Neuroethics refers to two related fields of study: What the philosopher Adina Roskies has called the ethics of neuroscience and the neuroscience of ethics. The ethics of neuroscience comprises the bulk of work in neuroethics. It concerns the ethical, legal and social impact of neuroscience, including the ways in which neurotechnology can be used to predict or alter human behavior and "the implications of our mechanistic understanding of brain function for society... integrating neuroscientific knowledge with ethical and social thought".
Some neuroethics problems are not fundamentally different from those encountered in bioethics. Others are unique to neuroethics because the brain, as the organ of the mind, has implications for broader philosophical problems, such as the nature of free will, moral responsibility, self-deception, and personal identity. Examples of neuroethics topics are given later in this article ("Key issues in neuroethics").
The origin of the term "neuroethics" has occupied some writers. Rees and Rose (as cited in "References" on page 9) claim neuroethics is a neologism that emerged only at the beginning of the 21st century, largely through the oral and written communications of ethicists and philosophers. According to Racine (2010), the term was coined by the Harvard physician Anneliese A. Pontius in 1973 in a paper entitled "Neuro-ethics of 'walking' in the newborn" for the Perceptual and Motor Skills. The author reproposed the term in 1993 in her paper for Psychological Report, often wrongly mentioned as the first title containing the word "neuroethics". Before 1993, the American neurologist Ronald Cranford has used the term (see Cranford 1989). Illes (2003) records uses, from the scientific literature, from 1989 and 1991. Writer William Safire is widely credited with giving the word its current meaning in 2002, defining it as "the examination of what is right and wrong, good and bad about the treatment of, perfection of, or unwelcome invasion of and worrisome manipulation of the human brain."
Two categories of problems 
Neuroethics encompasses the myriad ways in which developments in basic and clinical neuroscience intersect with social and ethical issues. The field is so young that any attempt to define its scope and limits now will undoubtedly be proved wrong in the future, as neuroscience develops and its implications continue to be revealed. At present, however, we can discern two general categories of neuroethical issue: those emerging from what we can do and those emerging from what we know.
In the first category are the ethical problems raised by advances in functional neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, brain implants and brain-machine interfaces. In the second category are the ethical problems raised by our growing understanding of the neural bases of behavior, personality, consciousness, and states of spiritual transcendence.
Important activity from 2002 to 2009: The History of Neuroethics 
There is no doubt that people were thinking and writing about the ethical implications of neuroscience for many years before the field adopted the label “neuroethics,” and some of this work remains of great relevance and value. However, the early 21st century saw a tremendous upsurge in interest in the ethics of neuroscience, as evidenced by numerous meetings, publications and organizations dedicated to this topic.
In 2002 there were several meetings that drew together neuroscientists and ethicists to discuss neuroethics: the American Association for the Advancement of Science with the journal Neuron, the University of Pennsylvania, the Royal Society of London, Stanford University, and the Dana Foundation. This last meeting was the largest, and resulted in a book, Neuroethics: Mapping the Field, edited by Steven J. Marcus and published by Dana Press. That same year, the Economist ran a cover story entitled “Open Your Mind: The Ethics of Brain Science,“ Nature published the article "Emerging ethical issues in neuroscience", and articles on neuroethics began to appear in journals including Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, and Brain and Cognition.
Thereafter, the number of neuroethics meetings, symposia and publications continued to grow. The 38,000 plus members of the Society for Neuroscience recognized the importance of neuroethics by inaugurating an annual “special lecture” on the topic, first given by Donald Kennedy, editor-in-chief of Science Magazine. Several overlapping networks of scientists and scholars began to coalesce around neuroethics-related projects and themes. For example, the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities established a Neuroethics Affinity Group, students at the London School of Economics established the Neuroscience and Society Network linking scholars from several different institutions, and a group of scientists and funders from around the world began discussing ways to support international collaboration in neuroethics through what came to be called the International Neuroethics Network. Stanford began publishing the monthly Stanford Neuroethics Newsletter, Penn developed the informational website, neuroethics.upenn.edu, and the Neuroethics and Law Blog was launched.
Several relevant books were published during this time as well: Sandra Ackerman’s Hard Science, Hard Choices: Facts, Ethics and Policies Guiding Brain Science Today (Dana Press), Michael Gazzaniga’s The Ethical Brain (Dana Press), Judy Illes’ edited volume, Neuroethics: Defining the Issues in Theory, Practice and Policy (both Oxford University Press), Dai Rees and Steven Rose’s edited volume “The New Brain Sciences: Perils and Prospects (Cambridge University Press) and Steven Rose’s The Future of the Brain (Oxford University Press).
2006 marked the founding of the International Neuroethics Society (originally the Neuroethics Society), an international group of scholars, scientists, clinicians, and other professionals who share an interest in the social, legal, ethical and policy implications of advances in neuroscience. The mission of the International Neuroethics Society "is to promote the development and responsible application of neuroscience through interdisciplinary and international research, education, outreach and public engagement for the benefit of people of all nations, ethnicities, and cultures." Steven Hyman agreed to be the first President of the Neuroethics Society.
Over the next several years a number of academic institutions created centers for neuroethics: the National Core for Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada; the Center for Neurotechnology Studies of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Virginia; the Wellcome Centre for Neuroethics at the University of Oxford; and the Center for Neuroscience & Society at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sources of information on neuroethics 
The books, articles and websites mentioned above are by no means a complete list of good neuroethics information sources. For example, readings and websites that focus on specific aspects of neuroethics, such as brain imaging or enhancement, are not included. Nor are more recent sources, such as Walter Glannon’s book Bioethics and the Brain (Oxford University Press) and his reader, entitled Defining Right and Wrong in Brain Science (Dana Press). We should also here mention a book that was in many ways ahead of its time, Robert Blank’s Brain Policy (published in 1999 by Georgetown University Press). The scholarly literature on neuroethics has grown so quickly that one cannot easily list all of the worthwhile articles, and several journals are now soliciting neuroethics submissions for publication, including the American Journal of Bioethics – Neuroscience, Biosocities, the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, and Neuroethics. The web now has many sites, blogs and portals offering information about neuroethics. A list can be found at the end of this entry.
Key issues in neuroethics 
Neuroethics encompasses a wide range of issues, which can only be sampled here. Some have close ties to traditional biomedical ethics, in that different versions of these issues can arise in connection with organ systems other than the brain. For example, how should incidental findings be handled when a presumed healthy research subject is scanned for neuroscience research and the scan reveals an abnormality? How safe are the drugs used to enhance normal brain function? These are neuroethical issues with clear precedents in traditional bioethics. They are important issues, and luckily we can call upon society’s experience with the relevant precedents to help determine the best courses of action in the present cases. In contrast, many neuroethical issues are at least partly novel, and this accounts for some of the intellectual fascination of neuroethics. These relatively newer issues force us to think about the relation between mind and brain and its ethical implications.
Brain interventions 
The ethics of neurocognitive enhancement, that is the use of drugs and other brain interventions to make normal people “better than well,” is an example of a neuroethical issue with both familiar and novel aspects. On the one hand, we can be informed by previous bioethical work on physical enhancements such as doping for strength in sports and the use of human growth hormone for normal boys of short stature. On the other hand, there are also some arguably novel ethical issues that arise in connection with brain enhancement, because these enhancements affect how people think and feel, thus raising the relatively new issues of “cognitive liberty.” The growing role of psychopharmacology in everyday life raises a number of ethical issues, for example the influence of drug marketing on our conceptions of mental health and normalcy, and the increasingly malleable sense of personal identity that results from what Peter Kramer called “cosmetic psychopharmacology.”
Nonpharmacologic methods of altering brain function are currently enjoying a period of rapid development, with a resurgence of psychosurgery for the treatment of medication refractory mental illnesses and promising new therapies for neurological and psychiatric illnesses based on deep brain stimulation as well as relatively noninvasive transcranial stimulation methods. Research on brain-machine interfaces is primarily in a preclinical phase but promises to enable thought-based control of computers and robots by paralyzed patients. As the tragic history of frontal lobotomy reminds us, permanent alteration of the brain cannot be undertaken lightly. Although nonpharmacologic brain interventions are exclusively aimed at therapeutic goals, the US military sponsors research in this general area that is presumably aimed at enhancing the capabilities of soldiers.
Brain imaging 
In addition to the important issues of safety and incidental findings, mentioned above, some arise from the unprecedented and rapidly developing ability to correlate brain activation with psychological states and traits. One of the most widely discussed new applications of imaging is based on correlations between brain activity and intentional deception. A number of different research groups have identified fMRI correlates of intentional deception in laboratory tasks, and despite the skepticism of many experts, the technique has already been commercialized. A more feasible application of brain imaging is “neuromarketing,” whereby people’s conscious or unconscious desire for certain products can purportedly be measured.
Researchers are also finding brain imaging correlates of myriad psychological traits, including personality, intelligence, mental health vulnerabilities, attitudes toward particular ethnic groups, and predilection for violent crime. Unconscious racial attitudes may be manifest in brain activation. These capabilities of brain imaging, actual and potential, raise a number of ethical issues. The most obvious concern involves privacy. For example, employers, marketers, and the government all have a strong interest in knowing the abilities, personality, truthfulness and other mental contents of certain people. This raises the question of whether, when, and how to ensure the privacy of our own minds.
Another ethical problem is that brain scans are often viewed as more accurate and objective than in fact they are. Many layers of signal processing, statistical analysis and interpretation separate imaged brain activity from the psychological traits and states inferred from it. There is a danger that the public (including judges and juries, employers, insurers, etc.) will ignore these complexities and treat brain images as a kind of indisputable truth.
A related misconception is called neuro-realism: In its simplest form, this line of thought says that something is real because it can be measured with electronic equipment. A person who claims to have pain, or low libido, or unpleasant emotions is "really" sick if these symptoms are supported by a brain scan, and healthy or normal if correlates cannot be found in a brain scan.
Pharmacological enhancement 
Cosmetic neuro-pharmacology, the use of drugs to improve cognition in normal healthy individuals, is highly controversial. Some case reports with the antidepressant Prozac indicated that patients seemed "better than well," and authors hypothesized that this effect might be observed in individuals not afflicted with psychiatric disorders. Following these case reports much controversy arose over the veracity and ethics of the cosmetic use of these antidepressants. Opponents of cosmetic pharmacology believe that such drug usage is unethical and that the concept of cosmetic pharmacology is a manifestation of naive consumerism. Proponents, such as philosopher Arthur Caplan, state that it is an individual's (rather than government's, or physician's) right to determine whether to use a drug for cosmetic purposes. Anjan Chatterjee, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has argued that western medicine stands on the brink of a neuro-enhancement revolution in which people will be able to improve their memory and attention through pharmacological means. Jacob Appel, a Brown University bioethicist, has raised concerns about the possibility of employers mandating such enhancement for their workers.
Neuroscience and free will 
Neuroethics also encompasses the ethical issues raised by neuroscience as it affects our understanding of the world and of ourselves in the world. For example, if everything we do is physically caused by our brains, which are in turn a product of our genes and our life experiences, how can we be held responsible for our actions? The question of whether and how personal responsibility is compatible with neuroscience is a central one for neuroethics.
Academic journals 
Main Editor: Neil Levy, CAPPE, Melbourne; University of Oxford
Neuroethics is an international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to academic articles on the ethical, legal, political, social and philosophical issues provoked by research in the contemporary sciences of the mind, especially, but not only, neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology. The journal publishes high-quality reflections on questions raised by the sciences of the mind, and on the ways in which the sciences of the mind illuminate longstanding debates in ethics.
Main Editor: Paul Root Wolpe, Emory University AJOB Neuroscience is devoted to covering critical topics in the emerging field of neuroethics. The journal is a new avenue in bioethics and strives to present a forum in which to: foster international discourse on topics in neuroethics, provide a platform for debating current issues in neuroethics, and enable the incubation of new emerging priorities in neuroethics.
See also 
- Roskies, A. Neuroethics for the New Millenium. Neuron 2002; 35:21-23.
- Farah Martha J., Neuroethics: An Introduction with Readings, 2010
- Safire, W. Visions for a New Field of "Neuroethics" Neuroethics Mapping the Field Conference Proceedings. May 13–14, 2002. San Francisco, California
- Gordijn Bert; Giordano James J. (2010). Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives in Neuroethics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 256–262. ISBN 0-521-70303-4.
- Goldacre, Ben (30 October 2010). "Lost your libido? Let's try a little neuro-realism, madam: A study of women's libido raises questions about why brain imaging is used to make mental states 'real' for the public". The Guardian.
- Caplan, Arthur. Is Better Best? A Noted Ethicist Argues in Favor of Brain Enhancement. Scientific American. September, 2003. Pages 04-05
- J M Appel When the boss turns pusher: a proposal for employee protections in the age of cosmetic neurology J Med Ethics 2008; 34: 616-618
- Jason Kirby. Going to Work on Smart Drugs. Maclean's. October 1, 2008. http://www.macleans.ca/science/health/article.jsp?content=20081001_98115_98115&page=1
- Gazzaniga, M. S. (2005). The Ethical Brain. The Dana Press.
- Illes, J. (2003, October 24). Neuroethics in a new era of neuroimaging. In American journal of neuroradiology, 24, 1739 – 1741.
- Rees, D. & Rose, S. (2004). New brain sciences: perils and prospects. Cambridge University Press.
- Glannon, W. (2006).Bioethics and the Brain. Oxford University Press USA
- Racine, E., Bar-Ilan O, Illes J. (2005). fMRI in the public eye. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 6(2):159-64
- Farah Martha J. (2002). Emerging ethical issues in neuroscience, Nature Neuroscience, 2002 Vol. 5, No. 11, p. 1123 – 129.
- Farah Martha J.(2005) Neuroethics: the practical and the philosophical. Trends in Cognitive Sciences January 2005, Vol. 9, No.1, s. 34-40.
- Illes Judy (2002). Brain and Cognition: Ethical Challenges in Advanced Neuroimaging, Brain and Cognition 2002, 50(3), p. 341-344.
- Riis P., Neuroethics, European Journal of Neurology 2003, Vol. 10, p. 218-223.
- The Economist Magazine (2002) Open Your Mind: The Ethics of Brain Science 
- Racine E. (2010). Pragmatic Neuroethics. MIT Press, Cambridge MA.
- Pontius A. A. (1973). Neuro-ethics of 'walking' in the newborn. Percept Mot Skills 37: 235–245.
- Pontius A. A. (1993). Neuroethics vs neurophysiologically and neuropsychologically uninformed influences in child-rearing, education, emerging hunter-gatherers, and artificial intelligence models of the brain. Psychol Rep 72: 451–458.
- Cranford RE (1989). The neurologist as ethics consultant and as a member of the institutional ethics committee. Neurol Clin 7: 697–713.
- "NeuroPolitics", an entry on NeuroWiki
- Neuroethics Academic journal, editor: Neil Levy. Currently open access.
- Public access journal articles on neuroethics from University of Pennsylvania
- The Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania
- Neuroscience, Identity and Society Seminar Series UK Further links, research papers and news can be found on the background pages.
- Neuroethics & Law Blog
- BrainEthics Blog
- [http://neurobioethics.wordpress.com/ NeuroBioEthics Blog
- Center for Neuroscience & Society, University of Pennsylvania
- Capital Consortium for Neuroscience: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues
- Neuroscience: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues - Third Annual Conference
- [http://www.ircm.qc.ca/neuroethics/en Neuroethics Research Unit] Website of the Neuroethics Research Unit with further links and relevant publications
- [http://www.neuroethik.ifzn.uni-mainz.de/index.php?id=2&L=1 neuroethics.uni-mainz.de] Portal for neuroethics with a constantly updated bibliography
- [http://www.neuroethics.ubc.ca/publications.html National Core for Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia publications page]
- [http://www.bioethics.net/journal/ The American Journal of Bioethics]
- The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities] * [http://www.cogneurosociety.org/ Cognitive Neuroscience Society
- Neuroethics Society
- Bioethics Resources from the NIH
- Virtual Mentor Ethics Journal of the American Medical Association Theme Issue: Ethical Issues in Neuroscience
- Neuroscience for Kids: Neuroethics
- The President's Council on Bioethics
- Johns Hopkins Neuroethics
- The Neuroethics Blog
- Wellcome Centre for Neuroethics, University of Oxford
- Neuroethics Imaging Group, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
- Neuroethics Research Unit
- National Core for Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia
- Johns Hopkins PEBS Program
- Emory University Neuroethics Program