Toward a Better Understanding of the Relationship Between Neurosciences and Law

22 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2013 Last revised: 1 Oct 2014

See all articles by Armando da Rocha

Armando da Rocha

Research on Artificial and Natural Intelligence (RANI)

Date Written: August 20, 2013


Neurosciences and Law as an interdisciplinary field of science, has recently attracted attention of many scholars by distinct motives. Hopes that brain mapping could be of help for court decisions at one side, are contrasted with ethical concerns about using neurosciences tests for evaluating liability at the other side. Despite its impressive development in the last half century, Neurosciences lacks well supported and formalized theories to guide experimental studies about complex cognitive tasks. This limits the impact any contribution of this new interdisciplinary area may have in the present and near future. Therefore, it is necessary to start to build a solid formal knowledge that will correctly guide future work in this new and very important area of research. The purpose of the present paper is to contribute to the development of this formal knowledge, by discussing how knowledge provided by neurosciences may contribute to the understanding of some concepts such as action adequacy and fairness; altruism and selfishness, personal and social conflict, etc. that are at the core of any law system. In addition, the study of brain activity associated with vote decision in Brazilian Firearm Commerce Prohibition carried out by Rocha et. al. (2010) is discussed to illustrate the present proposal.

Keywords: EEG, brain mapping, decision making, benefit, risk, fairness, willingness to act

Suggested Citation

da Rocha, Armando, Toward a Better Understanding of the Relationship Between Neurosciences and Law (August 20, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Armando Da Rocha (Contact Author)

Research on Artificial and Natural Intelligence (RANI) ( email )

Rua Tenente Ary Aps, 172
Jundiai, 13207-110

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