Boss magazine has a great article on both the cutting edge and the rough edges of neuroscience, discussing how the rapid commercialisation of brain science is pushing us into grey areas of social change.
The piece is by ABC All in the Mind journalist Natasha Mitchell and is only hampered by the fact it’s displayed by a bizarre Flash interface that is presumably meant to stop people cutting and pasting.
Over the past year, what has made headlines includes the brains of US voters, murderers, wine drinkers, coma patients, even cockroaches. Studies that caught our attention probed political persuasion, mind-reading, morality, alcoholism, adolescence and ageing. Believe the headlines and we’ve entered an age of neuro-marketing, neuro-economics, neuro-theology, neuro-leadership and even neuro-architecture.
Many people hold much hope for this research. Brain banks are on the increase, with folk bequeathing their most precious organ to the scientific cause. Scientists are starting to better understand the neural and genetic underpinnings of behavioural and neurological problems, and of healthy heads too. But are we at risk of taking this knowledge too far, too fast? Absolutely.
The same goes for Flash programming obviously.
With perfect synchronicity, this week’s edition of ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind covers similar territory, discussing the potential impact of the widespread use of ‘smart drugs’ such as modafinil and methylphenidate.