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

The MacArthur Research Foundation Network on Law and Neuroscience: YouTube Channel

Launched in summer 2014, the lawneuro.org YouTube channel features extensive footage of talks by preeminent law and neuroscience scholars at three recent events: the 2013 Colloquium on Law, Neuroscience, and Criminal JusticeThe Future of Law & Neuroscience, 2013 (featuring CLBB co-director Judith Edersheim; and the 2014 Colloquium on Law, Neuroscience, and Criminal Justice.

Visit the YouTube channel here.

 

Law and neuroscience: recommendations submitted to the President’s Bioethics Commission

Owen D. Jones, Richard J. Bonnie, B. J. Casey, Andre Davis, David L. Faigman, Morris Hoffman, Read Montague, Stephen J. Morse, Marcus E. Raichle, Jennifer A. Richeson, Elizabeth Scott, Laurence Steinberg, Kim Taylor-Thompson, Anthony Wagner and Gideon Yaffe | Journal of the Law and Biosciences | June 2014

It has become increasingly clear that implications for criminal justice—both negative and positive—emerge from the rapid, important, and challenging developments in cognitive neuroscience, the study of how the brain thinks. Two examples will illustrate.

First, lawyers are ever more frequently bringing neuroscientific evidence into the courtroom, often in the forms of testimony about, and graphic images of, human brains. This trend has produced many new challenges for judges as they attempt to provide fair rulings on the admissibility of such technical evidence, consider its proper interpretation, and assess whether the probative value of such testimony may be outweighed by its potentially prejudicial effect on juror deliberation, and hence on trial outcomes.

Second, the fast expansion of new imaging and analytic techniques has generated the hope that neuroscience, properly deployed, might help to further the goals of criminal justice. For example, given that the criminal justice system already makes predictions about future antisocial conduct for purposes of sentencing and parole, some believe that neural markers might eventually improve the accuracy of those predictions. Continue reading »

Brain Matters: Reporting from the Front Lines of Neuroscience

During summer 2014, WBUR ran a special series on the current state, potential, and limitations of neuroscience. The series covered:

Part 1: Are we entering a golden age of neuroscience?

Brain Images: New Techniques And Bright Colors
5 Ways The Brain Stymies Scientists And 5 New Tools To Crack It, an interview with CLBB Faculty member Steve Hyman
Unlocking The Brain: Are We Entering A Golden Age Of Neuroscience?
11 Young Neuroscientists Share Their Cutting-Edge Research
Continue reading »

Myth vs. Fact: Violence and Mental Health

By Lois Beckett | ProPublica | June 19, 2014

After mass shootings, like the ones these past weeks in Las Vegas, Seattle and Santa Barbara, the national conversation often focuses on mental illness. So what do we actually know about the connections between mental illness, mass shootings and gun violence overall?

To separate the facts from the media hype, we talked to Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine, and one of the leading researchers on mental health and violence. Swanson talked about the dangers of passing laws in the wake of tragedy ― and which new violence-prevention strategies might actually work. Continue reading »

MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice

The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice seeks to expand the base of knowledge about the origins, development, prevention, and treatment of juvenile crime and delinquency; to disseminate that knowledge to professionals and the public; to improve decision-making in the current system; and to prepare the way for the next generation of reform in juvenile justice policy and practice.

Visit the Network’s site to learn more about their research, publications, and resources. Also, explore the Resource Centers established to focus on areas critical to continued advancements in juvenile justice.