Neuroethics Seminar Series

The Neuroethics Seminar Series is designed to explore a diverse range of subjects at the intersection of neuroscience and ethics. In a typical seminar, three expert discussants will come together to explore a topic. In the 90-minute seminar, at least 30 minutes are reserved for discussion and audience participation.

The Center for Bioethics hosts the Neuroethics Seminar Series approximately 9 times each year, with financial support from Harvard's Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative, and the Harvard Brain Initiative Collaborative Seed Grant Program. In addition, the International Neuroethics Society makes it possible to live stream the Seminars, and video is archived and available below.

Thursday January 26, 2017
4:30-6:00 pm

TMEC 227 Mini Amphitheater
260 Longwood Ave
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115

October 25, 2016 12:30-2 pm
TMEC 227 
Harvard Medical School
260 Longwood Ave
Boston, MA 02115

Our speakers reviewed and discussed the history of a technique called Facilitated Communication, purportedly used to communicate with individuals with severe autism,  developmental delay, or brain injuries. The technique has since been comprehensively debunked--watch and learn how providers can go wrong by failing to adhere to standards of evidence.

If a neurosurgeon develops a new technique, when can it be considered innovation, and when should it be considered investigation? 

Even in the US, some controversy persists over the conceptual defensibility of brain death. Around the world, the philosophical defensibility of brain death is even more debatable. 

ALS neuroethics lecture

Patients with ALS have a uniformly fatal disease, and one might worry that ALS patients are even more prone to the therapeutic misconception. In this video, panelists discuss evidence for therapeutic misconception in ALS trials.

Neurologists who treat epilepsy face substantial difficulty distinguishing "true" seizures caused by abnormal electrical discharges from seizures that are caused by psychological factors (psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, or PNES).

Michele Bratcher Goodwin

Connecting the human brain to a computer is no longer science fiction. Patients unable to control their bodies will soon be able to control computers and external devices, like wheelchairs, using only mental processes, by means of a brain-computer interface. A Neuroethics Seminar Series Event with Philipp Kellmeyer and Leigh Hochberg


Panelists discuss the ethics of presumed (or "emergency", or "implied") consent in the context of caring for patients with acute stroke. A Neuroethics Seminar Series Event with Winston Chiong, Lee Schwamm, and Jolion McGreevy

Should the FDA regulate the sale of these devices? Should use of brain stimulation to enhance performance in gaming and recreation be prohibited, discouraged, encouraged, or required? Should a physician's prescription be required? Watch our panel discuss the science, ethics, and regulation of do-it-yourself brain stimulation and other forms of cognitive enhancement.