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Public Attitudes towards Cognitive Enhancement

September 8, 2012

On Wednesday, September 12th, Dr. Peter Reiner will speak at BrainTalks@UBC on the attitudes that people have to the emerging possibilities for cognitive enhancement. Dr. Reiner is a Professor and co-founder of the National Core for Neuroethics, among numerous other accomplishments.


Dr. Reiner is Professor in the National Core for Neuroethics and a member of the Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research, Department of Psychiatry and the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia.  Dr. Reiner has a distinguished track record as a research scientist studying the neurobiology of behavioral states and the molecular underpinnings of neurodegenerative disease.  Dr. Reiner also has experience in the private sector, having been President and CEO of Active Pass Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company that he founded to tackle the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease.  Upon returning to academic life, Dr. Reiner refocused his scholarly work in the area of neuroethics, with interests in neuroessentialism, the neuroethics of cognitive enhancement, and the commercialization of neuroscience.

The neuroethics of cognitive enhancement is a field of knowledge responding to the strong fascination that neuroscience, and related approaches to cognitive enhancement, has gained in the public eye over the last several decades. Questions as to the implications of this knowledge on social behaviour, social concepts, and institutional practices arise. Neuroessentialism is the position that, for all intents and purposes, we are our brains. The Reiner Research Group has been studying how the viewpoint of neuroessentialism could alter the mores of our society.



To read more, please see links below:

Felsen G, Reiner PB. How the neuroscience of decision making informs our conception of autonomy, AJOB Neuroscience 2:3-14 (2011).

Reiner PB, The rise of neuroessentialism. In: Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics, J. Illes & B. Sahakian, eds. pp. 161-175 (2011).

Nadler, R, Reiner PB, Prototypes or Pragmatics? The Open Question of Public Attitudes Toward Enhancement. AJOB Neuroscience 2(2):49-50 (2011).

Banjo OC, Nadler, R, Reiner PB, Physician attitudes to cognitive enhancement: safety concerns are paramount. PLoS One (2010). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014322

Felsen G, Whiteley L, Nadler R, Reiner PB. Neuroscience evidence should be incorporated into our ethical practices. American J Bioethics – Neuroscience 1(4):36-38 (2010).

Reiner PB, Distinguishing between Restoration and Enhancement in Neuropharmacology, Virtual Mentor 12(11): 885-888 (2010).

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