Original Paper

Neuroethics

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 197-205

Australian University Students’ Attitudes Towards the Acceptability and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals to Improve Academic Performance

  • Stephanie BellAffiliated withUQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland
  • , Brad PartridgeAffiliated withUQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland Email author 
  • , Jayne LuckeAffiliated withUQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland
  • , Wayne HallAffiliated withUQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland

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Abstract

There is currently little empirical information about attitudes towards cognitive enhancement - the use of pharmaceutical drugs to enhance normal brain functioning. It is claimed this behaviour most commonly occurs in students to aid studying. We undertook a qualitative assessment of attitudes towards cognitive enhancement by conducting 19 semi-structured interviews with Australian university students. Most students considered cognitive enhancement to be unacceptable, in part because they believed it to be unethical but there was a lack of consensus on whether it was similar or different to steroid use in sport. There was support for awareness campaigns and monitoring of cognitive enhancement use of pharmaceutical drugs. An understanding of student attitudes towards cognitive enhancement is important in formulating future policy.

Keywords

Cognitive enhancement Neuroenhancement Attitudes Qualitative research Stimulants