A Case for Memory Enhancement: Ethical, Social, Legal, and Policy Implications for Enhancing the Memory
Author(s)Muriithi, Paul Mutuanyingi
duty to remember
appeal to empathy
poly unsaturated fatty acids
misidentification of witnesses
transcrannial direct current stimulation
deep brain stimulation
malleability of memory
obstruction of justice
non-pharmacological memory enhancement
Mental Capacity Act
transcrannial magnetic stimulation
virtual social networking
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AbstractThe desire to enhance and make ourselves better is not a new one and it has continued to intrigue throughout the ages. Individuals have continued to seek ways to improve and enhance their well-being for example through nutrition, physical exercise, education and so on. Crucial to this improvement of their well-being is improving their ability to remember. Hence, people interested in improving their well-being, are often interested in memory as well. The rationale being that memory is crucial to our well-being. The desire to improve one’s memory then is almost certainly as old as the desire to improve one’s well-being. Traditionally, people have used different means in an attempt to enhance their memories: for example in learning through storytelling, studying, and apprenticeship. In remembering through practices like mnemonics, repetition, singing, and drumming. In retaining, storing and consolidating memories through nutrition and stimulants like coffee to help keep awake; and by external aids like notepads and computers. In forgetting through rituals and rites.Recent scientific advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, molecular biology, neuroscience, and information technologies, present a wide variety of technologies to enhance many different aspects of human functioning. Thus, some commentators have identified human enhancement as central and one of the most fascinating subject in bioethics in the last two decades. Within, this period, most of the commentators have addressed the Ethical, Social, Legal and Policy (ESLP) issues in human enhancements as a whole as opposed to specific enhancements. However, this is problematic and recently various commentators have found this to be deficient and called for a contextualized case-by-case analysis to human enhancements for example genetic enhancement, moral enhancement, and in my case memory enhancement (ME). The rationale being that the reasons for accepting/rejecting a particular enhancement vary depending on the enhancement itself. Given this enormous variation, moral and legal generalizations about all enhancement processes and technologies are unwise and they should instead be evaluated individually.Taking this as a point of departure, this research will focus specifically on making a case for ME and in doing so assessing the ESLP implications arising from ME. My analysis will draw on the already existing literature for and against enhancement, especially in part two of this thesis; but it will be novel in providing a much more in-depth analysis of ME. From this perspective, I will contribute to the ME debate through two reviews that address the question how we enhance the memory, and through four original papers discussed in part three of this thesis, where I examine and evaluate critically specific ESLP issues that arise with the use of ME. In the conclusion, I will amalgamate all my contribution to the ME debate and suggest the future direction for the ME debate.
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Anodal-tDCS over the human right occipital cortex enhances the perception and memory of both faces and objectsBarbieri, Marica; Negrini, Marcello; Nitsche, Michael A.; Rivolta, Davide (2016)Accurate face processing skills are pivotal for typical social cognition, and impairments in this ability characterise various clinical conditions (e.g., prosopagnosia). No study to date has investigated whether transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can causally enhance face processing. In addition, the category- and the process-specificity of tDCS effects, as well as the role of the timing of neuromodulation with respect to the execution of cognitive tasks are still unknown. In this single-blind, sham-controlled study, we examined whether the administration of anodal-tDCS (a-tDCS) over the right occipital cortex of healthy volunteers (N=64) enhances performance on perceptual and memory tasks involving both face and object stimuli. Neuromodulation was delivered in two conditions: online (a-tDCS during task execution) and offline (a-tDCS before task execution). The results demonstrate that offline a-tDCS enhances the perception and memory performance of both faces and objects. There was no effect of online a-tDCS on behaviour. Furthermore, the offline effect was site-specific since a-tDCS over the sensory-motor cortex did not lead to behavioural changes. Our results add relevant information about the breadth of cognitive processes and visual stimuli that can be modulated by tDCS, and about the design of effective neuromodulation protocols, which have implications for advancing theories in cognitive neuroscience and clinical applications.
Failure of Working Memory Training to Enhance Cognition or IntelligenceThompson, Todd W.; Waskom, Michael L.; Garel, Keri-Lee Alyson; Cardenas-Iniguez, Carlos; Reynolds, Gretchen O.; Winter, Rebecca; Chang, Patricia; Pollard, Kiersten; Lala, Nupur; Alvarez, George Angelo; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2014-02-26)Fluid intelligence is important for successful functioning in the modern world, but much evidence suggests that fluid intelligence is largely immutable after childhood. Recently, however, researchers have reported gains in fluid intelligence after multiple sessions of adaptive working memory training in adults. The current study attempted to replicate and expand those results by administering a broad assessment of cognitive abilities and personality traits to young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive dual n-back working memory training program and comparing their post-training performance on those tests to a matched set of young adults who underwent 20 sessions of an adaptive attentional tracking program. Pre- and post-training measurements of fluid intelligence, standardized intelligence tests, speed of processing, reading skills, and other tests of working memory were assessed. Both training groups exhibited substantial and specific improvements on the trained tasks that persisted for at least 6 months post-training, but no transfer of improvement was observed to any of the non-trained measurements when compared to a third untrained group serving as a passive control. These findings fail to support the idea that adaptive working memory training in healthy young adults enhances working memory capacity in non-trained tasks, fluid intelligence, or other measures of cognitive abilities.
Acute administration of roflumilast enhances immediate recall of verbal word memory in healthy young adultsVan Duinen, M A; Sambeth, A; Heckman, P R A; Smit, S; Tsai, M; Lahu, G; Uz, T; Blokland, A; Prickaerts, J (2018-03-15)