“Neurolaw” - A meeting of the minds on brain and law
This emerging area of work was coined “neurolaw” in 1991, and has been bringing together interdisciplinary teams of neuroscientists, scholars, lawyers and judges to explore and deliberate where the science of the brain and the principles of justice intersect. As the understanding of the brain becomes greater, many new questions with potentially game-changing answers arise. How can assemblies of brain cells and the inter-actions between them lead to notions of guilt and punishment? What is the role of our genes and our brains in the courtroom? Will neuroscience change how we feel about criminal responsibility? How is eyewitness testimony affected by aging, neurologic and psychiatric conditions? What can courts and other justice system participants learn from neuroscience to improve eyewitness reliability, including lineup procedures, jury instructions and the use of expert witnesses? How does popular culture affect public perceptions of the meaning of moral and legal responsibility? The answers to these questions, and many more, have great potential to influence how we, as a society, deliver justice and punishment.