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Memory, the adolescent brain and lying: The limits of neuroscientific evidence in the law
Date:4/16/2013

>The body of research to date is at the group-level, however, and is not yet able to comment on the neurobiological maturity of an individual adolescent. To help provide more guidance on this issue in legal settings, Casey and colleagues are working alongside legal scholars on a developmental imaging study, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, that is examining behaviors relevant to juvenile criminal behavior, including impulsivity and peer influence.

Making real-world connections

The same type of work to connect brain imaging to particular behaviors in the real-world is ongoing in a number of other areas, including fMRI-based lie detection and linking negligence to specific mental states. "It's a big leap to go from a laboratory setting, in which impulse control may be measured by one's ability to not press a button in response to a stimulus, to the real-world, where the question is whether someone had requisite self-control not to tie up an innocent person and throw them off a bridge." Shen says. "I don't see neuroscience solving these big problems anytime soon, and so the question for law becomes: What do we do with this uncertainty? I think this is where we're at right now, and where we'll be for some time."

"With a few notable exceptions such as death penalty cases, cases where a juvenile is facing a very stiff sentence, and litigating brain injury claims, 'law and neuroscience' is not familiar to most lawyers," Shen says. "But this might change and soon." The ongoing work is vital, he says, for laying a foundation for a future that's yet to come, and he hopes that more neuroscientists will increasingly collaborate with legal scholars.

The symposium "Neuroscience and Law: Promise and Perils" takes place on April 16, 2013, at the 20th annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS). More than 1,400 scientists are atte
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Contact: Lisa M.P. Munoz
cns.publicaffairs@gmail.com
703-951-7331
Cognitive Neuroscience Society
Source:Eurekalert

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