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mattbrowne's avatar

Enhancing the quality of love and creating a smarter world - How do you feel about healthy people swallowing neuroenhancing drugs?

Asked by mattbrowne (31719points) December 30th, 2010

Neuroenhancers are drugs which manipulate the brain’s chemistry to get rid of some of the nastier side effects of human life. They are debated in their effects, how they are obtained and whether they give an unfair advantage. They might be suited to the anxiety of white-collar competition in a floundering economy. When three cups of strong coffee make no difference, maybe some pill might?

“The latest research holds out the promise of drugs to help forget traumatic memories, or even to stay devoted to our sexual partners. Many people—notably some religious leaders, doctors, scientists, politicians and philosophers—have misgivings about much of this. But when they spell out their qualms, their reasoning is often shakier than it first appears. Nonetheless, this is not a debate we can ignore. What scientists are now discovering about memory presents us with an interesting set of dilemmas.

At the heart of the debate there remains unease about tampering with the very things that make humans human. And while we are becoming accustomed to some varieties of enhancement, our capacity to manipulate not just our bodies and our cognitive faculties, but potentially also our core emotions, is taking us into a world of new options.

Then there’s the precautionary principle. This flags a warning: we should be careful with this stuff. Bioengineering can effect change with great power and speed—and set in train irreversible transformations, the consequences of which we cannot predict.

Other objections to enhancement seem just as problematic. It’s said that it will lead to a growing gap between those who can afford it and those who can’t. Pro-enhancers believe that use of such drugs will spread in the same way as mobile phones: initially expensive toy-gadgets for the rich and within a few years dispersed through society and across nations.

Should we use our growing knowledge of the neuroscience of love to enhance the quality of love by biological manipulation?”


So, if you could afford neuroenhancers, would you buy them?

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16 Answers

mammal's avatar

no, because it brings into question the concept of free will, i don’t want to be drugged into complacency and apathy. i want to love when i love and hate when i hate.

Harold's avatar

Is the effect permanent, or does it wear off? What happens if it wears off? Will people feel they have been tricked? I think this would require long and reasoned ethical debate before it were to be made available.

My opinion is that people’s feelings and emotions need to be real, not drug induced. Of course, some may say that this IS real, but why is it any more real than a permanent state of intoxication? Personally, I would avoid it at all costs.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Harold – From what I’ve read for most drugs the effect is not permanent. However, if our memories are affected this could be seen as a permanent effect, e.g. when learning vocabulary and storing it more effectively. I’m not advocating any of this. I feel we need a serious debate, though. When available some people will use it and this could affect others as well. For example when they are passed over for a promotion. Perhaps at some point we do not have a choice. Sounds scary, I know.

Harold's avatar

@mattbrowne – fair enough. Yes, affecting the memory is definitely permanent, I would think.

Cruiser's avatar

Honestly I would for 2 reasons. One would be to erase a few memories I could do without. Second would be the prospect of the enhancement of my brain function. If I could do more with my brain than I already can….that to me would be incredible. Sign me up Doc.

Coloma's avatar


I do not advocate using brain altering drugs except in the most severe cases of mental illness.

I agree with @mammal and @Harold 100%

Tampering with the human brain/mind is dangerous territory.

nikipedia's avatar

I alter my brain with all kinds of chemicals—alcohol and caffeine, primarily. Even the foods I eat influence the neurotransmitter profile floating around in my synapses. And then there’s my favorite drug cocktail, that mix of oxytocin and dopamine you get from snuggling up in bed with someone you can’t get enough of.

So, sure. I don’t see any reason not to take a pill to do these things, as long as they’re safe and fairly distributed.

faye's avatar

We are already taking antidepressants, mood elevators, antipsychotics, antianxiety drugs. These all effect our minds. I’m taking gabapentin for pain and noticed quickly that it makes me stupid and placid.

mattbrowne's avatar

The article even suggests using anti-infidelity nasal spray (which contains the hormone oxytocin).

Suppose a spouse is unhappy about his or her cheating. Here’s how one ad reads:

“Maybe you’re not as close as you used to be. Maybe there’s less passion in your relationship or you feel like there’s been a fall off in intimacy. Openness and trust lay the groundwork for a closer relationship.”

Coloma's avatar


A fidelity drug….now I’ve heard everything!


Yes, and those drugs are over prescribed to your run o’ the mill neurotics.
Prozac nation.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Coloma – And a shopping drug too. You want to close a sale? The nasal spray might be the answer. Maybe car dealers put the stuff in their ventilation system instead.

Coloma's avatar


Funny….new car pheremones, to help you bond with with the car. lol

faye's avatar

Scary! When you think of all the side effects from so called safe drugs now and some that take years to show up. Also that’s manipulation and taking my free will away- not good.

mattbrowne's avatar

@faye – Therefore it’s important to increase awareness. These nasal spray ads are worrisome.

Coloma's avatar

I think a nasal spray that automatically directed appropriate responses between ’ general’, ‘social’ and ‘meta’ would come in handy for me.

But hey…good catch Coloma!
I actually remembered to look at the category of this question before responding! ;-)

ibanx's avatar

More inhuman madness science , LOL, nothing like free will to choose to laugh giggle or make the invisible heart felt / mind felt expressions of lthe love vibrations but under an induced form of maniplation eeewww scary.. wat the….
not human not fun love is and love becomes falling in falling out falling falling…. its great to be human and out of love without a love sick or love good pill… baby i love you do you love…. keep loving it goes n comes enjoy the majestic highs n lows… love without Love ROIDS

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