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AJOB Primary Research.

Attitudes Toward Cognitive Enhancement in Users and Nonusers of Stimulants for Cognitive Enhancement: A Pilot Study

Background: The goal of this pilot study was to assess attitudes toward cognitive enhancement (CE) in users and nonusers of prescription or illicit stimulants for CE. Methods: Self-rating questionnaires were used to assess general attitudes toward CE in a sample of 1,035 high school students and 512 undergraduate university students in Germany. Attitudes were also assessed in a subgroup of 49 users of prescription and/or illicit stimulants and compared to the remaining group of nonusers. Results: When asked about the conditions under which participants would consider the use of substances for CE, more than 80% of participants answered that such substances must not lead to long-term damage or addiction if they were to consider using them, while 95% (more often females than males) thought that currently available substances would lead to addiction. Only 16% would not use cognitive enhancers under any condition. A minority of participants (more males than females) stated that students with low academic performance (26%), pilots (21.6%), or physicians (18.9%) should be allowed to use cognitive enhancers; 50.4% would support the use among the cognitively impaired elderly. Compared to nonusers, users were significantly more likely to (1) believe that it was fair for others to use cognitive enhancers, (2) allow the use in students with lower academic performance, and (3) use cognitive enhancers if others did. Reported substance use was associated with higher achievement motivation and with a stronger external locus of control. Conclusions: The disposition to use cognitive enhancers among high school and university students in Germany is high, if substances are safe. However, fear of addiction and doubts about fairness lead most participants to abstain from stimulant use for CE.

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Volume 3, Issue 1
January 2012

Target Articles.

Influences on Decision Making Identified by Parents of Children Receiving Pediatric Palliative Care Karen W. Carroll, Cynthia J. Mollen, Sarah Aldridge, Kari R. Hexem & Chris Feudtner

Essays & Articles.

Attitudes Toward Cognitive Enhancement in Users and Nonusers of Stimulants for Cognitive Enhancement: A Pilot Study Andreas G. Franke, Caroline Bonertz, Michaela Christmann, Stefan Engeser & Klaus Lieb