Chapter

“Who knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men?”: Behavioral Genomics, Neuroscience, Criminal Law, and the search for Hidden Knowledge

Henry T. Greely

in The Impact of Behavioral Sciences on Criminal Law

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780195340525
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199867219 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195340525.003.0006
 “Who knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men?”: Behavioral Genomics, Neuroscience, Criminal Law, and the search for Hidden Knowledge

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This chapter explores the differences between the implications of behavioral genomics and neuroscience for criminal justice. It focuses on how the consequences of possible neuroscientific methods differ from those of behavioral genomics. It first sketches the sciences involved and some of their plausible technological applications to criminal justice. It then analyzes some general ways in which neuroscience is likely to have different effects from those of behavioral genomics. Finally, it contrasts the likely power of neuroscience with that of behavioral genomics in two specific aspects of the criminal justice system: deciding who did it and then determining what to do with him. It argues that in the context of criminal law, neither science is likely to provide much help in determining, based on their predispositions, who committed a crime. Neuroscience, however, may well answer other important questions in solving crimes. Both behavioral genomics and neuroscience will provide some information useful, at least occasionally, for determining responsibility, sentencing, or “treatment” of criminal behaviors. For the most part, however weak or strong behavioral genomics will be, neuroscience is likely to be stronger.

Keywords: behavioral genomics; criminal justice system; neuroscience; solving crimes

Chapter.  8854 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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