Towards a Moral Ecology of Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancement in British Universities

Towards a Moral Ecology of Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancement in British Universities Few empirical studies in the UK have examined the complex social patterns and values behind quantitative estimates of the prevalence of pharmacological cognitive enhancement (PCE). We conducted a qualitative investigation of the social dynamics and moral attitudes that shape PCE practices among university students in two major metropolitan areas in the UK. Our thematic analysis of eight focus groups (n = 66) suggests a moral ecology that operates within the social infrastructure of the university. We find that PCE resilience among UK university students is mediated by normative and cultural judgments disfavoring competitiveness and prescription drug taking. PCE risk can be augmented by social factors such as soft peer pressure and normalization of enhancement within social and institutional networks. We suggest that moral ecological dynamics should be viewed as key mechanisms of PCE risk and resilience in universities. Effective PCE governance within universities should therefore attend to developing further understanding of the moral ecologies of PCE. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Neuroethics Springer Journals

Towards a Moral Ecology of Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancement in British Universities

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by The Author(s)
Subject
Philosophy; Ethics; Neurology; Neurobiology; Neurosurgery; Neuropsychology; Neuroradiology
ISSN
1874-5490
eISSN
1874-5504
D.O.I.
10.1007/s12152-017-9336-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Few empirical studies in the UK have examined the complex social patterns and values behind quantitative estimates of the prevalence of pharmacological cognitive enhancement (PCE). We conducted a qualitative investigation of the social dynamics and moral attitudes that shape PCE practices among university students in two major metropolitan areas in the UK. Our thematic analysis of eight focus groups (n = 66) suggests a moral ecology that operates within the social infrastructure of the university. We find that PCE resilience among UK university students is mediated by normative and cultural judgments disfavoring competitiveness and prescription drug taking. PCE risk can be augmented by social factors such as soft peer pressure and normalization of enhancement within social and institutional networks. We suggest that moral ecological dynamics should be viewed as key mechanisms of PCE risk and resilience in universities. Effective PCE governance within universities should therefore attend to developing further understanding of the moral ecologies of PCE.

Journal

NeuroethicsSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 6, 2017

References

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