Treatments approved, boosts eschewed: Moral limits of neurotechnological enhancement

Mika Koverola, Anton Johannes Olavi Kunnari, Maria-Anna Drosinou, Jussi Petteri Palomäki, Ivar Hannikainen, Michaela Košová, Robin Kopecký, Jukka Sundvall, Michael Laakasuo

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


In six vignette-based experiments, we assessed people's moral reactions towards various cognition-enhancing brain implants, including their overall approval and perceived fairness, as well as the dehumanization of brain-implanted agents. Across the domains of memory (Studies 1-4, 6), general intelligence (Study 5A), and emotional stability (Study 5B), people in general approved of alleviating ailments, and even of attaining optimal human performance, but expressed greater opposition towards superhuman levels of enhancement. Further analyses of individual differences indicated that the tendency to condemn transhumanist technologies, such as brain implants, was linked to sexual disgust sensitivity and the binding moral foundations - two characteristic correlates of a conservative worldview. In turn, exposure to science fiction was tied to greater approval of brain implants. We also examined potential idiosyncrasies associated with our stimulus materials and did not find reliable effects of any secondary factors on moral attitudes. Taken together, our studies reveal certain moral boundaries to neurotechnological enhancement, strong among those with conservative affective and moral dispositions but relaxed among those familiar with science fiction themes.

TidskriftJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Antal sidor21
StatusPublicerad - 2022
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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