Neuroscientific evidence is increasingly reaching United States courtrooms in a number of legal contexts. And the emerging field of Law and Neuroscience is being built on a foundation that joins: a) rapidly developing technologies and techniques of neuroscience; b) quickly expanding legal scholarship on the implications of neuroscience; and c) neuroscientific research designed specifically to explore legally relevant topics.
Despite the sharply increasing interest in neuroscientific evidence, it remains unclear how the legal system – at the courtroom, regulatory, and policy levels – will resolve the many challenges that new neuroscience applications raise.
This chapter – part of an edited volume surveying neurolaw in 18 countries – provides an overview of notable neurolaw developments in the United States through 2011. The chapter proceeds in six parts. Section 1 introduces the development of law and neuroscience in the U.S. Section 2 then considers several of the evidentiary contexts in which neuroscientific evidence has been, and likely will be, introduced. Sections 3 and 4 discuss the implications of neuroscience for the criminal and civil systems, respectively. Section 5 reviews three special topics: lie detection, memory, and legal decision making. Section 6 concludes with brief thoughts about the future of law and neuroscience in the United States.
Suggested Citation: Jones, Owen D. and Shen, Francis X., Law and Neuroscience in the United States (October 15, 2011). INTERNATIONAL NEUROLAW: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS, p. 349, T.M. Spranger, ed., Springer-Verlag, 2012; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 1-5. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2001085
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