Ethics, public education at SfN

Donald Kennedy worries about privacy in lecture at annual Society for Neuroscience meeting

Alla Katsnelson(alla_k@ureach.com)
Nov 12, 2003

NEW ORLEANS—At the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience from November 8 to 12, more than 28,000 registrants viewed more than 15,000 presentations on everything from ion channel physiology and neural stem cells to circadian rhythms and human cognition and behavior. But also on the agenda were discussions of burgeoning policy concerns in neuroscience.

Donald Kennedy, editor in chief of Science, told an audience on Monday (November 10) that the explosion in imaging technologies was raising important ethical issues. Because people equate their brains and consciousnesses with the essence of their humanity, the study of everything from “predictive moral choice profile” to a “capacity for certain intentions” may be better left opaque.

Because it's not known how such information might one day be used, Kennedy said, the issues in neuroethics boil down to a threat on privacy: there may be “things we'd rather others not know about...

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