Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dec 10 - The Brain on Trial: How Neuroscience Challenges the Law as We Know It

Saturday, December 10, 2011, 1:30pm
National Science Foundation
Room 110
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA [map]

Mark Frankel, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Neuroscience has a lot to offer the law.  These include, for example, use for determining whether a person is competent to stand trial or sign a contract, whether brain dysfunction is a mitigating factor in applying capital punishment, whether future dangerousness is predictable, and whether an adolescent brain is mature enough to merit certain types of punishment. It also holds out the promise that it may help distinguish false memories from true memories, enhance memory, ascertain truth, detect deception, and reveal lies. So one might reasonably ask, is the law ready for neuroscience? To some extent, that question can be asked of any new research finding in science or technological development. But so much that neuroscience relates to—memory, truth telling, impulse control, empathy, reasoning, consciousness, and behavior—are core concepts that underlie enduring legal principles and play important roles in the administration of justice.  This presentation will describe a range of uses, realized and potential, for neuroscience in the law, and assess the challenges such uses pose for the law.

As Director of the Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Frankel has supervised the production of such resources as, Neuroscience and the Law: Brain, Mind, and the Scales of Justice (2004); Human Inheritable Genetic Modifications: Assessing Scientific, Ethical, Religious, and Policy Issues (2000); Stem Cell Research Applications: Monitoring the Frontiers of Biomedical Research (1999). Frankel’s research includes studying the impact of information technology on human subjects; developing a research agenda for the US voting system; efforts to promote research integrity; and the legal implications of advances in genetics and neuroscience. Frankel earned his B.A. in political science from Emory University, and his Ph.D. in political science (concentration in science policy) from George Washington University.

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members.
Refreshments and socializing after the talk.

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