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.

Brain Based Justice Reform: Psychiatry, Neuroscience and the Law

CLBB Co-Director and Co-Founder Judith Edersheim, JD, MD presented at the 3rd Annual Carol W. Taylor Grand Rounds, sponsored by the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy. 

Dr. Edersheim explained that for centuries, the law has been premised on a now outdated model of mental activity which is derived from a combination of philosophical theories of mind and stereotyped inferences from observed behavior. Modern neuroscience, with its ability to reveal the neurobiologic foundations of human behavior, has begun to influence legal standards, with the potential to revolutionize the law and promote just legal outcomes. This lecture briefly reviewed current legal conceptions of mental activity and the use of case studies to demonstrate how recent discoveries in the fields of adolescent neurodevelopment and the neurobiology of substance use have already begun to advance fairness and equity in the legal system. Watch the lecture here