What Neuroscience Can (and Cannot) Tell Us about Criminal Responsibility

Walter Glannon

in Law and Neuroscience

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599844
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725227 | DOI:

Series: Current Legal Issues

What Neuroscience Can (and Cannot) Tell Us about Criminal Responsibility

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This chapter presents eight cases to frame and discuss the question of how neuroscience, in the form of neuroimaging, can inform evaluations of people's actions in the criminal law realm. The discussion supports the view that neuroscience can inform but not determine judgments of criminal responsibility. The cases presented suggest that brain imaging may be more useful in assessing judgments of criminal negligence, less useful in cases of impulsive behaviour and psychopathy, and least useful in judgments of criminal intent. It cautions against falling prey to a so-called ‘brain overclaim syndrome’.

Keywords: neuroscience; neuroimaging; criminal law; judgements; criminal responsibility; criminal negligence; criminal intent

Chapter.  8352 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law

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