Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Advances in brain-brain interface technologies raise the possibility that two or more individuals could directly link their minds, sharing thoughts, emotions, and sensory experiences. This paper explores conceptual and ethical issues posed by such mind-merging technologies in the context of clinical neuroethics. Using hypothetical examples along a spectrum from loosely connected pairs to fully merged minds, the authors sketch out a range of factors relevant to identifying the degree of a merger. They then consider potential new harms like loss of identity, psychological domination, loss of mental privacy, and challenges for notions of autonomy and patient benefit when applied to merged minds. While radical technologies may seem to necessitate new ethical paradigms, the authors suggest the individual-focus underpinning clinical ethics can largely accommodate varying degrees of mind mergers so long as individual patient interests remain identifiable. However, advanced decisionmaking and directives may have limitations in addressing the dilemmas posed. Overall, mind-merging possibilities amplify existing challenges around loss of identity, relating to others, autonomy, privacy, and the delineation of patient interests. This paper lays the groundwork for developing resources to address the novel issues raised, while suggesting the technologies reveal continuity with current healthcare ethics tensions.

Original publication




Journal article


Camb Q Healthc Ethics

Publication Date



1 - 13


autonomy, brain-to-brain interfaces, identity, mental privacy, mind merging, neuroethics