings can sometimes outperform their more-privileged peers. "We’re not arguing that stress is good. We’re arguing that’s real, and that’s half the story," says one researcher.

'Love drugs' will soon be a reality. But should we take them?

by Olivia Goldhill

Quartz | April 8, 2017

"I would imagine a future love drug would be something you take together with your partner, and that causes a slow, long-term experience," says one researcher.

F.D.A. Will Allow 23andMe to Sell Genetic Tests for Disease Risk to Consumers

by Gina Kolata

New York TImes | April 6, 2017

For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration said it would allow a company to sell genetic tests for disease risk directly to consumers, including risk for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Until now, the only way for people to get such genetic tests was to see a medical professional who would order a test and later deliver the results to patients. Often, patients were required to see a genetic counselor before getting a test.

When is the Brain “Mature”?

by Kayt Sukel

Dana Foundation | April 4, 2017

Though most people in the US consider 18 to be the age maturity is reached, developmental neuroscientists say there isn’t a one size fits all age, nor a one size fits all method to measure it. In our new briefing paper, we explore how new scientific findings regarding the brain, adolescence, and neurodevelopment are informing law and policy across the country.

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.

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