SC11: Egopharmacology: Drug use and Neuroenhancement


In the first session a basic understanding of the psychopharmacological principles will be given. In the second session impairments of social cognition and behaviour observed in chronic cocaine and MDMA users will be discussed. Subsequently, we will have a debate on myths and facts of pharmacological neuroenhancement. Finally, the renaissance of serotonergic hallucinogens in society and psychiatry will be illuminated and its chances of risks considered.


To get deeper understanding of drug actions in the brain and of the sustained but also partially reversible consequences of regular drug use with regard to emotion, cognition, and social interaction.


Quednow, B.B. (2017). Social cognition and interaction in stimulant use disorders. Curr Opin Behav Sci 13: 55-62.

Schleim, S. and Quednow, B.B. (2017). Debunking the ethical neuroenhancement debate. In ter Meulen, R., Mohamed, A., and Hall, W. (Eds.), Rethinking Cognitive Enhancement (pp. 164-176). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Quednow, B.B. (2016). The rise of the ego: social cognition and interaction in cocaine users. In Preedy V.R. (Ed.), Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse (pp. 257-268). London: Academic Press.

Quednow, B.B. (2010a). Ethics of neuroenhancement: A phantom debate. BioSocieties 5(1): 153-6.

Quednow, B.B. 2010b. Neurophysiologie des Neuroenhancements: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen. SuchtMagazin 2: 19-26.

Course location

Forum 1

Course requirements


Instructor information.

Boris Quednow


Boris B. Quednow studied psychology and pharmacy at the University of Bonn. He wrote his dissertation on the neuropsychobiological consequences of “Ecstasy” (MDMA) use at the Ruhr-University of Bochum and worked as a research assistant at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Bonn. At present, he is an Associate Professor for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacopsychology at the Department for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Zurich. His main research interests are the behavioral neurotoxicology and neuroplasticity of illegal drug use, genetics and neurochemistry of sensorimotor gating and higher cognitive functions, as well as disturbed information processing in psychiatric diseases, particularly in schizophrenia and substance use disorders.