Does Cognitive Enhancement Fit with the Physiology of Our Cognition?

Hervé Chneiweiss

in Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199570706
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Does Cognitive Enhancement Fit with the Physiology of Our Cognition?

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology



Neuroscience opens new avenues to alleviate neurological and psychiatric disorders and presents targeted ways to control and enhance vegetative (being awake or asleep, and appetite and sexuality) as well as mood and cognitive behaviors (memory to ideation). It considers a general trend to obtain improved memory and comprehension capacities through “smart pills,” rewards from technical progress. The article shows that currently available drugs will not only change some quantitative aspects of neural activities, whose improvement implies no problem, but also the global internal economy of cognition. Cognitive enhancers do not only change the amplitude of a given brain capacity, i.e. memory, but also the balance between emotional and rational networks. This article argues that the real risk resides in a hypertrophy of the self, losing essential feedback from the eyes of the others. These fundamental changes provide an understanding of the driving forces of “neurotechnological gourmandize”.

Keywords: neuroscience; psychiatric disorders; cognition; smart pills; rational networks; neurotechnological gourmandize

Article.  6601 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Clinical Psychology

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