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Neuroimaging refers to a variety of noninvasive methods and technologies for brain scanning – such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) – that allow us to observe the operations of the human central nervous system. When used to study severe neurological disorders, these techniques have enormous potential to identify biological markers that indicate the first stages of an illness, when treatment may be most effective. Neuroimaging has become a powerful tool for research, as well as for medical diagnosis and even therapy. For example, in 2008 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a treatment for depression via Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.


Selected ethical issues:

  • Invasion of the individual’s privacy, autonomy, and freedom of thought / cognitive liberty.
  • Exploitation of neuroimaging technologies to identify when an individual is not telling the truth.
  • sing neuroimaging technologies to make assumptions regarding the mental fitness, criminal liability, or guilt of individuals suspected of crimes.
  • Use of neuroimaging technologies by employers or marketers.