In recent years, brain science has been finding its way into the courtroom. Lawyers have attempted to use brain scans to prove that their client is telling the truth. Others have argued that convicted killers should receive a more lenient sentence because genetic variations or brain abnormalities predisposed them to violence. Last year, the Supreme Court cited brain research in a decision banning life sentences for most juvenile criminals. How solid is the science behind these arguments? Do scientists and judges have different standards for weighing the evidence? And what is the outlook for the impact of neuroscience on the legal system?
Join us for a live chat on this page at 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday, 15 September, to ask law professor Owen Jones and cognitive neuroscientist Martha Farah about the promise and perils of using brain science in the name of justice. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts.
Owen D. Jones
Owen D. Jones is Professor of Law & Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University, where he Directs the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience. His work focuses on behavioral biology and neuroscience relevant to law.
Martha J. Farah
Martha J. Farah is a cognitive neuroscientist who directs the Center for Neuroscience & Society at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on the many ways in which brain imaging, psychopharmacology and other neurotechnologies are changing society, including the legal system.