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Rethinking Cognitive Enhancement$
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Ruud ter Meulen, Ahmed Mohammed, and Wayne Hall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727392.001.0001

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The use of brain stimulation technology for cognitive enhancement and the potential for addiction

The use of brain stimulation technology for cognitive enhancement and the potential for addiction

Chapter:
(p.150) Chapter 9 The use of brain stimulation technology for cognitive enhancement and the potential for addiction
Source:
Rethinking Cognitive Enhancement
Author(s):

Mark Attiah

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727392.003.0009

The phrase “brain stimulation” conjures a vast range of emotions from different segments of society, with fear or apprehension being a common and understandable reaction. The brain reigns as the control center for breathing, eating, and moving, to relating, feeling, and understanding. Changing these functions with electricity or magnetism can fundamentally change how we interact with our environment and one another. Even if this change is beneficial, there can still be a cause for concern. Brain stimulation technologies are currently used for several therapeutic purposes, but they also have the potential for enhancing those without an illness. Enjoying the advantages that enhancement might bring could be intoxicating, as can be the case with having great wealth, prestige, beauty, or athletic ability. This chapter explores the implications of such possible enhancement uses, as well as the notion that it could create a dependence on the stimulation akin to an addiction.

Keywords:   brain stimulation technology, deep brain stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, cognitive enhancement, personality change, addiction

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