Law and Neuroscience – 6063

Spring 2025

What are adolescents, psychopaths, and white-collar fraud artists thinking? Why does emotional trauma for victims of abuse last so long? Why is eye-witness memory so poor? Do violent video games lead to violent children? How can you get into the heads of the judge and jury? Lawyers and courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, are already integrating neuroscience research into their arguments and opinions on questions such as these. This Law and Neuroscience course will introduce the exciting new field of “neurolaw” by covering issues such as the neuroscience of criminal culpability, brain-based lie detection, cognitive enhancement, emotions, decision making, and much more. Along the way we’ll discuss how the legal system can and should respond to new insights on topics such as adolescent brain development, addiction, psychopathy, Alzheimer’s, the effects of combat on soldiers’ brains, and concussions from sports injuries. New in the 2017 version of the course is a “Bridge to Practice” track, which emphasizes the real-world brief writing related to the use of neuroscientific evidence in practice. (Note that all scientific material in the class will be presented in an accessible manner, so no previous science background is required.)