Neuro-enhancement applied to Minors: neurobiological, educative and legal aspects

Working group presented by Universitat Pompeu Fabra during the NERRI Consortium Meeting in Rome

The first MML activities undertaken with the NERRI project have shown that there is the need to further study neuro-enhancement (NE) specifically applied to minors. Basically, this group deserves a special consideration because of two main reasons: firstly, because the plasticity of their brain is the highest it will get in life (and thus, the impact of NE can be the greatest); and secondly, because they depend on adults and have a limited freedom of choice.

Deliverable D3.3 Progress Report has shown that many people think that minors should be protected from the harmful effects of NE through an institutional regulation. Furthermore, it is also important to take into account the social pressure experienced by some minors in our increasingly competitive society.

From the Science, Communication and Society Studies Centre from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, we detected the need to focus on this particular issue and decided to set in motion the working group “NE in Minors” in May 2015.  Two other NERRI partners have joined the group, Experimentarium (Denmark) and IBMC (Portugal), but the group is still open for any other partner to join. We want to gather the findings from all NERRI partners and analyse them.

The methodology used will include a phase of data collection and literature review (using a shared folder in the Mendeley platform) and another phase to gather the information related to minors from the MML activities conducted by NERRI partners.

The working group has been recently presented at the NERRI Consortium Meeting in Rome during June 22nd and 23rd. All partners have had the chance to comment on the initiative and contribute with ideas or insights after the presentation. Some of the comments reflected on the fact that this group can be considered an MML itself.

It is scheduled to write a final report to reflect on the experience regarding the application of NE in minors, which could be presented and discussed in the final Consortium Meeting of NERRI or even sent to international conferences related to the topic (for example, conferences on ethics, neurology, education).