Biological Cognitive Enhancement

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Biological Cognitive Enhancement refers to a method of improving intelligence through the use of drugs such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) or dextroamphetamine (Adderall). These drugs are currently only available on prescription for the treatment of conditions such as ADHD or depression. However, there have been increasing reports of students obtaining drugs through other means. According to Elizabeth Smith and Martha Farah the exact effects of these stimulants on healthy individuals are yet to be known, but there does appear to be an improvement in the consolidation of memories and with the focus of concentration.

Aside from the possibility of side-effects, some observers such as Nick Bostrom feel there are also ethical issues that need to be addressed. He argues that these drugs may become a “must have” commodity in order to compete within an academic or work environment. What impact would such drugs have on an individuals personality? You may become a more effective office worker, but lose some charming character trait.

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