Description: This is an outstanding new book covering the ethical, philosophical, political, and legal implications and ramifications of emerging brain imaging technologies. Brain imaging technologies are beginning to allow us (at this point in a very basic way) to monitor and predict with a fairly high degree of accuracy what an individual is perceiving, thinking about, and remembering. This potentiality has understandably given rise to concerns about privacy issues concerning even our own thoughts and feelings! Written and edited by internationally recognized authors/researchers in the fields of neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, bioethics (neuroethics), and the law, this exceptional book is a welcome addition to the field.
Purpose: The purpose, according to the editors, is to describe the "connection between neuroscientific developments in penetrating the human mind and the privacy of individuals." Indeed, the editors and chapter authors have produced a very informative and fascinating new book.
Audience: The targeted audience, as noted by the editors, is psychologists, sociologists, neuroscientists, bioethicists, philosophers, and lawyers. Psychiatrists and neurologists would also benefit from reading this book.
Features: Part I (including the introductory chapter) focuses on more fundamental issues such as the social brain hypothesis, the applications of brain imaging technology to "mindreading," and predicting human behavior from brain structure. The medical applications of mindreading through brain imaging is reviewed in the second section with interesting chapters on neuroimaging of nonresponsive patients, evaluating pain experiences in noncommunicative patients, and the possibilities and limitations of using brain imaging technologies in psychiatry. Part III contains very eye-opening chapters on the neurobiology of violence and its legal implications, diminished capacity and punishment in light of developments in neuroimaging and neuroscience, and national security concerns potentially overriding privacy rights through neuroimaging technologies. The final section centers on the ethical and philosophical implications of this emerging technology, specifically focusing on issues of consent, privacy, and dignity. This is a scholarly book with each chapter ending with timely and relevant citations of the scientific literature.
Assessment: This is an exceptional and enlightening new book on the ethical, philosophical, legal, and medical implications of emerging neurological "mindreading" technologies. It is a great read and I highly recommend it.