Judy Illes & Eric Racine
talk with ScienceWatch.com and answer a few
questions about this month's Fast Moving Front in the field
Article: Imaging or imagining? A neuroethics
challenge informed by genetics
Journal: AM J BIOETH, 5 (2): 5-18 MAR-APR 2005
Addresses: Stanford Univ, Stanford, CA 94305 USA.
Stanford Univ, Stanford, CA 94305 USA.
Why do you think your paper is highly
Our article was one of the first papers in neuroethics that bridged
research on the ethics of genomics and genetics with new challenges brought
about by functional neuroimaging. The paper highlighted that both
scientific and sociocultural factors are important in interpreting
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
This paper described a new perspective on the challenges created by
advances in neuroscience, in particular, social neuroscience and functional
neuroimaging studies that probe complex human behaviors.
Would you summarize the significance of your paper
in layman's terms?
The significance of the paper lies in its analysis of the interaction
between epistemology (what we think we know with functional neuroimaging
tools) and ethics (how and when we should use this knowledge). The paper
highlighted how constraints on the epistemology inform ethical choices.
How did you become involved in this research and
were any particular problems encountered along the way?
This research paved the way for a longstanding and highly productive
collaboration in neuroethics between the authors.
Where do you see your research leading in the
The authors' research is aligned more than ever toward understanding how
neuroscientists can tackle effectively the societal implications of their
Do you foresee any social or political implications
for your research?
The paper dealt with social and ethical implications of neuroimaging
research. The conversation on the use of neuroimaging is still ongoing. The
field is maturing with interdisciplinary dialogue and meaningful engagement
of ethics from inception to dissemination and uptake.
Judy Illes, Ph.D.
Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics
Professor of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine
National Core for Neuroethics
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada Web
Eric Racine, Ph.D.
Director, Neuroethics Research Unit
Assistant Research Professor
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)
Department of Medicine and Department of Social and Preventive
Université de Montréal
Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery & Biomedical Ethics Unit
Montréal, Quebec, Canada Web