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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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


Brainwashed? What Neuroscience Can – and Can’t – Tell Us About Ourselves

Has society’s fascination with the brain gone too far?
On April 17, 2014, at Harvard Medical School, CLBB hosted a conversation with “Brainwashed” co-author Scott Lilienfeld and CLBB faculty members Joshua Greene and Joshua Buckholtz.

Read more about this event


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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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

Message from the CLBB Directors