Cognitive Enhancement Survey 2.0 | Your Views

Cognitive Enhancement Survey 2.0

Welcome to the Survey

This survey is a discussion portal for issues relating to cognitive enhancement. This is where you can post your views and vote on the views of others.

This is also a place to enhance ongoing research. Your participation will enrich our understanding of these issues by informing our discussion on this topic.

We are interested in your views regarding the use of pharmaceuticals to enhance cognitive function and how different cultural values might be related to these views. You will be asked to reflect on several aspects of cognitive enhancement and provide answers to 5 questions, including the reasons for your answers. We will then ask you to vote on the reasons provided by others. Please share your views. You will also be able to see the views of other participants, along with the most popular reasons for agreeing and disagreeing.

After each question in the survey, you will see a list of the reasons provided so far, with the most preferred appearing first. (The percent shown after each reason indicates what per cent of individuals have chosen that reason so far.) We encourage you to choose an existing reason if one is reasonably close to your own thinking, adding a new reason if you need to. Later participants will be able to see your new reason, followed by the pseudonym you choose (see below). Authors' pseudonyms follow their contributions to allow referencing but are not linked to authors' account details or email.

Enhancing cognitive functions

People have long been enhancing their cognitive functions through various means: consuming coffee, sugar, energy drinks, and all sorts of herbal supplements as stimulants to improve mental functions. Some people smoke cigarettes that contain nicotine to achieve similar results. People also try to enhance mental functions through training, education and the use of external devices such as computers, not only to gain skills and information, but also to improve the ability to think critically, to remember things better, and to concentrate.

New and experimental ways of enhancing cognition involve the use of pharmaceutical products, neural implants, or even gene therapy. Aside from the fact that using these new means might involve great risks, we also do not know exactly how the cognitive enhancements we could achieve through them would change society. 

Using pharmaceuticals to enhance cognition

There are pharmaceuticals (e.g. methylphenidate, Modafinil, amphetamine-based medications) that are designed to treat conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a chronic sleep disorder), but these drugs are also being used by healthy individuals to aid concentration, help study, increase alertness, counter jet lag, and enhance mental energy in order to deal with demanding mental tasks. More and more students and working professionals are using these drugs each year but many worry that such growing use poses the danger of harmful addiction and other adverse effects.

In this survey, we invite you to voice your opinion concerning the use of pharmaceuticals for cognitive enhancement.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this project provided by UBC students via the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund