Erik Parens is a Senior Research Scholar at The Hastings Center. He investigates how we use new technologies to shape our selves and how emerging science shapes our self-understanding.
Currently he is the Principal Investigator on a project, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, which explores the controversies surrounding the use of psychotropic medications to treat emotional and behavioral disturbances in children. He is also the Principal Investigator on a project, funded by The Dana Foundation, which investigates the difference between reasonable and unreasonable claims based on neuroimaging technologies (such as fMRI).
He has lectured and published widely, and is the first or sole editor of four books: Enhancing Human Traits: Ethical and Social Implications (Georgetown University Press, 1998); Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights (Georgetown, 2000); Wrestling with Behavioral Genetics: Science, Ethics, and Public Conversation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); and Surgically Shaping Children: Essays on Technology, Ethics, and the Pursuit of Normality (Johns Hopkins, 2007).
He was educated at The University of Chicago, where he received his PhD (1988) and MA (1983) from the Committee on Social Thought, and his BA (1979) from The College. Currently he is also an adjunct professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Vassar College.