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Ethical Issues and Implications for Society



#40788 / #1

WS 2016/17 - WS 2016/17

Fakultät IV

MAR 5-6

Institut für Softwaretechnik und Theoretische Informatik

34351300 FG Neuronale Informationsverarbeitung

Martin, Robert

Martin, Robert

POS-Nummer PORD-Nummer Modultitel
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Learning Outcomes

After completing the course, students will know: - how to reflect on the ethical and societal consequences of modern neuroscience. - the principles of good scientific conduct and of data protection - how to critically discuss the ethics of animal experimentation, ethical implications and limits of clinical and biomedical research (e.g. stem cell research) and the ethics of mental privacy - how to integrate the ethical aspects into their own ongoing and future research.


- Introduction - Hand-out of topics for group work - Philosophical theories of ethics - Ethics and neuroscience - Mental privacy - Ethical aspects of animal experiments - Ethical aspects of stem cell research - Ethical aspects of clinical neuroscience and patient research - Good scientific practice - Data protection and computer security - Discussion of group topics

Module Components


All Courses are mandatory.

Course Name Type Number Cycle Language SWS
Ethical Issues and Implications of Society IV WS No information 3

Workload and Credit Points

Ethical Issues and Implications of Society (IV):

Workload description Multiplier Hours Total
Präsenzzeit 15.0 3.0h 45.0h
Vor-/Nachbereitung 15.0 3.0h 45.0h
90.0h(~3 LP)
The Workload of the module sums up to 90.0 Hours. Therefore the module contains 3 Credits.

Description of Teaching and Learning Methods

The IV takes place as a 1 week block at the beginning of the lecture-free period. Subjects are required to prepare for the course using the reading material provided. The course itself consists of a combination of lectures and group discussions. At the end of each section the lecturer will engage the students in a critical discussion of each topic. At the beginning of the course students will also be assigned to discussion groups where each group takes over one typical “ethical dilemma” faced everyday in neuroscientific research and in clinical practice. Over the week the students will learn to view their chosen topic from different angles and critically present their view on the topic in a group discussion in the last course section. The individual sections will be covered by experts in each field (stem cell research, animal experiments) and the data protection lecture will be provided by a computer security/data protection specialist.

Requirements for participation and examination

Desirable prerequisites for participation in the courses:

Wünschenswerte Voraussetzungen für die Teilnahme zu den Lehrveranstaltungen: - Basic knowledge of neuroscientific research - good command of the English language

Mandatory requirements for the module test application:

No information

Module completion



Type of exam

Portfolio examination

Type of portfolio examination

No information



Test elements

Name Categorie Duration/Extent
Essay on one of the block weeks lecture 50 No information
Successful participation in group work & presentation 50 No information

Grading scale

Test description (Module completion)

Students must participate in group discussions and give a presentation before the other students and the lecturers. The student’s performance is assessed according to the following criteria: participation in the group discussion, understanding of the topics, critical thinking, quality of the final presentation. To pass the Module 60 Pts are required.

Duration of the Module

The following number of semesters is estimated for taking and completing the module:
1 Semester.

This module may be commenced in the following semesters:

Maximum Number of Participants

This module is not limited to a number of students.

Registration Procedures

Students should contact Robert Martin ( to register. Students of the Master program Computational Neuroscience must register for this module at the Examination Office of the TU Berlin.

Recommended reading, Lecture notes

Lecture notes

Availability:  unavailable

Electronical lecture notes

Availability:  unavailable


Recommended literature
01. Farah (2005). Neuroethics: the practical and the philosophical. Trends Cogn Sci 9, 34-40.
02. Martinson et al. (2005). Scientists behaving badly. Nature 435, 737-738
03. R Gillon (1994). Medical ethics: four principles plus attention to scope. BMJ 1994;309-184 (16 July)
04. J. Vollmann et al. (2003). Competence of mentally ill patients: a comparative empirical study. Psychological Medicine, 33, 1463–1471.
05. Iles and Bird (2006). Neuroethics: a modern context for ethics in neuroscience. Trends Neurosci. 29(9): 511–517.
06. Tovino (2007). Functional Neuroimaging and the Law: Trends and Directions for Future Scholarship. The American Journal of Bioethics, 7:9, 44 – 56
07. Wolpe (2005). Emerging Neurotechnologies for Lie-Detection: Promises and Perils. The American Journal of Bioethics, 5(2): 39–49.
08. Mayer-Schoenberger (2007). Useful Void: The Art of Forgetting in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing. KSG Working Paper No. RWP07-022

Assigned Degree Programs

This module is not used in any degree program.

Students of other degrees can participate in this module without capacity testing.


No information