States of Consciousness: Neuroethics in impairments of consciousness, brain-machine interfacing and end of life decisions?
Recent brain-imaging studies detected covert awareness in a small proportion of patients in vegetative or minimally conscious state. In rare cases patients were even able to answer yes or no questions. Brain stimulation can lead to behavioral improvements of the minimal conscious. What are the ethical and legal implications of these findings for withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment or food and fluid? How reliable is communication via a brain-computer interface especially when it comes to end of life decisions? This panel will discuss a broad range of clinical challenges as well as ethico-legal implications with four renowned experts in the field.
Format: Brief statements of 5 – 8 minutes followed by discussion among the panel and 60 minutes of Q & A
Moderator: Jens Clausen, University of Tubingen
Lisa Claydon, University of Manchester
Joe Fins, Weill Cornell Medical College
John Pickard, University of Cambridge
Niko Schiff, Weill Cornell Medical College
Can Neuroscience Inform Us about Criminality & the Capacity for Rehabilitation?
This panel will discuss neuroscience and psychological studies that inform 1) how information processing (particularly social information) and decision-making may be mediated differently in individuals at different ages and 2) the capacity for plasticity in the brain across the lifespan, biomarkers of plasticity, and implications for rehabilitation.
Format: 15 minute presentations and 60 minutes of Q & A
Holly Moore, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute
Mauricio Delgado, Rutgers University
J. David Jentsch, University of California – Los Angeles
Catherine Sebastian, Royal Holloway, University of London
Honorable Robert Trentacosta, Presiding Judge, San Diego Superior Court
The Science and Ethics of Moral Enhancement
Can we create a morality pill? Neuroscientists are discovering how hormones and brain chemicals shape aspects of social behavior relevant for morality, including empathy, cooperation, aggression, trust, and altruism. This work opens potential avenues for pharmacological manipulation of ethical values. In this session, speakers will review studies demonstrating how neuromodulators shape moral decisions, evaluate the evidence for and challenges facing the development of moral-enhancing interventions, and discuss the ethical implications of shaping human morality.
Format: 20 minute presentations and 60 minutes of Q & A
Barbara Sahakian, University of Cambridge
Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford
Patricia Churchland, Univ of California-San Diego
Molly Crockett, University of Zurich