Numerous deliberations on the ethics of cognitive enhancement take as their primary case the nonmedical use of prescription stimulant drugs by university students seeking to improve their performance in relation to academic work. Almost without exception, such discussions suggest that these medications enable academic performance enhancement through effects on cognitive processes. This article reports findings from qualitative research with nonmedical users that indicate that stimulants’ effects on users’ emotions and feelings are an important contributor to users’ perceptions of improved academic performance. On the basis of these findings, the article suggests the conceptualization of nonmedical use of stimulants in terms of “cognitive enhancement” may fail to adequately capture the perspectives and experiences of individuals who use stimulant drugs as study aids.
Open Peer Commentaries.
- “Clock Shock,” Motivational Enhancement, and Performance Maintenance in Adderall Use
- Feeling Good About the End: Adderall and Moral Enhancement
- Dealing with Ennui: To What Extent Is “Cognitive Enhancement” a Form of Self-Medication for Symptoms of Depression?
- Just How Cognitive Is Emotion? The Continuing Importance of the Philosophy of Emotion in Enhancement Ethics
- The Emotional Impact of ‘Study Drugs’: Unsurprising and Unconvincing
- Why Students Bother Taking Adderall: Measurement Validity of Self-Reports
- Enhancement in Children and Adolescents: Scrutinizing Effects Beyond Cognition
- Cognitive Enhancement with Amphetamine: History Repeats Itself
- Rethinking “Cognitive” Enhancement: The Ethical Stakes of User Perspectives