JUL 16, 2018 05:46 AM PDT

Neuroscience and the Legal System.

In a court of law, it’s all about the evidence. Whether criminal or civil, the outcome of any legal proceeding must be based on what was presented as admissible evidence. While competency, mental health, and other neurological issues are considered, most of the evidence in courtrooms that relates to neuroscience comes from psychological testimony by experts or from doctors who have treated a defendant. The problem with this kind of evidence is that it can be interpreted in different ways. For neurological issues, a better way would be to use imaging. CT scans, MRIs, and other brain imaging methods can show the location of a tumor, abnormalities in brain structure or evidence of traumatic brain injury. Those types of images are objective, what you see is what is there, rather than hearing testimony on what one person believes might be the cause of certain behaviors.

The technology isn’t perfect, however. One example is the use of polygraphs or lie-detector tests. While they measure heart rate, pulse and blood pressure and changes in these measurements can be an indicator of lying, the correlation isn’t 100%. The same with some imaging results. While fMRI scans can detect brain changes when a person tells a lie, anyone who is convinced that what they are saying is true, will not show those changes. The field of “neurolaw” is still new and doesn't quite answer all of these questions. While there have been advances in the technology, there are still a lot of unknowns. 

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
OCT 26, 2018
Videos
OCT 26, 2018
Making water out of thin air
The Water Abundance XPRIZE is a two-year competition aimed at encouraging scientists, engineers, and dreamers alike to invent solutions to the global water...
NOV 06, 2018
Videos
NOV 06, 2018
Towards a Universal Flu Vaccine
Researchers have to design a new flu vaccine every year. But there are efforts to create a vaccine that works against all strains....
NOV 16, 2018
Videos
NOV 16, 2018
Greenland's Ice Hides a Massive, Ancient Impact Crater
A giant space rock once slammed into what is now Greenland. The rock is believed to be a rare iron asteroid capable of leaving such a massive dent on Earth...
NOV 18, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 18, 2018
All About NASA's Plan to Drill Deeper Into Mars Than Ever Before
When NASA’s InSight lander arrives at Mars, it will land near the planet’s equator at Elysium Planitia. This location is flat, which is ideal f...
NOV 19, 2018
Videos
NOV 19, 2018
The Amazon's worst enemy
Brazil has a new leader, and he could be the Amazon’s biggest enemy yet. President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to sell off large portions of the rainf...
NOV 20, 2018
Videos
NOV 20, 2018
Legal marijuana sales begin today in MA
Massachusetts opened its first dispensaries for legal recreational marijuana sales today. The companies, one called Cultivate Holdings in Leicester and ano...
Loading Comments...