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 to lead Pain, Juvenile Justice Interdisciplinary Working Groups

Our understanding of the neuroscientific underpinnings of the human brain is evolving at a rapid rate. This ongoing development presents many challenges for its timely, successful translation into law and policy. In 2014-2015, the Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior, through the support of the Harvard Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative, will convene faculty working groups to incite scholarship into two translational gaps in neuroscience and law: pain and suffering, and the juvenile brain. The groups, drawing from the Harvard Law and Medical Schools and Harvard University Psychology Faculty, will convene for ongoing expert faculty meetings, academic publications, and a public seminar event. The groups represent CLBB’s initial ventures into pain and juvenile justice as ongoing program areas.

The question of how to recognize and treat pain and suffering is an issue with important philosophical, scientific, medical, ethical, and legal considerations. The Pain and Suffering working group will bring together faculty experts in pain, emotion, and the law to explore the complex intersection of the neuroscience and ethics of pain and suffering and its implications for civil and criminal law. CLBB Faculty and working group members include pain imaging specialist David Borsook, PhD, legal scholar of chronic pain Amanda Pustilnik, JD (Pustilnik is also the 2014-2015 Senior Fellow in Law & Applied Neuroscience at CLBB and The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, with a focus on pain), and pain and emotion expert Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD.

The Juvenile Justice working group will bring together experts in the adolescent brain and criminal justice to respond to key ethical and legal issues at their intersections. The question of what constitutes responsible and legal behavior in children and adolescents is an issue with important philosophical, scientific, social, ethical, and practical considerations. CLBB Faculty and working group members include adolescent brain researchers Leah Somerville, PhD and Margaret Sheridan, PhD, adolescent psychiatrist Gene Beresin, MD, and juvenile offender evaluation and juvenile justice policy experts  Thomas Grisso, PhD, Robert Kinscherff, PhD, Esq., and Gina Vincent, PhD.

The Pain & Suffering Symposium will be held Thursday, February 5, 2015. View details & RSVP.

The Juvenile Justice Symposium will be held Thursday, March 12, 2015. View details & RSVP.