News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.

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

Somerville delivers plenary at national Juvenile Justice Reform Summit

On September 14, 2014, Leah Somerville delivered the plenary at the Juvenile Justice Reform Summit in Northampton, MA. Hosted by the National Center for State Courts in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Summit sought to educate and engage state court justices and leading administrators from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Somerville’s plenary session was titled “Neuroscience, Adolescent Development, and the Law: Implications for Juvenile Justice Reform.”

Somerville is a psychologist and developmental neuroscientist, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, member of CLBB faculty, and member of the CLBB Juvenile Justice working group.

Working group to study pain & the brain

Beginning in summer 2014, as part of a venture into pain & suffering as an ongoing program area, CLBB convened a faculty pain & suffering working group to bring together faculty experts in pain, emotion, and the law to explore the complex intersection of the neuroscience and ethics of pain and suffering and its implications for civil and criminal law. The groups, drawing from the Harvard Law and Medical Schools, will convene for ongoing expert faculty meetings, academic publications, and a public seminar event. The group is supported by the Harvard Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative. View the initial announcement here.

CLBB Faculty and working group members include pain imaging specialist David Borsook, PhD, legal scholar of chronic pain Amanda Pustilnik, JD (Pustilnik is also the 2014-2015 Senior Fellow in Law & Applied Neuroscience at CLBB and The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, with a focus on pain), and pain and emotion expert Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD.

The group culminated its first year with a public Symposium on Pain & Suffering on Thursday, February 5, 2015. The Symposium took place at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center of Harvard Medical School. View event video.

Working group to tackle juvenile brain & justice system

Beginning in summer 2014, as part of a venture into juvenile justice as an ongoing program area, CLBB convened a faculty juvenile justice working group to bring together experts in the adolescent brain and criminal justice to respond to key ethical and legal issues at their intersections. The groups, drawing from the Harvard Law and Medical Schools and Harvard University Psychology Faculty, will convene for ongoing expert faculty meetings, academic publications, and a public seminar event. The group is supported by the Harvard Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative. View the initial announcement here.

CLBB Faculty and working group members include adolescent brain researchers Leah Somerville, PhD and Margaret Sheridan, PhD, adolescent psychiatrist Gene Beresin, MD, and juvenile offender evaluation and juvenile justice policy experts Thomas Grisso, PhD, Robert Kinscherff, PhD, Esq., and Gina Vincent, PhD.

The group will culminate its first year with a public Symposium on Juvenile Justice on Thursday, March 12, 2015. The Symposium will take place at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center of Harvard Medical School. View event details and RSVP.