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.

CLBB hosts first Brain Salon

Dissemination of scientific findings to the public at-large has always been a tricky endeavor. Generally, researchers, for good reason, tend to be overly cautious in reaching conclusions and applying their results to broad, societal issues. The public, however, seeks, and rightly so, to use any method possible to understand the world and eliminate injustices. And so the two, both seemingly operating with the right intentions, may disagree about what is to be done with novel research findings.  CLBB’s core mission of prudently translating scientific findings to the public speaks to the heart of this dilemma. One example of such work was a Brain Salon hosted by CLBB and Marshall Sonenshine and Dr. Therese Rosenblatt on October 30, 2013 in New York.

The event entitled, How Neuroscience is Changing Real World Understandings in the Law, Mental Health, Finance, and Public Policy, was chaired by CLBB’s Co-Director Judy Edersheim, J.D., M.D. The panelists were Jordan Smoller, M.D., Sc.D., Director of Psychiatric Genetics Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, Nancy Gertner, J.D., Former Federal Judge and Professor at Harvard Law School, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Ph.D., President and CEO of New America, and Jeffrey Toobin, J.D., author and legal analyst for CNN and the New Yorker. The speakers discussed application of scientific findings to their respective fields and social issues at large. The attendees, luminaries in their own right, in fields of finance, law, entertainment, academia, neuroscience, psychology, and medicine, debated about how to best manage translational of scientific research.

This event highlighted the difficulty, but also the enormous importance, of bridging the gap between scientists and the public in understanding and using newly acquired findings. CLBB is committed to such work and will continue to do so by bringing together leaders from the scientific, legal, medical, and financial communities.

Pictures from the event are included below:

The evening’s five speakers were Jeffrey Toobin, far left, Jordan Smoller, center, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Judy Edersheim (speaking), and Nancy Gertner (seated at right).

Anne-Marie Slaughter describing the conflict between policy and scientific views of the world.

Jordan Smoller discussed the genetics of mental illness.

Jeffrey Toobin of CNN provided valuiable counterpoint to much of the evening’s discussion.

Judge Gertner discussed her perspective from the bench.

The evening was hosted by CLBB Advisory Board Members, Marshall Sonenshine (speaking) and Therese Rosenblatt, Ph.D. (seated in red).