Law and Cognitive Neuroscience

Posted: 14 Nov 2010

Date Written: December 2010


Law and neuroscience (sometimes neurolaw) has become a recognized field of study. The advances of neuroscience are proving useful in solving some perennial challenges of legal scholarship and are leading to applications in law and policy. While caution is appropriate in considering neurolaw approaches, the new knowledge should - and will - be put to use. Areas of special attention in current neurolaw scholarship include (a) techniques for the objective investigation of subjective states such as pain, memory, and truth-telling; (b) evidentiary issues for admitting neuroscience facts and approaches into a court proceeding; (c) free will, responsibility, moral judgment, and punishment; (d) juvenile offenders; (e) addiction; (f) mental health; (g) bias; (h) emotion; and (i) the neuroeconomics of decision making and cooperation. The future of neurolaw will be more productive if challenges to collaboration between lawyers and scientists can be resolved.

Suggested Citation

Goodenough, Oliver R. and Tucker, Micaela, Law and Cognitive Neuroscience (December 2010). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 6, pp. 61-92, 2010, Available at SSRN: or

Oliver R. Goodenough (Contact Author)

Vermont Law School ( email )

164 Chelsea Street
P.O. Box 96
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States
802 831 1231 (Phone)


Micaela Tucker

Vermont Law School ( email )

68 North Windsor Street
P.O. Box 60
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States

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