Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society is the first set of recommendations from the Bioethics Commission in response to a request from President Obama to review the ethical issues associated with the conduct and implications of neuroscience research. Specifically the President asked the Bioethics Commission to “identify proactively a set of core ethical standards – both to guide neuroscience research and to address some of the ethical dilemmas that may be raised by the application of neuroscience research findings.” This volume is the first of a two-part response to the President’s request and focuses on the integration of ethics into neuroscience research across the life of a research endeavor.
Integrating ethics explicitly and systematically into the relatively new field of contemporary neuroscience allows us to incorporate ethical insights into the scientific process and to consider societal implications of neuroscience research from the start. Early ethics integration can prevent the need for corrective interventions resulting from ethical mishaps that erode public trust in science. Everyone benefits when the emphasis is on integration, not intervention. Ethics in science must not come to the fore for the first time after something has gone wrong.