Brain and cognitive enhancement as a threat to 'neuro-diversity'?

22Feb2018 15:00 - 17:00


Debating the upcoming challenges to our imagination and our society with prof.dr. Barbara Sahakian (Cambridge U.)

Brain and cognitive enhancement, to which interventions with psychopharmacology or electrostimulation belong, are forms of human enhancement which aim to change or modify human behavioral or cognitive capabilities in such a way that their limitations are avoided. In contrast to therapy, enhancement might bring those capabilities beyond what is considered the normal range. Such enhancement poses various challenges, some of which are more of a technical or scientific nature, with others pertaining to culture and art, whereas still others imply societal and moral issues. Novel targets and strategies for enhancement are suggested in art and science fiction, for example, helping citizens and academics alike to explore the implications that such novel forms of enhancement can have upon our identity, intersubjectivity, society and the neurodiversity it accepts. Barbara Sahakian is at the forefront of both neuroscientific research into several forms of neuro-enhancement as well as the neuro-ethical discussion of its implications.

Sahakian is visiting the UvA for an evening lecture in the UvA Challenging Society series and is guest of our Neurocultures & Neuroaesthetics research group in association with the SMART network. The lecture will take place on Thursday February 22, 15.00-17.00 hrs in the Belle van Zuylenzaal at the Universiteitsbibliotheek van Amsterdam (Singel 425). By bringing together an uncommonly broad group, not just scholars from various disciplines with an interest in cognitive neuroscience and its implications but also artists, we aim to discuss neuro-enhancement and its various implications. This seminar is open to all but registration is required due to a limited number of available seats. If you would like to participate, please send an email to the Neuroaesthetics & Neurocultures coordinator Nim Goede <>

Barbara Sahakian is Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge. She has an international reputation in the fields of cognitive psychopharmacology, neuro-ethics, neuro-enhancement, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry and neuroimaging. Apart from numerous articles, she co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics (2013) and co-authored Sex, Lies, & Brain Scans (2017 Oxford UP). See also:  


Belle van Zuylenzaal

Published by  ASCA