News and Commentary Archive

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

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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

Scientific Research – and Caution – Are Needed in the Courts: Dispatch from APLS 2013

adapted from “Persistence of Memory” (Dali, 1931)


This year’s Annual Conference of the American Psychology Law Society (Division 41 of the American Psychological Association) was held in Portland, Oregon, a fortuitously appropriate location for the ongoing debate about how to diminish problems associated with eyewitness testimony.

Recently, the Oregon Supreme Court issued an important decision, in State of Oregon v. Lawson (2012), about procedures for managing potentially unreliable eyewitness testimony; the decision was Oregon’s answer to another groundbreaking case, State of New Jersey v. Henderson (2011).

In the Henderson case, which CLBB faculty member Dr. Daniel Schacter, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and a leading researcher on memory, discussed at CLBB’s recent event “Memory in the Courtroom: Fixed, Fallible, or Fleeting?”, the court reviewed extensive scientific research and heard expert testimony from eyewitness researchers about empirically identified problems in memory encoding, memory recall, and factors that can and cannot be controlled by investigators to minimize bias and error (e.g., length of time between the crime and witness interview, visibility at the scene of the crime).

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