CEXS-UPF: Neuroenhancement: An opened debate to society

CEXS-UPF: Neuroenhancement: An opened debate to society

News from CEXS-UPF

The existence of substances and devices that improve brain capacities such as memory, learning, creativity or concentration is already a reality: it is the neuroenhancement. However, their research and use raises many questions.

A research team led by Winnie Toonders of Radboud University in Nijmegen, firmly believes that researchers and developers of these technologies should be aware of the opinions of society. T this approach should not be performed at the end of the process, but at the beginning, when the research is still in its earliest phase. In an article published in Nanoethics, this team shows the benefits of establishing scenarios for dialogue between researchers and different groups affected or interested in these technologies.

In the framework of the European project NERRI, they have developed mutual learning exercises, in which different publics are gathered in order to exhibit their views, experiences and concerns regarding the application of neuroenhancement in society. To encourage in-depth dialogues, mutual learning exercises employ innovative methods developed in challenging environments. Thus, "through games, performances, scientific coffees and other dynamics, mutual learning exercises become the contemporary version of Socratic agoras," says Gema Revuelta, co-author of the study and director of the Studies Center for Science, Communication and Society of the UPF. 

More information:
CEXS-UPF website

Reference work:
Hub Zwart, Jonna Brenninkmeijer, Peter Eduard, Lotte Krabbenborg, Sheena Laursen, Gema Revuelta, Winnie Toonders. Reflection as a Deliberative and Distributed Practice: Assessing Neuro-Enhancement Technologies via Mutual Learning Exercises (MLEs). Nanoethics, Marzo 2016. DOI 10.1007/s11569-017-0287-4