News and Commentary Archive

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


The Center for Law, Brain & Behavior puts the most accurate and actionable neuroscience in the hands of judges, lawyers, policymakers and journalists—people who shape the standards and practices of our legal system and affect its impact on people’s lives. We work to make the legal system more effective and more just for all those affected by the law.

Promises, promises for neuroscience and law

By Joshua Buckholtz and David Faigman | Current Biology | September 2014


Stunning technical advances in the ability to image the human brain have provoked excited speculation about the application of neuroscience to other fields. The ‘promise’ of neuroscience for law has been touted with particular enthusiasm. Here, we contend that this promise elides fundamental conceptual issues that limit the usefulness of neuroscience for law. Recommendations for overcoming these challenges are offered.

Read the full paper here.

Neuroprediction and Crime

Sixty minutes goes by in the blink of an eye. It’s barely enough time to accomplish much of anything, really. But by the next tick of the long hand, two Americans will have lost their lives to acts of violence. In that same hour, 250 more will need medical treatment for a violence-related injury. As the hours pass, so mount the costs: on average $1.3 Million for each violent fatality and $80,000 for each non-fatal assault. Each year, nearly 3% of our country’s gross domestic product is lost due to violence.

As these staggering numbers make clear, violent crime is one of the most pressing public health problems of our age. Scientists have a duty to address large-scale social problems like violent crime, and scientific research aimed at preventing antisocial behavior would seem likely to provide a particularly good return on taxpayer investment. But to what extent can science actually help? I believe there is a considerable disconnect between the aims of science and the goals of criminal law, and that should lead us to be cautious. Continue reading »