Ethical challenges raised

Rapid advances in neuroscience are transforming our understanding of human cognition and behaviour. The secrets of our brains are being unlocked and many of these discoveries present ethical challenges for society.

Sophisticated imaging methods, brain-based technologies and drug development are provoking questions around cognitive enhancement, criminal behaviour and human rights. Neurobiological profiling could lead to unintended consequences, and how interventions to ameliorate cognitive decline and diminished brain health are being examined.

Far-reaching consequences

Our Neuroethics Program explores the social, ethical, legal and policy implications raised through our growing knowledge of the brain.

We bring together leading Australian practitioners in neuroscience, law, ethics, policymaking, clinical practice, patient populations, the public and other end-users to discuss the challenges presented by brain research discoveries. By doing so, we hope to translate our brain research into effective and ethical interventions, treatments and policies.

Strengthening neuroethics in Australia

The Australian Neuroethics Network examines the ethical and social implications of brain research.

We host interdisciplinary workshops and events that produce outcomes such as recommendations, guidelines and policy briefs for government, regulators and business.

Through conference presentations, the media and online communications, we are improving awareness of neuroethical issues associated with recent advances in brain research.

Neuroethics Program Coordinator – Dr Adrian Carter

adrianDr Adrian Carter is a neuroscientist and ethicist conducting interdisciplinary research on the impact of neuroscience on our understanding and treatment of addictive behaviours.

Besides directing the Centre’s Neuroethics Program, Adrian leads the Neuroethics and Public Policy group at the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences. This group examines the implications of neuroscience research on free will, identity, and moral responsibility; drug use and self-efficacy (people’s belief in their ability to control their drug use and their motivation to enter treatment); stigma and discrimination; coercion; and the use of emerging technologies, such as brain stimulation and brain imaging, to treat addiction.

Dr Carter has been an advisor to the World Health Organization, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the Australian Ministerial Council on Drugs Strategy and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and is a member of the International Neuroethics Society’s Response Action Task Force.

He is an ARC DECRA Fellow, and deputy chair of executive committee of the Australian Academy of Science Early and Mid Career Researcher Forum.

Adrian’s book Addiction Neuroethics: The Promises and Perils of Neuroscience Research on Addiction is available in paper or hardback from Cambridge University Press, and for Amazon kindle.

He also co-ordinates the Australian Neuroethics Network, which can be contacted on Twitter: @NeuroethicsAU