Does Neuroscientific Evidence Bias Legal Decision-Making? Some Preliminary Findings

$38.56 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Buy Article:


Findings from neuroscience research are increasingly advancing our understandings of the neural correlates of human behaviour, cognition and emotion. These findings are beginning to gain visibility in the legal system, including the courtroom. To an increasing extent, judges are being confronted with neuroscientific evidence concerning the degree to which the suspect should be held criminally responsible, the likelihood of future offending and the presence of emotional pain. By directly measuring brain activity, neurotechnologies hold the promise of increasing the quality of evidence in legal proceedings, and could therefore be of great value to the legal system. However, such practice has important implications including the possibility that neuroscientific evidence is overly persuasive and thereby unduly affects legal decision-making. The presentation of visual information, i.e. brain images, may even increase this effect. In fact, several researchers have recently raised the concern that neuroscientific evidence, especially brain images, may be perceived in court without sufficient critical appraisal and should therefore be inadmissible in court. However, there is currently limited empirical support for this claim, which raises the risk of drawing premature and invalid conclusions regarding the responsible use of neuroscientific evidence in the courtroom. The present paper discusses the findings of recent studies on the influence of neuroscience information on people's perceptions and presents some preliminary empirical findings concerning the effect of neuroscientific evidence on legal decision-making.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Stem cell research, cloning, GMOs ... How do regulations effect such emerging technologies? What impact do new technologies have on law? And can we rely on technology itself as a regulatory tool?

    The meeting of law and technology is rapidly becoming an increasingly significant (and controversial) topic. Law, Innovation and Technology is, however, the only journal to engage fully with it, setting an innovative and distinctive agenda for lawyers, ethicists and policy makers. Spanning ICTs, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, neurotechnologies, robotics and AI, it offers a unique forum for the highest level of reflection on this essential area.

  • Editorial Board
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Email alerts (Hart books and journals)
  • Sample Paper
  • Publisher's Website
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
Related content



Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more