Understanding Memory enhancers and ethical issues regarding their use
Drugs and the Brain
Section: Tu 10-11
Nootropics or memory enhancers as they are called are drugs that are supposed to increase or enhance a person’s ability to learn, memorize or understand patterns. There are several methods of cognitive enhancement For instance; education is a form of memory enhancement. An educated person who has gone through he stages of institutionalized learning is usually smarter or cognitively superior to someone who hasn’t. Ability to learn and perceive is also affected by the setting and can be enhanced by improving the learning conditions-“The spectrum of cognitive enhancements includes not only medical interven- tions, but also psychological interventions (such as learned ‘‘tricks’’ or mental strategies), as well as improvements of external technological and institutional structures that support cognition.” (Bostrom and Sandberg 312). It is like someone who spends numerous hours trying to solve a rubik’s cube or a Sudoku puzzle and is unable to, perhaps mainly due to his/her lack of understanding or awareness of tricks needed to solve those puzzles quickly and efficiently. These fall under the more conventional style of memory enhancers that have been followed for many decades. Nootropics on the other hand are drugs – “methods of enhancing cognition through ‘‘unconventional’’ means, such as ones involving deliberately created nootropic drugs, gene therapy, or neural implants” (Bostrom and Sandberg 312). These deliberately created drugs are however, new and haven’t been tested thoroughly enough except on animals and hence, their exact behavior inside our brains or side effects haven’t been completely evaluated. Moreover, there are various restrictions on the sale of these drugs because of their abuse , as it may provide some individuals with unfair advantage over others. The ethics behind the use of nootropics...
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