Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Group 1: What we discussed

We talked mostly about the ethics of prescribing people drugs for memory/cognition enhancement and memory suppression. The memory enhancement argument was relatively unidirectional in that we decided the case was similar to the use of steroids in athletics. Until we better understand the possible negative side effects associated with using such a drug, we cannot determine whether or not it would be fair to use such an enhancement. Say two students are competing for a job by taking an exam, one student uses enhancements and another chooses not to due to the uncertainty pertaining to the side effects. The enhanced student is at an unfair advantage, having not necessarily worked harder, but still was able to acquire and retain more knowledge in the same time the unenhanced student prepared, and as a result of this advantage, received a superior score and got the job. We also discussed memory suppressants for those subject to traumatic experiences that may make normal life difficult to continue. We felt that again, not knowing the side effects of the drug, it was difficult to make a definitive arguement for or against ethical use of the drug. A point was raised that some people may prefer to hold and may "benefit" in the long term from such memories.


  1. Considering that we undoubtedly learn from our experiences, it is not too much to conclude that there must be some physiological response (a change in something perhaps) that takes place when we assimilate experience in to future action. With that in mind, if one were to prescribe medication with the aim of suppressing just one memory then would it not be possible, at least in theory, to disrupt the newly 'learned' lesson that is physiologically brought in to existence. Until we can pinpoint exactly what a memory is then I don't think we will 1.) Be able to suppress any one memory, and 2.) Do so without having unwanted negative adaptive learning outcomes.

  2. I was going to say the same thing. By disrupting the memory we could potentially lose the lesson learned from that incident. We kinda beat this horse during class. I'll just say that it is our collection of experiences, good and bad, that make us who we are. I would not want to have any part of my memory selectively suppressed. I can't be the only one.

  3. I naively said that if someone were to want there memory suppressed in order to not have to deal with a traumatic circumstance then they should be allowed to do so. But if I may retract that I would like to. Simply because I don't truly agree with quick fixes and after giving it some thought I think that would be a quick fix. On top of that everyone is different where would the line be drawn as to how traumatic does an event need to bein order to deem it necessary to be willfully suppressed? I think it leaves too much room for error. Somehow that tied into PED's lol

  4. These are all good points, however I've never had such a traumatic experience that I could not move forward with my life. And honestly I never want to. I could never understand, nor can anyone else, until something similar happens to them. If something so life changing happens that affects someone's ability to continue I life, I don't see anything wrong with allowing them to handle the situation in whatever way they see fit. Once again, as in almost every case, I can see why we are scared to allow this, but I really don't see why you would ever be able to deny someone a way out of a situation they had no control over or deserved.

    "Should we allow this?" -- I shy away from this phase and really don't like it. It's hard for me to comprehend the limitations other humans impose on others because of their beliefs. I THINK it should be a personal choice.

    On the other hand, enhancement drugs are another story. It's like a student who has a cheat sheet or an old chemistry test and I am seeing the test for the first time. Maybe a line Gould be drawn here.