Research Stream Leader: A/Prof Adrian Carter

Dr. Adrian Carter

Neuroscience promises to revolutionise our ability to treat and prevent mental illness and neurological disorders through the use of powerful new technologies that allow us to monitor and manipulate brain activity, cognition and behaviour. The use of novel neurotechnologies also raises important ethical and social challenges. The study of these issues is called Neuroethics. Insights from neuroscience research may radically shift the way that we understand human behaviour, challenging our notions of free will and responsibility, agency and identity, increasing our use of coercive treatments and a reliance on medical or invasive neurological “cures” at the expense of effective public health policies. It may also change people’s attitudes towards people with mental illness or behavioural disorders (e.g. stigma and discrimination) or people’s understanding of their own behaviour (e.g. self-efficacy, identity). It is critical that we consider the potential impact of neuroscientific knowledge and technologies if we are to realise its promise. Failure to do so may prompt restrictive legislative and regulatory responses that undermine research, or lead to public health policies or treatments that produce unanticipated harm.

The Neuroscience and Society Group conducts interdisciplinary research to translate neuroscience research into ethical treatments, social initiatives and public health policies that maximise benefit for all members of society, while minimising any harms

Key Approaches

  • Neuroethics and Neurolaw
  • Historical and public policy analyses
  • Qualitative research methods (e.g. interviews, focus groups and ethnographies)
  • Quantitative surveys, contrastive vignettes and behavioural choice experiments
  • Media analysis, including online and social media
  • Virtual reality and smartphone apps
  • Community engagement, patient/client advisory groups and co-design