Let’s say a company named Big Pharma Inc. is about to introduce a pill that can increase your intelligence by, say, 20 percent. Suppose further that the Smart Pill has been tested extensively over a number of years and has produced no known side effects. It’s also perfectly legal. And if you stop taking it, you revert to your previous level of intelligence. Would you take this pill?

This questions has been asked of thousands of high school seniors in their admission interviews to St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Their response: About 80 percent of these senior have said they would not take the Smart Pill, according to research published by St. Mary’s sociologist Daniel Rigney in the new issue of Futurist magazine. Perhaps more interesting than the students’ mostly negative responses are their reasons:

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