A new report sponsored by the Dana Foundation titled Neuroscience and the Law: Brain, Mind, and the Scales of Justice examines the legal issues raised by advances in the study of the human brain, including free will, cognitive enhancement, lie detection, and behavior prediction.

Predicting the future is always a challenge, since one must speculate on both the direction that advances in science and technology will take and on what the impacts of such innovations will be. Among the questions raised by the participants are:

– How will advances in neuroscientific methods for predicting behavior impact the legal system, and how will our society use these advances?
– What would neuroscience-based lie detection mean for witnesses testifying in court?
– How might neuroscientific knowledge put people at risk for discrimination in schools, the workplace, and elsewhere?
– Are there either benefits or risks to justice and society from enhancing or modifying one’s brain through pharmacological or other technologies?
– What roles will the legal system play in the societal debate over human enhancement?

Click here for a complimentary 30 page summary of the report. If this topic interests you I recommend visiting these three excellent sources of information on neuropolicy and neuroethics: Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavior, and Stanford’s Center for Neuroethics.

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