Theses Bachelor's

The Urge to Transcend: An Analysis of Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancer Use in Modern Society

Zahid, Soombal

Cognition, a phenomenon that constitutes the life of the mind, is often considered to be
the self-defining feature of humans and a point of pride for many individuals. The term
“cognition” can refer to a combination of processes an organism uses to manage information,
including perception, attention, learning, memory, language, skilled motor behaviors, and socalled
executive functions, such as decision-making, goal-setting, planning, and judgment
(Whitehouse, Juengst, Mehlman, and Murray, 1997). It is common to hear people complain that
their memory is inadequate or that they cannot pay attention in certain cognitively demanding
situations; however, the concept of pharmacological cognitive enhancers (PCEs) did not arise to
alleviate these people of their typical complaints. Rather, PCEs were originally developed to help
people suffering from brain injuries and neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g. attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder) or neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease) regain control
over their memory, attention, and executive function abilities which are frequently affected in a
negative way by their condition (Sahakian and Morein-Zamir, 2010).



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More About This Work

Academic Units
Psychology (Barnard College)
B.A., Barnard College
Published Here
May 13, 2011