Neuroscience Has An Important (But Complicated) Place In The Courtroom

As our understanding of the brain advances, neuroscience is coming to hold an increasingly important but complicated place in the courtroom.  In more than 1,500 court cases in the U.S. between 2007 and 2012, judicial opinions were influenced by brain science evidence — double the amount from the five years earlier. Of those cases, 40 percent were for capital murder.  For instance, brain imaging is often used to argue for a lesser sentence, to suggest that the defendant was unable to control his or her actions and therefore should not be held fully accountable. On the other hand, this evidence can also be used to suggest that a person is aggressive by nature and a threat to society.  Consider the following real-life case: 16-year-old Christopher Tiegreen was a friendly, normal…


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