April 25 at AAAS: Neuroscience and the Law

April 18, 2013

April 18, 2013

Earl Lane
(202) 326-6431

April 25 at AAAS: Neuroscience and the Law

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Dana Foundation will host a discussion on "Neuroscience and the Law" from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the AAAS Auditorium, 12th and H Streets, N.W. Washington, D.C.

Research on the brain has shed new light on the relationship between our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Use of  brain scans and other types of neurological evidence is becoming more widespread in trials, and some experts predict they may someday transform judicial views of personal credibility and responsibility. The possible use of such tools in the courtroom raises serious issues for the law, from matters relating to the admissibility of evidence to decisions about criminal culpability. Speakers will address what neuroscience can and cannot tell us about human behavior; the ways in which neuroscience is entering the courtroom; and the challenges this emerging knowledge poses for the trier of fact.

The speakers are:

  • Dr. Steven E. Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Hyman, who is also a professor of stem cell and regenerative biology, will review the state of the science, particularly as it relates to potential uses in the courtroom.
  • Owen Jones, professor of law and of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University and director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience. Jones will discuss how the legal community has been responding to rapid advances in neuroscience.
  • Judge Barbara Rothstein, a visiting U.S. District Judge from the Western District of Washington state and past director of the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. Judge Rothstein will offer a judicial perspective on the use of neuroscience in court proceedings.
  • Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science. Leshner is a former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and also served as acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health. He will serve as moderator and lead a conversation with the other speakers. There also will be a question-and-answer period following the presentations.

For more information on the speakers, go to: http://srhrl.aaas.org/projects/science_society/neurosociety/law.shtml

The event is free and open to the public. RSVP at: https://www.signup4.net/Public/ap.aspx?EID=NEUR34E