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Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal
SJR: 0.123

ISSN Print: 2151-805X
ISSN Online: 2151-8068

Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal

DOI: 10.1615/EthicsBiologyEngMed.2018029417
pages 11-21

Neuromodulation of Aggression: Valuable Therapeutic Intervention or Dangerous Mind Control?

John Doyle
Cleveland C;inic


The possibility that individuals committing recurring acts of aggression may be predisposed by an underlying neurobiological susceptibility has led to studies exploring both the neurobiological basis of aggression and how neuromodulation technologies might reduce uncontrolled aggression. In this article, we discuss various techniques for neuromodulation, with an emphasis on transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as a possible treatment for frontal-limbic dysfunction (FLD). We conclude that although research is still at the nascent stage, tDCS neuromodulation will likely become an important noninvasive nonpharmacologic treatment modality for pathological aggression due to FLD. We caution that although the safety and effectiveness of such treatments will likely eventually be shown, it raises important ethical and philosophical issues that must be addressed.