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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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Steven Pinker: “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century”

On Thursday, November 20, Steven Pinker, PhD, renowned Harvard psychologist, cognitive linguist, and popular author discussed his recent book, “The Sense of Style.”

Read about the event and view video

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“Free Will: What Can Physiology Explain?”

How does an understanding of human motor control inform conceptions of free will?

On October 2, 2014, at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, CLBB and the Boston Society for Neurology & Psychiatry hosted a talk by Mark Hallett, MD.

Read more about this event

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CLBB launches new program in Juvenile Justice

Societies have wrestled with juvenile justice issues since teenagers first roamed the earth leaving trouble in their developmental wake.
Can neuroscientific explanations for the unique risk-taking and impulsive behaviors of this developmental population drive more effective policy and treatment?

Visit the Juvenile Justice program page

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Year in Review: 2013 – 2014

Events, scientific publications, popular press, and other highlights from CLBB in 2013-2014.

See the Year in Review here

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CLBB and Harvard Law School announce “Joint Venture in Law and Neuroscience”

The joint venture will include a Senior Fellow, public symposia, and a Law and Neuroscience seminar at Harvard Law School. The first year of scholarship will focus on pain and the law.

Read more about the Project here

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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?

Visit the Program Page

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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.

Visit the Program Page

polygraph

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?

Visit the Program Page

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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

Mark your Calendars

Message from the CLBB Directors

Programs