The neurobiology of violence: Science and law

Colin Campbell and Nigel Eastman

in I Know What You're Thinking

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596492
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191745669 | DOI:
The neurobiology of violence: Science and law

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This chapter discusses a range of scientific studies that have used imaging technology to examine the brain structures and functions of so-called ‘anti-social’ populations. It points to the extreme difficulty in extrapolating, from this research, any facts that would be relevant to the mental state of an individual ‘anti-social’ defendant, especially in relation to an offence allegedly committed at a specific time and in specific circumstances. More broadly, the chapter emphasizes the conceptual and methodological difficulties involved in any attempt to ‘translate’ neuroscientific findings into terms that are fit for purpose by the law, and warns against the risk that efforts in this domain will serve illiberal socio-political agenda.

Keywords: law; anti-social behaviour; brain structures; mental states

Chapter.  7571 words. 

Subjects: Neuroscience

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