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

Jeffrey Rosen on the Legacy Of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

CLBB Faculty member and constitutional scholar Jeffrey Rosen is author of the new book, Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet, and spoke with WBUR about why he calls Louis Brandeis “the most prescient judicial philosopher of the 20th Century.” Speaking with host Meghna Chakrabarti, Jeffery Rosen reflected on Brandeis’s resistance towards big government and big corporations. About the book:

According to Jeffrey Rosen, Louis D. Brandeis was “the Jewish Jefferson,” the greatest critic of what he called “the curse of bigness,” in business and government, since the author of the Declaration of Independence. Published to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of his Supreme Court confirmation on June 1, 1916, “Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet” argues that Brandeis was the most farseeing constitutional philosopher of the twentieth century…. Combining narrative biography with a passionate argument for why Brandeis matters today, Rosen explores what Brandeis, the Jeffersonian prophet, can teach us about historic and contemporary questions involving the Constitution, monopoly, corporate and federal power, technology, privacy, free speech, and Zionism.

Listen to the entire Radio Boston segment below, or go to WBUR for more on the conversation.

Dr. Rebecca Brendel on What Happens During Hospitalizations For Mental Health Issues

CLBB Director of Bioethics Dr. Rebecca Brendel spoke with WBUR’s Morning Edition to talk about the process that occurs when someone is hospitalized for mental health issues. Dr. Brendel, also director of the master’s program in bioethics and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, commented,

“What the evaluators in the emergency room really would be looking for would be symptoms consistent or supporting a risk of harm…and has the individual taken steps toward the plan to actually harm themselves or harm somebody else?”

Listen to the entire segment below, or go to WBUR for more on the interview.

Dr. Edersheim on Why Juvenile Murderers in America Now Have a Shot at Parole

CLBB Co-Director Dr. Judith Edersheim‘s expert opinion was featured in an article with VICE on the recent Supreme Court ruling in Montgomery v. Alabama, asserting that the Court’s decision in 2012 banning life without parole sentences for juvenile defendants applied retroactively. In describing the neurological differences between adolescents and adults, Dr. Edersheim notes,

“Adolescence is a period of time when the brain is hyper plastic. It’s a period of rapidly-changing brain. Adolescents are supposed to take risks. That’s what their neurotransmitters and their brains are telling them. But they calculate risks differently from grown ups, and it has an evolutionary purpose and a neurological basis.”

The article further reports:

“According to Edersheim, the adolescent brain undergoes a period of ‘pruning’ before adulthood. So it’s not that teens just turn into crazy people—rather, their brains begin to learn to ‘process efficiently.’  And to do that, they need to take cues from their surroundings.

The neuroscience, she says, debunked the myth of the young ‘superpredator’ that preceded it.”

Read the full article, “Why Juvenile Murderers in America Now Have a Shot at Parole“, by Susan Zalkind, published by VICE on February 1, 2016.

Dr. Schacter to Receive Highest APS Award

CLBB Faculty Member Daniel Schacter has been named to receive the APS 2017 William James Fellow Award. The James Award is the highest honor conferred by APS. It honors distinguished APS Members for a lifetime of significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology. According to the website:

The APS William James Fellow Award honors APS Members for their lifetime of significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology. Recipients must be APS members recognized internationally for their outstanding contributions to scientific psychology. 

Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Schacter on this enormous achievement!

Dr. Edersheim on What Obama’s Solitary Confinement Reforms Mean for Inmates

CLBB Co-Director Dr. Judith Edersheim was quoted in a FRONTLINE article on President Barack Obama’s recent announcement of his commitment to reduce the use of solitary confinement in federal prisons, particularly by ending the use of isolation on inmates under the age of 18. On the harmful effects of solitary confinement on adolescents in particular, Dr. Edersheim states,

“Adolescents are neurological sponges for their environment, and if those environments are toxic it can permanently alter their brain development in all the ways we need them to develop. Solitary confinement is arguably the worst neurotoxin in that sense.”

Read the full piece from FRONTLINE, “What Obama’s Solitary Reforms Mean for Inmates“, by Sarah Childress, published on January 26, 2016.