News and Commentary Archive

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

Mission

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.

Families, Substance Use Disorder, and the Courts: Is Compassion Consistent with Accountability?

February 22, 2022, 12:00 PM
Online

Register for this Event Here


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this panel discussion will be held virtually, as an online webinar. To ensure that you will receive access to the livestream and be kept up to date on any changes to the event, register now. We will send out a link to the livestream of the event to all registrants the day before and day of the event. Last registration is 11:30am on the day of the event.

Event Description


How can family law support parents and their children when a parent has a substance use disorder?

One in eight children live in a home with a parent with a substance use disorder. Most of these children are under the age of five.

This discussion will examine innovations in family law contexts, such as divorce, child custody, and care and dependency cases, that promote safety and recovery while emphasizing compassion and support for parents. Topics of discussion will include family drug court interventions, interventions for mothers with opioid use ​disorder, integrated family medical and behavioral care, and implications for policy.

Panelists


Introduction: Carmel Shachar, Executive Director, Petrie-Flom Center


Hon. Beth A. Crawford (Ret.), First Justice, Franklin County Probate and Family Court, Massachusetts (Former)


Davida Schiff, MD, Director, Perinatal and Family-based SUDs Care at Massachusetts General Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Stephanie Tabashneck, PsyD, JD, Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience, CLBB and the Petrie-Flom Center

This event is part of the Project on Law and Applied Neuroscience, a collaboration between the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.

Neuroscience and Criminal Law: The Post-Jones Landscape for Late Adolescents and Emerging Adults

 February 09, 2022, 12:30 PM
 Online

Register now!

Online Viewing

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this panel discussion will be held virtually, as an online webinar. To ensure that you will receive access to the livestream and be kept up to date on any changes to the event, register now. We will send out a link to the livestream of the event to all registrants the day before and day of the event. Last registration is 11:30am on the day of the event. 

Event Description

The U.S. Supreme Court landmark case of Roper v. Simmons (2005) barring execution for crimes committed prior to age 18 launched a line of cases extending Eighth Amendment protections for juveniles. These cases clearly established that children are not little adults. The April 2021 SCOTUS decision in Jones v. Mississippi appears to signal a shift from federal constitutional cases to litigation and legislation among the states. This has prompted vigorous debate about how science should inform criminal law and policy regarding late teens and emerging adults and sharpens ongoing controversy about how developmental science is or should be applied to those under 18. This panel surveys the current landscape of cases and legislation focused on crafting developmentally aligned frameworks for responding to misconduct by younger adolescents, late adolescents (ages 18 – 20) and emerging adults (21 – 25), including “raising the age” of full criminal culpability past age 18. The contributions of neuroscience to informing a developmentally aligned jurisprudence for late adolescents and emerging adults will be reviewed.

Panelists

  • Introduction: Carmel Shachar, Executive Director, Petrie-Flom Center
  • Honorable Jay Blitzman (ret.), CLBB Affiliated Faculty and Lecturer, Harvard Law School, Northeastern Law School, and Boston College Law School
  • Lael Chester, JD, Director of the Emerging Adult Justice Project at Columbia University’s Justice Lab
  • Stephanie Tabashneck, PsyD, JD, Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience, CLBB and the Petrie-Flom Center

This event is part of the Project on Law and Applied Neuroscience, a collaboration between the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. 

Book Talk: The Seven Sins of Memory Updated Edition: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers

 October 13, 2021, 12:30 PM, Online Event

View now!

Online Viewing

Event Description

Watching this recording of our discussion on October 13th of the updated edition of The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers with author and William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Daniel Schacter.

This updated edition revisits Professor Schacter’s groundbreaking research with the twenty-first century’s cultural trends and scientific discoveries. This event featured a book talk and a moderated Q&A.

Panelists

  • Introduction and Moderator: Elyssa SpitzerPolicy Analyst, Women’s Initiative, American Progress and Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience, CLBB and the Petrie-Flom Center 
  • Daniel L. Schacter, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

This event is part of the Project on Law and Applied Neuroscience, a collaboration between the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. 

Mental Health Moonshot: Unlocking Federal Funds for Psychedelics Research

 April 12, 2021, 12:00 PM

The U.S. needs a mental health moonshot.  

Inspired by the Apollo moon landing, moonshots are ambitious projects with monumental goals. The U.S. has a history of funding moonshots with federal tax dollars, and the Human Genome Project is one recent example. More recently, in 2016, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced the national Cancer Moonshot to dramatically improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. That year, Congress allocated $1.8 billion to fund the project.   

The U.S. needs an equally ambitious moonshot to address worsening mental health and substance use crises, leading causes of death exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are significant barriers to researching a promising new class of drugs for treating mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders: psychedelic compounds, such as psilocybin and MDMA, which are tightly controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2019, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez introduced a bipartisan bill to ease restrictions, which was rejected by the House of Representatives.

This panel discussed the need for an ambitious federally-funded mental health moonshot built around psychedelics and analyzed the obstacles to achieving it.   

Panelists

  • Introduction: Carmel Shachar, Executive Director, The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School
  • Mason Marks, Assistant Professor of Law, Gonzaga University; Fellow in Ethics of Technological and Biomedical Innovation, Edmond J. Safra and Petrie-Flom Centers, Harvard University
  • Dr. Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, Advisory Board Member, Center for Law, Brain & Behavior (CLBB); Psychiatrist-in-Chief Emeritus and Director, Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders; and Director, Center for Neuroscience of Psychedelics, Massachusetts General Hospital 
  • Melissa Lavasani, Founder and Executive Director, Plant Medicine Coalition
  • Franklin King IV, MD, Psychiatrist, Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders; and Director, Training and Education, Center for Neuroscience of Psychedelics, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Moderator: Elyssa Spitzer, JD, Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience, CLBB and the Petrie-Flom Center 

View the fully captioned event video

This event is part of the Project on Law and Applied Neuroscience, a collaboration between the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. 

Policing and the Brain: How Neuroscience Can Contribute to Police Reform

March 31, 2021, 12:00 PM

The language of medical science has been used by law enforcement to justify police brutality. For example, a police officer present at the killing of George Floyd suggested that Floyd might have been experiencing “excited delirium,” a term that, while not recognized by major medical associations, is sometimes used by law enforcement to describe aggression resulting from illicit substance use.  

Though there is potential for problematic and biased use of medical science by law enforcement, could neuroscience hold promise for shaping evidence-based reforms?  

This panel on March 31st explored this question through a discussion of recent neuroscience research into emotions and the brain, and the significance of this research for police reform efforts. 

Panelists

  • Introduction: Carmel Shachar, Executive Director, The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School
  • Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, University Distinguished Professor, Northeastern University and Chief Scientific Officer, Center for Law, Brain & Behavior (CLBB)
  • Judge (Ret.) Andre M. Davis, JD, Advisory Board Member, CLBB; Circuit Judge (ret.), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; and City Solicitor (ret.), Baltimore City Department of Law 
  • Dr. Altaf Saadi, MD, MSc, Neurologist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Instructor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
  • Moderator: Elyssa Spitzer, JD, Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience, CLBB and the Petrie-Flom Center 

Learn more about the issues.

Watch the fully captioned event video

This event is part of the Project on Law and Applied Neuroscience, a collaboration between the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.