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Wednesday, June 28, 2017- The Neuroethical Implications of Human Brain Mapping

Neuroimaging promises to radically improve our ability to identify those at increased risk of developing mental illnesses or other neurological disorders and develop novel interventions that target the mechanisms that underpin them. Neuroimaging also offers the potential of predicting individuals’ future behaviour, such as the likelihood of criminal reoffending after release form prison or the likelihood of relapse to addictive drug use. These applications raise important ethical challenges regarding privacy, the rights of the individual versus the public good, and the use of this information by third parties (e.g. employers, educators, insurers and the courts) to discriminate against “high risk” individuals. The question of who should have access to this information and how it is used is of great public concern. Failure to adequately address these challenges can prompt restrictive regulatory responses that impede research and its translation.