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.

Pustilnik on “And If Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge, Would You Do It?”

On Wednesday, October 1, Amanda Pustilnik presented on juvenile developmental neuroscience research and it’s implications for law. The talk took place at the University of Arizona Law School as part of “The Mind & The Law” public lecture series.

The talk was titled “And If Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge, Would You Do It? Translating Juvenile Developmental Neuroscience into Law.” Here is the talk abstract:

“Can recent science about the development  of adolescent brains and decision-making help inform laws relating to adolescents? Teens differ in their degree of life experience, and experience is essential to the formation of judgment.  They also differ biologically from adults in the ways in which they perceive the world and make decisions. Many areas of law embody the idea that adolescents are different from adults, but many times in ways that appear contradictory, even paradoxical.  A teen can refuse life-extending chemotherapy over her parents’ objections but cannot get an aspirin at school without a parent’s permission.  She cannot work more than part-time, but could be sentenced as an adult to life in prison.  This talk will explore what contemporary developmental neuroscience is teaching us about the specific, legally-relevant differences between adolescents and adults.  It will propose a framework for how lawmakers should think about specific adolescent differences, and when, whether, and how such differences ought to be reflected in the law.”

Pustilnik is CLBB Faculty, 2014-2015 Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience, and University of Maryland School of Law Faculty.