My brain made me do it: Neuroscience and behavioral genetics in court

Several years ago, Ars looked at the role of neuroscience in crime. Since then, the scientific community has continued to learn about how brain abnormalities or dysfunctions can affect reasoning and behavioral traits, and certain gene variants like monoamine oxidase have been linked to violent behavior.But correlation isn’t the same as causation, and many of those correlations fall well short of 100 percent linkage. So, while biologically reductionist arguments like “my brain made me do it” can be appealing, scientists know that in the real world things are a lot more complex. Nevertheless, neuroscience is increasingly being used as evidence in the criminal justice system. Nita Farahany, a professor of law and philosophy at Duke University, has now conducted a systematic study of how neuroscience ends up being used in the courthouse. Starting with over…


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