News and Commentary Archive

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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

Neuroscience and the Pursuit of Justice

Dr. Judith Edersheim, co-founder and co-director of the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital, explores how neuroscience can enhance the pursuit of justice.

“If neuroscience could shed light on mental states, it might be able to illuminate whether someone meant the crime or intended to harm someone,” Edersheim told approximately 200 students, faculty, staff and community members who filled Northeastern’s Raytheon Amphitheater on Tuesday for the 13th annual Francine and Michael Saferstein Memorial Lecture in Forensic Science.

The lecture series — which is co-sponsored by the Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice — was established by forensic scientist Richard Saferstein in memory of his wife and child, who were killed in 1978 when a bomb discharged inside the family’s garage.

Barry Karger — the James L. Waters Chair in Analytical Chemistry in Northeastern’s College of Scienceand director of the Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis — introduced Edersheim by praising her for “performing a broad range of psychiatric evaluations in criminal and civil forensic settings.”

Edersheim, who holds both an MD and JD, said “neurolaw” is similar to  “neuropolitics” and “neuromarketing,” in that the field tries to incorporate both neuroscience and psychology into a more established practice.
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