Cognitive Enhancers Among University Students


A drug can be described as any matter which when taken up into the body of a living creature, changes its usual physical functions. On the other hand, cognitive enhancement is the magnification or expansion of the main aptitudes of the brain, through upgrading or extension of internal or external information dispensation coordination. In this case, cognition denotes the procedures a living being utilizes to systematize information. These include awareness, concentration, comprehension, reminiscence and interpretation. Based on this, any attempt made to enhance cognition may be directed to any of the above key abilities. It can be argued that in education cognition enhancement is meant to pass on precise cleverness or information, as well as enhance wide-ranging mental capabilities such as attentiveness, reminiscence and significant thoughts (Stix 46-55).

Main discussion

It can be said that university and college students use cognitive enhancement drugs like Modafinil, Ritalin and Adderall; in order to improve their academic grades rather than satisfy their urge of getting high. Based on this, some people have come against this; claiming that these drugs are dishonest, abnormal or hazardous. In this case, it can be argued that the accusation of dishonesty is metaphorical since the activity is considered misleading in the case it allows members to gain a benefit by infringing a rule. To disapprove this, at present no set of laws forbid the usage of cognitive enhancement stimulants, except in countries like the United States. In this case, any student caught buying or selling these stimulants at school in America is punished through being imprisoned. From this, it can be stated that evaluating whether cognitive enhancement drugs need to be prohibited in Louisiana State University; involves concentrating on matters about the quality of education. Additionally, approaches towards other additional well-known techniques of enhancing academic grades for instance; putting more effort into studies or employing a private instructor; need to be addressed (Kirby 94-95).

Considering the above points it can be deduced that, cognitive enhancers in Louisiana State University should not be prohibited among students using them. It is of importance to note that, issues like wellbeing risks, price, accessibility; viability of distinguishing unlawful use; and whether individual rights would be violated by a ban on cognitive enhancers usage should be reflected. In this case, a cognitive enhancer would be confirmed satisfactorily safe and efficient; their usage should be supported among university students as a replacement for banning their usage (Greely et al. 702-705).

There is evidence to support the usage of cognitive enhancers by university students; as they are used for improving concentration and comprehension in class rather than for satisfying the urge of becoming high. Based on this, researchers have indicated that twenty percent of 1,427 respondents of an online survey conducted from sixty nations; confessed to having used cognitive enhancers. A good example to indicate the usefulness of cognitive enhancers was given by Margaret Talbot in the ‘New Yorker’ on April 27, 2009. In this case, Alex a student at Harvard University could use Adderall in order to be able to complete all his tasks. It can be seen from this that, Alex was able to research a lot of papers in a semester, lead a student organization body where he spent a lot of hours per week as well as concentrate on his studies. In this case, he turned to cognitive enhancers to make it possible to complete all his assignments in one day. It can be argued that cognitive enhancers help a student to do a lot of work at once; as it can be evident from the fact that; in the given week Alex was able to handle four term papers which he had not completed. It is well indicated by Margaret that, after he swallowed some Adderall he worked industriously on all his papers, and attended meetings despite the fact that he did not eat and did not feel hungry. From this, it is of importance to note that, when one is used up to taking cognitive enhancers; factors like loss of desire for food, restlessness and anxiety may be considered as the side effects which could result in health deterioration (Talbot).

Additionally, cognitive enhancers should not be prohibited among university students; as it was stated by Sahakian of Cambridge University that; “the drive for self-enhancement of cognition is likely to be as strong as enhancement of beauty, and sexual function”. This can be used to mean that, cognitive enhancers work marvelously to students in their academic and extra-curriculum work. From this it can be argued that cognitive enhancement drugs purpose to bring important non-positional advantages to the users; hence should not be damned as a merely positional good. Therefore, one could ask whether we should prohibit cognitive enhancers, which actually bring immense advantages to the students who use them (Kirby 94-95).

It can be deduced that cognitive enhancers help students pass exams by improving their cleverness, restoring their attentiveness and awareness. On the other hand, a story in an ‘American scientific magazine’ showed that cognitive enhancement stimulants; enhance significantly the awareness and reminiscences of students resulting in their improvement in academic grades. In this case, this statement can be used to deduce that cognitive enhancers do not bring highness or agitation among users; but confine the components of the brain that make one lethargic or drowsy. Based on this, these stimulants should not be prohibited among university students since there has not been a case of any major consequence discovered (Talbot).

It can be seen from the case of Johann Hari which was posted on Monday, May 05, 2008, at ‘’ that; he was able to complete reading a book about ‘quantum physics and super-string theory’ in a few hours, which he had for all along been postponing to read. In this case, these cognitive enhancers helped him to do a lot of reading and comprehend everything he had read; without even feeling tired or hungry. In this case, it can be argued that the case a stimulant helps one to tackle a lot of subjects and comprehend them all at the same time. Based on this, they should be encouraged to students in order to improve their performance. Still, on the same point, it can be deduced that cognitive enhancers help students to realize their talented areas as was the case with Hari. In his case, after swallowing Provigil he realized that he had an unknown push for writing an editorial, which had all along been dribbling around his intuitive consciousness. Based on his statements it is clear that cognitive enhancers help a student to smoothly concentrate, work hard as well as improve grades; hence should be encouraged among university students. It can be seen that Hari did not have problems in trying to comprehend whatever he had read, but effortlessly understood it (Hari).

In addition, it is of importance to note that cognitive enhancers enable a student to keep thinking undoubtedly and always have an urge to study more. This can be witnessed from the case of Hari where after taking Provigil, he didn’t sleep because he was thoughtless or crabby; but was thinking about how he could write something or research on an educational topic. On the other hand, it is should be noted that cognitive enhancers make one thoughtful all the time to the extent of being sleepless. In this case, one becomes too nervous, confused and does not want to be disturbed by others which may result in self-isolation. Based on this it can be argued that excessive taking of cognitive enhancers destroys the normal functioning of the body since one cannot do anything in the absence of these drugs. From this, one seems to have low self-esteem as can be evidenced from how Hari was asked by his friends. In this case, they challenged him saying; “Why do you feel that you are not good enough” so that, “you need some kind of chemical enhancement”? They exclaimed (Hari).

Further, it can be argued that students who use cognitive enhancers are better positioned to compete with other students since they are able to concentrate and work hard which results in improvement of grades. From this, it is important to say that Louisiana State University should encourage the students to use cognitive enhancers but regulate their usage; in order to cater to the minimal side effects that come with their usage. In this case, these drugs should be medically tested and made available to students who use them; in order to enhance their performance (Greely et al. 702-705)


To wind up, despite the minimal side effects associated with cognitive enhancement stimulants; students need to be encouraged to use them since contemporary society requires hardworking people. By doing this, the institutions such as Louisiana State University will have increased their students’ performance.

Works cited

Greely, Henry, et al. “Towards Responsible Use of Cognitive Enhancing Drugs by the Healthy.” Nature 456 (2008): 702-705.

Kirby, Jason. “Going to Work on Smart Drugs.” MacLean’s 121.40 (2008): 94-95.

Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web.

Stix, Gary. “Turbocharging the Brain.” Scientific American 301.4 (2009): 46-55.

Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web.

Talbot, Margaret. “Brain Gain: The Underground World of ‘Neuro enhancing’ Drugs.” The New Yorker. 2009. Web.

Hari, Johann. “My Experiment with Smart Drugs.” 2008. Web.

Find out your order's cost