Dr Cynthia Forlini



Lecturer in Health Ethics and Professionalism


Faculty of Health


School of Medicine


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus



Dr Cynthia Forlini is Lecturer in Health Ethics and Professionalism in the School of Medicine (Faculty of Health) at Deakin University. Her research explores the neuroethical issues that arise as we redefine the boundaries between treatment, maintenance, and enhancement of cognitive performance. She has examined these issues conceptually and empirically as they relate to the use of neurotechnology (e.g. neuropharmaceuticals and non-invasive brain stimulation) in different contexts such as competitive academic environments, research, healthy cognitive ageing, and dementia prevention. Her work on cognitive ageing was supported by a Australia Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (2015-2017).

Cynthia completed her training in neuroethics at the Neuroethics Research Unit of the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (M.A., Université de Montréal; PhD, McGill University). Since, she has held research fellow positions at The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (Addiction Neuroethics Group) and The University of Sydney (Sydney Health Ethics). Cynthia has been awarded visiting fellowships at the Centre for Advanced Studies of the Lugwig-Maximilian-University Munich (Germany), Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr Universität Bochum (Germany), the Institute of Social Medicine of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

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Co-Leader of Student/Early Career Researcher Stream Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law

Elected member of the Nominating Committee of the International Neuroethics Society

Teaching interests

Health Ethics



Knowledge areas

Biomedical ethics; Ageing; Neuroethics; Dementia; Enhancement

Media appearances

Television and radio

SBS 'The Feed': "Nootropics- Do smart drugs reall make you more intelligent?". 4 June 2014.

ABC Radio National: "Do cognitive enhancing drugs actually make a person smarter?". 25 March 2018.



Sydney Dementia Network Travel Grant 2019. NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research Australian Dementia Forum 2019. 13-14 June 2019. Hobart, Australia. ($AUD 500) To enable attendance at the annual NNIDR ADF 2019.

Herrenhausen Conference Travel Grant Award 2018. “Lost in the maze? Navigating evidence and ethics in translational neuroscience”.14-16 February, 2018. Hanover, Germany.

International Neuroethics Society Travel Stipend 2017. International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting.

People’s Choice Award for Best Presentation. 2017 Lifespan Research Day. Lifespan Research Network, The University of Sydney.

International Visiting Fellowship in Medical Ethics 2012from the Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr Universität Bochum. Bochum, Germany.

International Scholarship 2007-2008from the l’Institut International de Recherche en Éthique Biomédicale. Research Internship at the Institute of Social Medicine of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The neuroethics of cognitive ageing

Healthy cognitive ageing in the 1921-26 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

Mapping the ethical landscape of dementia research in the ageing population


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An Australian community jury to consider case-finding for dementia: differences between informed community preferences and general practice guidelines

R Thomas, R Sims, E Beller, A Scott, J Doust, D Le Couteur, D Pond, C Loy, C Forlini, P Glasziou

(2019), Vol. 22, pp. 475-484, Health expectations, Chichester, Eng., C1


Non-medical prescription stimulant use to improve academic performance among Australian university students: prevalence and correlates of use

Jayne Lucke, Charmaine Jensen, Matthew Dunn, Gary Chan, Cynthia Forlini, Sharlene Kaye, Bradley Partridge, Michael Farrell, Eric Racine, Wayne Hall

(2018), Vol. 18, pp. 1-7, BMC public health, London, Eng., C1


Public mental health ethics: helping improve mental health for individuals and communities

D Silva, C Forlini, C Meurk

(2018), Vol. 11, pp. 121-125, Public health ethics, Oxford, Eng., C1


A prospectus for ethical analysis of ageing individuals' responsibility to prevent cognitive decline

C Forlini, W Hall

(2017), Vol. 31, pp. 657-665, Bioethics, Chichester, Eng., C1


Patient preferences may be indicative of normative issues in dementia research

C Forlini

(2017), Vol. 59, pp. 11-12, Journal of alzheimer's disease, Amsterdam, Netherlands, C1


Contextualized autonomy and liberalism: broadening the lenses on complementary and alternative medicines in preclinical Alzheimer's disease

E Racine, J Aspler, C Forlini, J Chandler

(2017), Vol. 27, pp. 1-41, Kennedy Institute of Ethics journal, Baltimore, Md., C1


The hidden ethics curriculum in two Canadian psychiatry residency programs: a qualitative study

M Gupta, C Forlini, K Lenton, R Duchen, L Lohfeld

(2016), Vol. 40, pp. 592-599, Academic psychiatry, Cham, Switzerland, C1


Complementary and alternative medicine in the context of earlier diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease: opening the conversation to prepare ethical responses

E Racine, C Forlini, J Aspler, J Chandler

(2016), Vol. 51, pp. 1-9, Journal of Alzheimer's disease, Amsterdam, Netherlands, C1


The is and ought of the ethics of neuroenhancement: mind the gap

C Forlini, W Hall

(2016), Vol. 6, pp. 1-5, Frontiers in psychology, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1


Australian university students' coping strategies and use of pharmaceutical stimulants as cognitive enhancers

Charmaine Jensen, Cynthia Forlini, Brad Partridge, Wayne Hall

(2016), Vol. 7, pp. 1-9, Frontiers in psychology, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1


Ethical issues raised by a ban on the sale of electronic nicotine devices

W Hall, C Gartner, C Forlini

(2015), Vol. 110, pp. 1061-1067, Addiction, Chichester, Eng., C1


Knowledge, experiences and views of German university students toward neuroenhancement: an empirical-ethical analysis

C Forlini, J Schildmann, P Roser, R Beranek, J Vollmann

(2015), Vol. 8, pp. 83-92, Neuroethics, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1


Researchers' perspectives on scientific and ethical issues with transcranial direct current stimulation: an international survey

K Riggall, C Forlini, A Carter, W Hall, M Weier, B Partridge, M Meinzer

(2015), Vol. 5, pp. 1-10, Scientific reports, London, Eng., C1


Food addiction and its impact on weight-based stigma and the treatment of obese individuals in the U.S. and Australia

N Lee, W Hall, J Lucke, C Forlini, A Carter

(2014), Vol. 6, pp. 5312-5326, Nutrients, Basel, Switzerland, C1


The value and pitfalls of speculation about science and technology in bioethics: the case of cognitive enhancement

E Racine, T Martin Rubio, J Chandler, C Forlini, J Lucke

(2014), Vol. 17, pp. 325-337, Medicine, health care and philosophy, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1


Generating genius: how an Alzheimer's drug became considered a 'cognitive enhancer' for healthy individuals

L Wade, C Forlini, E Racine

(2014), Vol. 15, pp. 1-14, BMC medical ethics, London, Eng., C1


Impact of contextual factors and substance characteristics on perspectives toward cognitive enhancement

S Sattler, C Forlini, E Racine, C Sauer

(2013), Vol. 8, pp. 1-12, PLoS one, San Francisco, Calif., C1


Navigating the enhancement landscape: ethical issues in research on cognitive enhancers for healthy individuals

C Forlini, W Hall, B Maxwell, S Outram, P Reiner, D Repantis, M Schermer, E Racine

(2013), Vol. 14, pp. 123-128, EMBO reports, Chichester, Eng., C1


Stakeholder perspectives and reactions to "academic" cognitive enhancement: Unsuspected meaning of ambivalence and analogies

C Forlini, E Racine

(2012), Vol. 21, pp. 606-625, Public Understanding of Science, C1-1


Added Stakeholders, Added Value(s) to the Cognitive Enhancement Debate: Are Academic Discourse and Professional Policies Sidestepping Values of Stakeholders?

C Forlini, E Racine

(2012), Vol. 3, pp. 33-47, AJOB Primary Research, C1-1


Cognitive enhancement, lifestyle choice or misuse of prescription drugs? : Ethics blind spots in current debates

E Racine, C Forlini

(2010), Vol. 3, pp. 1-4, Neuroethics, Cham, Switzerland, C1-1


Disagreements with implications: Diverging discourses on the ethics of non-medical use of methylphenidate for performance enhancement

C Forlini, E Racine

(2009), Vol. 10, BMC Medical Ethics, C1-1


Autonomy and coercion in academic "cognitive enhancement" using methylphenidate: Perspectives of key stakeholders

C Forlini, E Racine

(2009), Vol. 2, pp. 163-177, Neuroethics, C1-1


Funded Projects at Deakin

No Funded Projects at Deakin found


No completed student supervisions to report