Better Living Through Chemistry: Preferences For Pharmacological Self-Improvement

Jason Riis, New York University
Joseph Simmons, Yale University
Geoffrey Goodwin, Princeton University
Four studies examined young healthy individuals’ willingness to take drugs intended to enhance various social, emotional, and cognitive abilities. We found that people were much more reluctant to enhance traits believed to be highly fundamental to the self (e.g., mood, social comfort) than traits considered less fundamental (e.g., concentration ability). Moral acceptability of a trait enhancement strongly predicted people’s desire to legalize those enhancements, but not their willingness to take those enhancements. Ad taglines that framed enhancements as enabling rather than enhancing the fundamental self increased people’s interest in a fundamental enhancement, and eliminated the preference for non-fundamental over fundamental enhancements.
[ to cite ]:
Jason Riis, Joseph Simmons, and Geoffrey Goodwin (2008) ,"Better Living Through Chemistry: Preferences For Pharmacological Self-Improvement", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 72-75.