Intersecting Complexities in Neuroimaging and Neuroethics

Carole A. Federico, Sofia Lombera and Judy Illes

in Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics

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

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Intersecting Complexities in Neuroimaging and Neuroethics

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology



Neuroimaging has been to neuroethics what free will and determinism has been, albeit for much longer, to philosophy: pillars for scholarly inquiry and curiosity, and entries to dialogue, debate, and discovery. With interest piqued by reproducible measures of regional blood flow in the human brain under well-defined conditions such as existential problem solving, decision-making, and trust, this article meticulously documents emerging trends involving functional MRI (fMRI) studies. The article builds on that work and examines the hypothesis that almost twenty years after the first wave of such studies, the focus on neuroimaging and its application to complex and profoundly personal human behaviors has not abated. Neuroimaging studies remain an unwavering source of energy for the field. It reviews some of the reasons that they have provoked so much attention in neuroethics and elsewhere, presenting a 2002–2008 update to the trends that documented for 1991–2001, comparing this second generation of data to the first.

Keywords: neuroimaging; neuroethics; decision-making; human behaviors; human brain

Article.  4527 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Clinical Psychology

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