What Neuroscience May Be Able to Tell Us about Criminal Behavior and Rehabilitation

Posted: 16 May 2009  

David M. Eagleman

Baylor College of Medicine

Date Written: May 20, 2009

Abstract

Emerging questions at the interface of law and neuroscience challenge several presumptions at the heart of the legal system. For example, under what circumstances is it a legitimate defense to claim that a brain tumor or idiosyncratic neural wiring was responsible for a behavior? Will neuroscience inform sentencing decisions by offering a better prediction of recidivism? Can novel neuroscience technologies be leveraged for new methods of rehabilitation? I will address these questions with a look toward what neuroscience may and many not be able to tell us about criminal behavior within the next decade. I will additionally cover preliminary experimental data from our novel strategy for real-time functional neuroimaging-based rehabilitation, which I will discuss on both scientific and ethical grounds. Finally, I will touch on Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law (www.NeuLaw.org), which brings together a unique collaboration of neurobiologists, legal scholars, and policy makers, with the goal of building modern, evidence-based policy.

Suggested Citation

Eagleman, David M., What Neuroscience May Be Able to Tell Us about Criminal Behavior and Rehabilitation (May 20, 2009). Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference 2009: Law, Behavior & the Brain. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1405305

David M. Eagleman (Contact Author)

Baylor College of Medicine ( email )

One Baylor Plaza
Houston, TX 77030
United States

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