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Kyle Harbison Portfolio 3

Kyle Harbison Portfolio 3 - Kyle Harbison CM1090 Portfolio...

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Kyle Harbison CM1090 Portfolio 3 Dehumanizing Implications of Neural Imaging Technology The mechanisms involved in perception, cognition, behavior and emotion have begun to be pieced together through the efforts of recent neural research. Scientists have shown that people fitting into certain categories based on various personality tests have predictable neural responses to specific inputs. Even further, researchers have found correlations between brain activity to emotions such as empathy and pessimism, as well as specific differences between reasoning dealing with moral decisions and those that do not. Personality characteristics, political affiliations, sexual attractions as well as religious transcendence all have been convincingly shown to have linked patterns to specific brain activity. However, the strong correlations that have been asserted are often criticized by statisticians as being unbelievable. Also, many argue that these findings are unreliable because there are many factors other than neural activity that shape how a person “turns out.” The article “Brain Scans Raise Privacy Concerns” written by Steve Olson in the March, 2005 issue of Science, as well as “Of Voodoo and the Brain” by Sharon Begley written for Newsweek delve deeper into the whole concept of this technology. From these articles I have found many ethical issues that arise out of the possible extensions of current neural imaging studies. While some are quite obvious and come with this specific territory such as informed consent, others receive less consideration. The ethical issues I believe to be the most important are as follows: Is it ok to categorize (predictive) one’s mental, emotional and social capacity through neural imaging testing based on morphological or subjective feedback? Is it ok to allow the public access to knowledge about diseases they could possibly inherit in the future due to late onset gene expression discovered by means of neural imaging? Is it ok for employers to require neural imaging testing before hiring a potential employee, or to use on a recurring basis? Is it ok for physicians to inform the patient of incidental findings discovered during neural imaging? Is it ok for physicians to actively search, as in no longer “incidental,” for things other than what the test was being performed for in the first place? Is it ok to develop and use neural imaging technology if the same information can be revealed through other means? Is it ok to use neural imaging as a substantial form of legal evidence if the process is established on the reviewer’s presumed objectivity, and based on non-unique neural signals? Although each ethical issue I have brought forth maintains their own relevant bearings towards many aspects of society as studies into this field further develop, the first ethical issue I presented is the one I believe to be the most critical. I believe that the issue surrounding the categorization of the public through what has
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