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Ethical Implications of Brain Scans and Reading People’s Minds

Can brain scans read your mind? If so, how should information about what you're thinking be used and who decides? Those are questions that scientists, ethicists, policy makers and average people are d

Ethical Implications of Brain Scans and Reading People’s Minds

Tom Fudge: What if someone could read your mind. Until now, that hasn't been a serious question. But with new brain research and scanning equipment, it looks like the day of mind reading may be upon us.

The ability of technology and scientists to read your thoughts is still questionable. But we'd better start preparing for a time when it can be done. Such evidence could be used in court, used by employers to decide who to hire and cause parents to give their kids more mind-altering drugs.


This brave new world is the subject of the annual Neuroethics Conference .

If you are interested in this topic, there is a lecture tonight (Oct. 4) at UCSD at 5 p.m. Visit the Web site for more information.


  • Tom Scott , neuroscientist, vice president for research and dean of graduate affairs at San Diego State.
  • Stephanie Bird, editor of Science and Engineering Ethics , a journal that explores ethical issues of concern to scientists and engineers. Bird is also a neuroscientist. 
  • Karma Lekshe Tsomo , associate professor of theology & religious studies at the University of San Diego. Tsomo is also a Buddhist nun who teaches about Buddhism and bioethics.