In this article, we critically examine some of the ethical challenges
and interpretive difficulties with possible future non-clinical
applications of pediatric fMRI with a particular focus on applications
in the classroom and the courtroom – two domains in which children come
directly in contact with the state. We begin with a general overview of
anticipated clinical and non-clinical applications of pediatric fMRI.
This is followed by a detailed analysis of a range of ethical
challenges and interpretive difficulties that trouble the use of fMRI
and are likely to be especially acute with non-clinical uses of the
technology. We conclude that knowledge of these challenges and
difficulties should influence policy decisions regarding the
non-clinical uses of fMRI. Our aim is to encourage the development of
future policies prescribing the responsible use of this neuroimaging
technology as it develops both within and outside the clinical setting.