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Cognitive enhancement: from techniques to ethical issues (a.y. 2019/20)


Cognitive enhancement consists in the amplification or extension of core capacities of the mind through improvement of different processing systems. Various methods exist, from cognitive training to neuromodulation techniques, with a great range of potential applications in healthy and clinical populations. These methods represent an opportunity to improve human capacities, but also a challenge for the scientific research interested in evaluating their efficacy and a controversial issue in ethic and social debates concerning the risk-benefit balance of interfering with the human cognition. The first part of the course will introduce cognitive enhancement methods, discussing their applications and the related ethical aspects. The second part will focus on application in specific domains, as language and memory, and clinical population, as schizophrenia and eating disorders.


January 14th 2020, 10.00 -13.00
January 15th 2020, 10.00 -13.00
January 20th 2020, 14.30 -16.30
January 21st 2020, 14.30 -16.30


  • Antoniou, M., Gunasekera, G. M., & Wong, P. C. M. (2013). Foreign language training as cognitive therapy for age-related cognitive decline: A hypothesis for future research. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37(10), 2689–2698.
  • Bostrom, N., & Sandberg, A. (2009). Cognitive enhancement: Methods, ethics, regulatory challenges. Science and Engineering Ethics, 15(3), 311–341.
  • Demily, C., & Franck, N. (2008). Cognitive remediation: A promising tool for the treatment of schizophrenia. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 8(7), 1029–1036.
  • Iuculano, T., & Cohen Kadosh, R. (2013). The Mental Cost of Cognitive Enhancement. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(10), 4482–4486.
  • Klingberg, T. (2010). Training and plasticity of working memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(7), 317–324.
  • Tchanturia, K., Lloyd, S., & Lang, K. (2013). Cognitive remediation therapy for anorexia nervosa: Current evidence and future research directions. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46(5), 492–495.
  • Tchanturia, K., Lounes, N., & Holttum, S. (2014). Cognitive remediation in anorexia nervosa and related conditions: A systematic review. European Eating Disorders Review, 22(6), 454–462.


The evaluation will be based on an oral exam.

Credits: 2

Giulia Camilla Mattavelli

Senior Researcher of Psychobiology and Physiological Psychology


Course type : Type b

Period: Semester I

Academic year: 2019-2020

Place : Classroom 1-15

Duration : 10 hours