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MGH Center for Law, Brain & Behavior

Neuroscience is already influencing the legal system.
The CLBB mission is to ensure that this influence is responsible and based on sound scientific evidence. Where evidence is lacking, we venture to advance the field with discoveries that can be applied directly to the courtroom.

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WATCH – CLBB’s 2014-2015 Year in Review

2014-2015 was a banner year for CLBB. 

To review this year’s highlights, watch this video

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WATCH – “Juvenile Justice & the Adolescent Brain: Is Healthy Neurodevelopment a Civil Right?”

On Thursday, March 12, the CLBB Juvenile Justice working group convened a public symposium bringing together scientists, clinicians, and legal experts to elucidate the question of whether juveniles have Eighth Amendment rights to a healthy context for brain development.

Watch event video

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WATCH – “Re-envisioning Pain: How Breakthroughs on the Science of Suffering Could Revolutionize Legal Understanding and Outcomes”

On Thursday, February 5, at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center of Harvard Medical School, the Symposium, moderated by nationally syndicated journalist Judy Foreman, brought together experts to address the role of neuroscience in helping the law better understand pain.

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WATCH – “Translation 2.0: A Forum on Transforming Public Understanding of Science”

On Friday, January 23, from 1-5pm, CLBB convened leading thinkers from science, the law, and journalism to discuss how both scientists and journalists – as well as the public at large – can do more to speak each other’s languages and address key consensus issues.

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WATCH – “Found in Translation: Why Science Needs Storytelling (and Vice Versa) – an Evening with Malcolm Gladwell”

On Thursday, January 8, in New York City, CLBB presented a conversation with the New Yorker author moderated by Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD, as part of CLBB’s focus on the relationship between science and journalism.

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Competency & the Neuroscience of Decision-Making

Illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia have serious ramifications for the legal system, but courts differ on how to assess soundness of mind.
Can the neurobiology of decision-making help distinguish between those able to make decisions and those who need protection?

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Criminal Responsibility & the Neuroscience of Intent

Can brain images and genetic tests predict or explain human behavior?
Both are being introduced in court, but research shows that behavioral changes result from multiple social, psychological, and physical factors—and may not be so easily explained.

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Lie Detection & the Neuroscience of Deception

Lie detection technology has the potential to be far more reliable than the polygraph—and far more problematic.
Are new methods of extracting truth from lies compatible with the American legal system? And will they enhance or diminish individual Constitutional rights?

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Eyewitness Testimony & the Neuroscience of Memory

Once regarded as sacrosanct, human memory is now seen as complex, malleable and fallible.
How will scientific findings affect how personal accounts and recollections are used in the courtroom?

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Mission

The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

2015 Calendar

Message from the CLBB Directors

Programs