When it becomes available, neuroscience-based apprehension of subjective thoughts is bound to have a profound impact on several areas of society. One of these areas is medicine. In principle, medical specialties that are primarily concerned with mind and brain are most likely to apply neurotechnological thought apprehension (NTA) techniques. Psychiatry is such a specialty, and the relevance of NTA developments for psychiatry has been recognized. In this article, I discuss ethical issues regarding the use of NTA techniques in psychiatric contexts. First, I consider the notion of neurotechnological “thought apprehension,” as well as some limitations of present-day NTA applications. Next, I identify ethical priorities for its possible future use in psychiatry. The topics I explore concern key (bio)ethical issues: confidentiality, trust and distrust, consent and coercion, and, finally, responsibility. I conclude that mental health-related use of NTA entails some specific ethical concerns that deserve careful attention before introducing these technologies in psychiatric practice.
- mind reading