The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


Zapping the brain


For those of you in New York City this weekend, be sure to check out the World Science Festival.

On Wednesday night, I appeared in the program "Spark of Genius" that focused on transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). This new technology, which enables one to increase baseline brain activity, holds promise for increasing our cognitive capabilities. But is it safe? Is it effective? And what are the consequences of stimulating one area of the brain for other areas of the brain?

In the program, I discuss some of the ethical and legal implications of tDCS. Is it cheating to use it to improve performance on a standardized test? To use it (or other cognitive enhancers) while in school, but discontinuing its use once certified in a field (like after passing medical boards)?

Check out the webcast of the program, and cancel your weekend plans so that you can attend the rest of the World Science Festival.