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.

Leah Somerville, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Director of the Affective Neuroscience and Development Laboratory. Dr. Somerville is also a faculty member of the Harvard Center for Brain Science and the Harvard Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative. She received a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Wisconsin, a PhD at Dartmouth College, and postdoctoral training at the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Professor Somerville’s research focuses on drawing linkages between trajectories of brain development and changes in emotional, social, and regulatory processes as they change throughout adolescence. Her work incorporates several approaches including behavioral, psychophysiological and neuroimaging methods and developmental trajectory analysis. Currently, her work has focused on understanding how social and emotional cues selectively influence adolescents’ decision making capabilities, how incentives shape adolescent regulatory behavior, and the neurodevelopmental mechanisms that underlie heightened anxiety and self-conscious emotion during adolescence.

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