Testing and Cognitive Enhancement

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  • Create Date August 2, 2018
  • Last Updated August 2, 2018

Testing and Cognitive Enhancement

We are entering a new era. New and improved means of enhancing cognitive abilities are being developed at an ever faster rate. Cognitive enhancement (CE), both short- and long-term, can now be achieved by means of drugs and brain stimulation, in people of all ages. In the near future we may also witness CE through genetic engineering and man-machine coupling.  ,Following a description of various ways to achieve CE and their effects on cognitive abilities, I address the question of what exactly is measured or assessed under conditions of CE, and how such measurement can be aligned with the goals of assessment. Other questions considered are to what extent and in what direction, if at all, we should modify testing standards and professional ethics, and what the relation is between testing under CE conditions and test accommodation in the case of disabled examinees.Relevant to the discussion of these issues is the fact that behavior-modifying drugs, such as pain killers, anxiety reduction drugs, and others, are routinely used by examinees, either with or without the testers’, knowledge. The discussion is further guided by reference to methods of physical enhancement (PE) that are routinely employed (e.g. audio and visual aids), and by the discussion of more extreme PE means, such as drugs or bionic devices that are employed (or banned) in competitive sports.

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