Strategic Mechanisms, Functional Modeling and Experimental Design in Neurolaw
Oliver R. Goodenough
Vermont Law School; Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society
August 3, 2009
Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 10-15
CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper
This paper has four goals. The first is to provide an overview of the emerging sub-discipline of “Neurolaw.” Incorporating the insights of neuroscience into legal analysis and policy-setting is a rapidly expanding enterprise.
The second goal is to focus on game theory and mechanism design, which provide useful analytic starting points for applying cognitive neuroscience in a social context. This leads to the third goal. This paper suggests that the formal structures of the mechanisms of sociality may be represented in the structures of the cognitive processes which implement them. I do not mean to suggest that there is a simple and direct homology between such mechanisms and any particular physical structures within the brain. It is widely recognized, however, that the brain is a computational device, and the brain processes which carry out a particular type of computation will necessarily reflect the requirements of the computation being made.
Finally, the paper suggests an application of this mechanism-based approach to a particular instance: understanding the nature of human moral commitment.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: Neurolaw; Neuroscience, Mechanism Design, Moral Sentiments, Law, Moral Commitment, Game Theory
JEL Classification: K00working papers series
Date posted: August 7, 2009 ; Last revised: October 6, 2009
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