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Bad Moves: How decision making goes wrong, and the ethics of smart drugs

Bad Moves: How decision making goes wrong, and the ethics of smart drugs [Kindle Edition]

Barbara Sahakian , Jamie Nicole LaBuzetta
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product Description


With this accessible primer, full of medical anecdotes and clear explanations, Sahakian and Labuzetta prepare the public for an informed discussion about the role of drugs in our society. (Nature)

Product Description

Making decisions is such a regular activity that it is mostly taken for granted. However, damage or abnormality in the areas of the brain involved in decision-making can severely affect personality and the ability to manage even simple tasks.

Here, Barbara Sahakian and Jamie Nicole LaBuzetta discuss the process of normal decision making - our strategies for making decisions, biases that affect us, and influential factors - and then describe the abnormal patterns found in patients with conditions such as severe depression, Alzheimer's, and accidental brain damage.

Using striking examples and case studies from their own research to show the impact of abnormal decision making, they introduce the concept of 'hot' and 'cold' decision making based on the level of emotions involved, showing that in various psychiatric conditions extreme emotions alter the pattern of decision making.

Looking at the ways in which the brain can be manipulated to improve cognitive function in these patients, they consider the use of 'smart drugs' that alleviate these problems. The realization that smart drugs can improve cognitive abilities in healthy people has led to growing general use, with drugs easily available via the Internet. They raise ethical questions about the availability of these drugs for cognitive enhancement, in the hope of informing public debate about an increasingly
important issue.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 895 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (25 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BS82FZG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #337,118 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By David Burton VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The problem that I've got with this book is really that it's too short to cover the range of subjects it aims to cover. It discusses bad decision-making in moderate detail, including looking at a number of studies on where this goes wrong and its impact, but my impression is that 'Thinking Fast and Slow' covered this side better. The comprises the bulk of the book.
After this, there is a minimal amount of discussion about smart drugs, basically covering Ritalin and Modafinil, but basically ignoring the range of other smart drugs on the market, and mainly focuses on Modafinils potential to reduce levels of tiredness. It spends more time discussing the ethics of smart drug use in an otherwise healthy population, and tries to cover both sides of the argument, but not, to my mind, particularly convincingly - it would have been better to include not just a dispassionate outline of both sides of the argument with short arguments from proponents and opponents of using these drugs in a healthy population.
In all, the book is too short, and cannot cover the subject in sufficient detail, and focuses as a result mainly on ethics and theory and little on practical implications or how else someone could improve their decision-making.
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Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Bad Moves: How decision making goes wrong, and the ethics of smart drugs
If you only read the capitalised part of the title you might expect a critique of “Strictly come dancing” – I jest.
This is a relatively short book ( 130 pages plus instructive notes which are useful , but it becomes very tedious flipping back and forth and there can some confusion with traditional external literature reference numbers) – basically an introduction to the scientifically minded lay reader and a primer for more budding neuroscientists
The first 80 pages or so are a brief background to the subject
It starts with some graphic tales of injuries to the brain – particularly frontal lobes and moves onto effects of external physical and internal degenerative brain damage and its effects.
The authors go on to review everyday decision making as a marker of normal brain function starting with a review of decision making – hot (includes emotion) / cold (pure logic) options. There is an interesting short section as to how words or wording influences decisions and as to different types of decision makers – risk takers, risk adverse, status quo and how these behave under differing circumstances
We move onto a short history of the knowledge of the brain and it functions and the pre 1970’s surgical techniques such as dividing the brain halves (epilepsy) and frontal lobotomy (limiting certain behaviours) and lessons learned from such crude “cutting” of neural pathways.
Coming to more modern times, there is a discussion of the (relatively) the non invasive techniques monitoring the brain in action –, MRI, PET, fMRI – mainly detecting blood flow via magnetic resonance or radioactive decay .
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By Lilly Penhaligon TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is ok for the interested person with no specialist background or qualification in this area but I think some health professionals and academics might take issue with some of the points in this book. The first half is really a 'York Notes' précis of the neuroscience behind decision-making processes which is followed by examples of conditions which lead to 'bad' decision-making. I'm not really comfortable with this section given that I work in this field and disagree that people with dementia have bad decision-making skills rather they have impaired function as a result of neurodegeneration. In addition, the inclusion of phobias in this section is something I disagree with as i believe this area to belong to conditioning rather than impaired or bad thinking. The second half of the book focuses on the use of so called smart drugs but I didn't see much in this section on ethics in the way that I would have expected. If you've got a general interest in this area and want something reasonably easy to digest and short (130 pages) then this might an option for you but in my opinion if you're an academic or health professional you might want to refer to the research literature and established texts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Limitless? 2 Feb 2014
By Don Panik TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
More by accident than design I have read a couple of neuroscience books recently (having not read any for many years previously), and I find that I am becoming more and more convinced that is a very important area of development for society. This book very much reinforces that idea - being written by neuro-scientists, but primarily concerned to promote debate on the wider ethical, moral and social issues that occur as the science to maintain, restore and very possibly enhance brain function is with us. Starting with a broad scan of decision making theory, the book comes into its own as a lay guide to current science. Very interesting read, and well written and edited too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking 12 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
An interesting book for both the general lay reader and the more specialist mental health practitioner, this is a well presented analysis of the value in using drugs to enhance decision making.

Of course as with so many books along these lines, it often appears the bottom-line assumption is that our consciousness is entirely reliant on the chemical interactions in our brains, when there is of course no evidence at all this is the case- it is just perceived scientific wisdom that believes it to be so. In that way the brain may create the physical environment for 'decision 'making' but it has little to do with the actual decision making process, meaning drugs can do very little to enhance that process and by affecting brain function, may actually most of the time inhibit decision making more than anything else. Of course brain-damage can affect decision-making and the type of consciousness people experience, but that may be more along the lines of a how a damaged radio scrambles its signal more than an 'engine' malfunctioning. So, again, chemical drugs may be useless if this is the case and do more harm than good, despite all the best intentions and the identification of 'hot' and 'cold' regions of the brain charted in this book.

So largely a clinical assessment of the value and effectiveness of chemical drug use and a competent enough one at that but the issue- a fundamental one at that- of what exactly consciousness is and it's relationship to physical brain function seems to be side-stepped somewhat. A good read nonetheless that is thought-provoking and opens up debate in an area that needs much more consideration, and worth a look.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
This is a book that does so much. The real problem is that it's tried to cover two topics (decision-making, and smart drugs) which don't sit well together and therefore it hasn't... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Mr. T. Ralph
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing read
I was really surprise by how much I enjoyed this book.

I have read some books that touched on the subject of decision making, but never one that dealt solely with the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. Hamer
5.0 out of 5 stars An "eye opener" into how we make choices.
This is a very interesting book. It is short just 130 odd pages with the notes etc, Which is actually good for the gerneral reader (of which I am). Read more
Published 2 months ago by Birmingham Book Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for the medical professional or with an interest
Great book for any medical person or even an interested one. Well written and full of useful information
Published 2 months ago by G. Cook
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and in enough depth to start
This book is not for you if you understand how the brain works already. It is for you if you'd like to explore "why everyone acts so stupid" or "how people really don't... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Clive Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking...
There are a number of books out there that look at the efficacy of drugs to treat psychiatric disorders. Read more
Published 5 months ago by John
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad Moves
Author's, Barbara J Sahakian, a researcher in the fields of neurology and psychiatry and Jamie Nicole LaBuzetta,currently in residency training at the Harvard-affiliated hospitals... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Arthur Dooley
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad Moves
Some interesting points made, though it feels heavily biased, as though an opinion is being forced upon me in regards to the information about prescription drugs and their... Read more
Published 6 months ago by -EFox-
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