Neuroethics

The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of activity in neuroscience, driven forward by the success of high resolution techniques for imaging neural activity.  Neuroethics encompasses two different consequences of this neural revolution: (1) the application of such neuroscientific techniques to understanding ethics, and (2) ethical implications of the new technology.

Under (1), our understanding of the neural processes that underlie ethical judgements is accelerating, with some of the leading work taking place in the Centre.  These dramatic advances are helping to answer some of the most long-standing questions about the nature of moral psychology.

Under (2), work in the Centre examines the ethical implications of a wide range of issues generated by the new neuroscience, including: consciousness in vegetative state patients, use of drugs and brain stimulation for cognitive and moral enhancement, addiction and the mechanisms of self-control, and the use of neuroscientific techniques to monitor and improve difficult practical decision making.

Key publications:

Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P. and Hewstone, M. (2012), 'Propranolol reduces implicit negative racial bias ', Psychopharmacology Vol: online first.

Levy, N. (2011), 'Neuroethics: A new way of doing ethics', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 2(2) pp. 3-9

Kahane, G., Wiech, K., Shackel, N., Farias, M., Savulescu, J. and Tracey, I. (2011), 'The Neural Basis of Intuitive and Counterintuitive Moral Judgement', Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol: online advanced access

Wilkinson, D., Kahane, G., Horne, M. and Savulescu, J. (2009), 'Functional neuroimaging and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from vegetative patients', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 35 pp. 508-511

Levy, N. (2007), 'Neuroethics: Challenges for the 21st Century', (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)