"Sixth Sense" May Be More Than Just a Feeling, NIH
The Psychology Behind Why Clowns Creep Us Out, The Conversation
Tech Giants Team Up To Tackle The Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence, NPR
Can CRISPR–Cas9 Boost Intelligence?, Scientific American
Worldwide Brain-Mapping Project Sparks Excitement — and Concern, Nature Magazine
Ants Get Addicted to Morphine, Nature Magazine
Neuroscience and Psychology Have Rendered it Basically Unnecessary to Have a Soul, Quartz
Election Buzz: A Look At Brain Science As 5 States Vote On Legalizing Pot, Kaiser Health News
A Corner on the Neuromarket, The Neuroethics Blogs
Rats That Reminisce May Lead To Better Tests For Alzheimer's Drugs, NPR
How High Blood Pressure May Hurt Children’s Brains, The New York Times
Psychedelic Experiences Might "Cure" Smoking and OCD. Should We Allow them?, Vox News
BRAIN Initiative Fellows: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32), NIH
The 4 Traits That Put Kids at Risk for Addiction, The New York Times
Can Sheer Willpower Keep Patients Alive in Their Dying Hours?, STAT
Americans Wary of Using Chip Implants to Boost Brain Power for the Healthy, Pew Research Center
Drug to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder Shows Promise among Drinkers with High Stress, NIH
Predicting the Future — Big Data, Machine Learning, and Clinical Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine
Neural Signatures of Value Comparison in Human Cingulate Cortex during Decisions Requiring an Effort-Reward Trade-off, Journal of Neuroscience
How MDMA Flows Across the USA: Evidence from Price Data, Global Crime
The Opposite Lane: A Path to Memories?, Nature Neuroscience
Too Bored to Stay Awake, Nature Neuroscience
FMRP Regulates an Ethanol-Dependent Shift in GABABR Function and Expression with Rapid Antidepressant Properties, Nature Communications
The Institute of Art and Ideas recently introduced a new podcast, "Philosophy for Our Times".
The launch line-up features eminent analytic philosopher John Searle, Nobel prize-winner Paul Krugman, How the Laws of Physics Lie author Nancy Cartwright, former leader of the Conservative Michael Howard and Guardian journalist Owen Jones. Debate questions include: “Are the laws of nature illusory?”, “Are there alternatives to Capitalism”, “Do we need a new account of truth?”, “Is the self real?”.
Episodes of interest include "Philosophy for Our Times" and particularly the debate regarding neuroscience and mental illness in "Mind, Myth and Madness".
"Effects of Closed-Loop Medical Devices on the Autonomy and Accountability of Persons and Systems" by Philipp Kellmeyer, Thomas Cochrane, Oliver Müller, Tonio Ball, Joseph J. Fins, and Nikola Biller-Andorno has recently been published in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Volume 25, Issue 4 (Clinical Neuorethics):
Closed-loop medical devices such as brain-computer interfaces are an emerging and rapidly advancing neurotechnology. The target patients for brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are often severely paralyzed, and thus particularly vulnerable in terms of personal autonomy, decisionmaking capacity, and agency. Here we analyze the effects of closed-loop medical devices on the autonomy and accountability of both persons (as patients or research participants) and neurotechnological closed-loop medical systems. We show that although BCIs can strengthen patient autonomy by preserving or restoring communicative abilities and/or motor control, closed-loop devices may also create challenges for moral and legal accountability. We advocate the development of a comprehensive ethical and legal framework to address the challenges of emerging closed-loop neurotechnologies like BCIs and stress the centrality of informed consent and refusal as a means to foster accountability. We propose the creation of an international neuroethics task force with members from medical neuroscience, neuroengineering, computer science, medical law, and medical ethics, as well as representatives of patient advocacy groups and the public.
Recently published on SSRN (and in Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 36, 9420-9434):
As More States Consider Legalizing, Questions About Pot And The Brain, NPR
Worldwide Brain-Mapping Project Sparks Excitement — and Concern, Nature Magazine
"Sixth Sense" May Be More Than Just a Feeling, NIH
It’s Time for a Serious Debate About Head Transplants, New Scientist
Head Transplant Team’s New Animal Tests Fail to Convince Critics, New Scientist
Brain Has Carrot and Stick to Teach Us How to Behave, New Scientist
My Sister Made Her End-of-Life Wishes Clear. Then Dementia Took Hold, STAT
Watching Films Releases 'Natural Painkiller', BBC News
This Wi-Fi Can Tell If You're Sad, Gizmodo
How Can We Address Real Concerns Over Artificial Intelligence?, The Guardian
First 3-D Map of a Fruit Fly’s Brain Network, MIT Technology Blog
Where Creativity Comes From, Scientific American
Why Teen Brains Need Later School Start Time, The Conversation
Blind People Use Brain’s Visual Cortex to Help Do Maths, New Scientist
Embodied Cognition: What it means to "Throw like a Girl", The Neuroethics Blog
Are the Experts Worried About the Existential Risk of Artificial Intelligence?, MIT Technology Review
Math Study Shows Our Brains Are Far More Adaptable than We Know, Johns Hopkins' HUB
NIH Announces Funding Concepts for Fiscal Year 2017, NIH
Drunk People Feel Soberer around Heavy Drinkers, Scientific American
Hawaiian Crows Join Tool-Users Club, New York Times
Horses Can Use Symbols to Talk to Us, Science Magazine
More Child Suicides Are Linked to A.D.D. Than Depression, Study Suggests, New York Times
Absence of Visual Experience Modifies the Neural Basis of Numerical Thinking, PNAS
The Human Connectome Project's Neuroimaging Approach, Nature Neuroscience
Is the Brain Prewired for Letters?, Nature Neuroscience
A Dendritic Disinhibitory Circuit Mechanism for Pathway-Specific Gating, Nature Communications
Via Allan McCay:
The Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics (CAVE), the Agency and Moral Cognition Network, and the Australian Neurolaw Database Project are co-hosting a workshop on dementia in the courtroom.
Workshop: Dementia in the Courtroom
Date: Friday 14 October 2016
Time: 14:45 - 17:00
Venue: TBC, Macquarie University
All are welcome, but please register with Jeanette Kennett for catering purposes: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians aged 65 and over, with a significant associated economic and social burden. Given our aging population there will be an increasing number of people with dementia entering the legal system, creating unique challenges around evidence, capacity, responsibility, just sentencing, and management of offenders.
Dementia may affect capacity to make decisions in various legal domains, including financial management and creation or alteration of a will. Fronto-temporal dementia (behavioural type) causes changes in a person's behaviour and personality, which can result in criminal behaviour. In this workshop, an expert panel will discuss a selection of recent criminal cases from the Australian Neurolaw Database (www.neurolaw.edu.au) where dementia has been a central issue and draw out the legal, ethical and policy issues raised by these cases.
Expert Panellists will include:
All are welcome!
CAVE Website: mq.edu.au/cave/events
Australian Neurolaw Database: www.neurolaw.edu.au
Agency and Moral Cognition Network: http://mq.edu.au/cave/research-clusters/agency-and-moral-cognition-network
Via the folks at Vanderbilt:
The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience is pleased to announce the release of a new product, Law and Neuroscience: What, Why and Where to Begin. This brief, important tool will help inform the legal, policy, and justice advocacy communities about the ways in which law and neuroscience are intersecting, and potential applications for their work.
In addition to providing a wealth of resources and information, the tool offers basic answers to common questions about neurolaw, such as: What new developments have emerged in the past decades that we should be aware of? What are neurolaw’s potential legal applications and limitations? What are the neuroscientific technologies, and how do they work? And, why should I care about this new field and how could it impact me?
You can view and download Law and Neuroscience: What, Why and Where to Begin on the Network website here:http://www.lawneuro.org/neurolawintro.pdf
In conjunction with the release of the Network’s new product, Network Director Owen D. Jones also published an op-ed in the September 12 edition of the National Law Journal titled “Readying the Legal Community for More Neuroscientific Evidence: Understanding complex advances in neurolaw can aid the administration of justice.”
The op-ed outlines the promise – and pitfalls – of the rapidly expanding field of neurolaw, and why it behooves legal practitioners to educate themselves about it. To read the op-ed, please click here and register for free to access.
This fellowship is intended for people who want an academic or policy career working on legal and social issues arising from advances in the biosciences, with a particular emphasis on neuroscience, genetics, or stem cell research. (Ten of our former fellows are now teaching at universities in the United States, Asia, and Europe.)
The Center for Law and the Biosciences Fellowship is a residential fellowship that provides an opportunity to conduct research in the dynamic environment of Stanford Law School. We prefer two-year fellowships to help the fellow complete a significant body of independent scholarship, but we are willing to consider one-year terms. We expect fellows to dedicate most of their time to pursuing their proposed research projects, while dedicating about one-sixth of their time to organizing and implementing other Center activities, including our annual conference, our monthly speaker series, our biweekly journal club, and our other activities, as well as writing for our blog. Fellows are encouraged to become part of a lively law-school-wide community of individuals with an interest in legal academia by attending weekly faculty lunch seminars and participating in activities with the other fellows at Stanford Law School to learn more about their legal scholarship and academic life. For the 2017-2018 fellowship, we will provide fellows with work space, a competitive stipend, and a generous benefits package. Applicants should have a JD or other doctoral level degree (MD, PhD) in a relevant area. A law degree is a substantial advantage, but is not a requirement. (Note – we expect to hire a new fellow for 2017 but that is contingent on funding.)
The Center for Law and the Biosciences, directed by Professor Hank Greely, examines bioscience discoveries in the context of the law, weighing their impact on society and the law’s role in shaping that impact. The Center is part of the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology.
Located at the heart of the world’s biotechnology industry and inside a preeminent research university, the Center brings together academics, lawyers, scientists, policy-makers, and students. Through conferences, workshops, lectures, and academic courses, the Center promotes research and public discourse on the ethical, legal, scientific, economic, and social implications of accelerated technological change in the life sciences. For more information, visit our website at clb.stanford.edu.
The Application Process:
Applicants should submit a CV with contact information for three references, a writing sample, and a research proposal (2000 words or less) to the Stanford Career website: https://stanfordcareers.stanford.edu/job-search?jobId=72455.
Application Deadline: Monday, December 5, 2016 at 5:00 PM Pacific time. We will choose fellows based on demonstrated academic merit and potential, and on the intellectual strength of their research proposals. Decisions will be made on or around Friday, December 16, 2016.
"LIS and BCIs: a Local, Pluralist, and Pragmatist Approach to 4E Cognition" by Ruth Hibbert has been published in the most recent issue of Neuroethics:
Four previous papers in this journal have discussed the role of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) in the lives of Locked-In Syndrome (LIS) patients in terms of the four “E” frameworks for cognition – extended, embedded, embodied, and enactive (also called enacted) cognition. This paper argues that in the light of more recent literature on these 4E frameworks, none of the four papers has taken quite the right approach to deciding which, if any, of the E frameworks is the best one for the job. More specifically, I argue for an approach that is pragmatist rather than purely metaphysical, pluralist rather than monist, and perhaps most importantly, local to particular research programmes, rather than about BCIs in general. The paper will outline this approach, then illustrate it with reference to a particular research programme which tackles the issue of BCI communication for patients in Complete Locked-In Syndrome (CLIS).
"What are Neural Correlates Neural Correlates of?" by Gabriel Abend has recently been published in BioSocieties:
How should neuroscience research about social-psychological phenomena identify its objects of inquiry, so as to develop adequate experimental paradigms and tasks to elicit them, and then look for their neural correlates? How should it go about conceptualizing objects such as morality, empathy, art, love, creativity, or religious belief? If a neuroscientist is after the neural correlates of X, how can she tell X from non-X? This is an important methodological problem, to which neuroscience hasn’t given enough thought. I argue that it actually consists of two distinct questions: first, what counts as object X; and second, how to tell what counts as object X. At neither level can neuroscientists avoid taking sides in philosophical and social science controversies. I further argue that they can therefore benefit from the relevant literatures in philosophy, social science, and the humanities. These literatures can help neuroscience studies better conceptualize and operationalize the social-psychological phenomena they are interested in—and thus better get at them, specify how experimental results might speak to the real social world, and clarify what exactly neural correlates are neural correlates of.
"Deep Brain Stimulation, Historicism, and Moral Responsibility" by Daniel Sharp and David Wasserman has been published in the most recent issue of Neuroethics:
Although philosophers have explored several connections between neuroscience and moral responsibility, the issue of how real-world neurological modifications, such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), impact moral responsibility has received little attention. In this article, we draw on debates about the relevance of history and manipulation to moral responsibility to argue that certain kinds of neurological modification can diminish the responsibility of the agents so modified. We argue for a historicist position - a version of the history-sensitive reflection view - and defend that account against a rival, relational view of responsibility. We conclude that DBS can, under certain conditions, diminish responsibility, and explore the circumstances under which this might be so. We conclude by suggesting that philosophical debates about moral responsibility, manipulation, and history have greater practical relevance than is sometimes thought, and that attention to practical cases can help inform and deepen this body of scholarship.
Are You a Nice Person? Brain Scans Can Tell How Generous You Are, New Scientist
Brain's Chemical Signals Seen in Real Time, Nature Magazine
Mental Alchemy, The Neuroethics Blog
Making Music From Brainwaves: A History, Discover Magazine
Scientists Now Know the Brain Chemistry Behind Pavlov’s Famous Dog Experiment, Quartz
We Must Understand Electroshock Therapy’s Unwanted Side Effects, New Scientist
The Brain's Face Recognition System Is Easy to Fool, Scientific American
How an Algorithm Learned to Identify Depressed Individuals by Studying Their Instagram Photos, MIT Technology Review
The Brain That Goes Through Phases: Temporal Metastates in fMRI, Discover Magazine
Manufacturing Dopamine in the Brain with Gene Therapy, MIT Technology Review
What to Do About Software Errors in fMRI?, Discover Magazine
Non-invasive ultrasonic thalamic stimulation in disorders of consciousness after severe brain injury: a first-in-man report, Brain Stimulation (In Press)
Law, Science, and the Injured Mind, Alabama Law Review
Population-Level Neural Codes Are Robust to Single-Neuron Variability from a Multidimensional Coding Perspective, Cell Reports
Zika Virus Infects Neural Progenitors in the Adult Mouse Brain and Alters Proliferation, Stem Cell
Cellular Resolution Circuit Mapping in Mouse Brain with Temporal-Focused Excitation of Soma-Targeted Channelrhodopsin, eLife
Neuroscience or Neurospeculation? Peer Commentary on Four Articles Examining the Prevalence of Neuroscience in Criminal Cases Around the World, Journal of Law and the Biosciences
"The Movement of Research from the Laboratory to the Living Room: a Case Study of Public Engagement with Cognitive Science" by Tineke Broer, Martyn Pickersgill, and Ian J. Deary has been published in the most recent issue of Neuroethics:
Media reporting of science has consequences for public debates on the ethics of research. Accordingly, it is crucial to understand how the sciences of the brain and the mind are covered in the media, and how coverage is received and negotiated. The authors report here their sociological findings from a case study of media coverage and associated reader comments of an article (‘Does bilingualism influence cognitive aging?’) from Annals of Neurology. The media attention attracted by the article was high for cognitive science; further, as associates/members of the Centre where it was produced, the authors of the research reported here had rare insight into how the scientists responsible for the Annals of Neurology article interacted with the media. The data corpus included 37 news items and 228 readers’ comments, examined via qualitative thematic analysis. Media coverage of the article was largely accurate, without merely copying the press release. Analysis of reader comments showed these to be an important resource for considering issues of import to neuroethics scholars, as well as to scientists themselves (including how science communication shapes and is shaped by ethical, epistemic, and popular discourse). In particular, the findings demonstrate how personal experiences were vital in shaping readers’ accounts of their (dis)agreements with the scientific article. Furthermore, the data show how scientific research can catalyse political discussions in ways likely unanticipated by scientists. The analysis indicates the importance of dialogue between journalists, laboratory scientists and social scientists in order to support the communication of the messages researchers intend.