Applications of Neuroscience in Criminal Law: Legal and Methodological Issues
Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, Vol. 15, Pg. 513 (2015 Forthcoming)
10 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 5, 2014
The use of neuroscience in criminal law applications is an increasingly discussed topic among legal and psychological scholars. Over the past 5 years, several prominent federal criminal cases have referenced neuroscience studies and made admissibility determinations regarding neuroscience evidence. Despite this growth, the field is exceptionally young, and no one knows for sure how significant of a contribution neuroscience will make to criminal law. This article focuses on three major subfields: (1) neuroscience-based credibility assessment, which seeks to detect lies or knowledge associated with a crime; (2) application of neuroscience to aid in assessments of brain capacity for culpability, especially among adolescents; and (3) neuroscience-based prediction of future recidivism. The article briefly reviews these fields as applied to criminal law and makes recommendations for future research, calling for the increased use of individual-level data and increased realism in laboratory studies.
Keywords: Law and neuroscience, Concealed information test, Control question test, P300, ERP, fMRI, Development, Recidivism, Courts, Crime
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