Towards a Moral Ecology of Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancement in British Universities

Vagwala, Meghana K. and Bicquelet, Aude and Didziokaite, Gabija and Coomber, Ross and Corrigan, Oonagh and Singh, Ilina (2017) Towards a Moral Ecology of Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancement in British Universities. Neuroethics, 10 (3). pp. 389-403. ISSN 1874-5504

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Few empirical studies in the UK have exam-ined the complex social patterns and values behindquantitative estimates of the prevalence of pharmaco-logical cognitive enhancement (PCE). We conducted aqualitative investigation of the social dynamics andmoral attitudes that shape PCE practices among univer-sity 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 socialinfrastructure of the university. We find that PCE resilience among UK university students is mediatedby normative and cultural judgments disfavoring com-petitiveness and prescription drug taking. PCE risk canbe augmented by social factors such as soft peer pres-sure and normalization of enhancement within socialand institutional networks. We suggest that moral eco-logical dynamics should be viewed as key mechanismsof PCE risk and resilience in universities. Effective PCEgovernance within universities should therefore attendto developing further understanding of the moral ecolo-gies of PCE

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: ritalin, adderall, modafinil, cognitive enhancement, ethics, smart drugs
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Ian Walker
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 16:38
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:58

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