Chapter

Pathways to Persuasion: How Neuroscience Can Inform the Study and Practice of Law<sup>†</sup>

Cheryl Boudreau, Seana Coulson and Mathew D. McCubbins

in Law and Neuroscience

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599844
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725227 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599844.003.0020

Series: Current Legal Issues

Pathways to Persuasion: How Neuroscience Can Inform the Study and Practice of Law†

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This chapter examines how neuroscience can inform the study and practice of law. It begins with a brief overview of the EEG experiments that were used to study the behavioural and neural correlates of persuasion. It then describes the hypotheses, as well as the data and methods that used to test them. Next, experimental results on subjects' decisions, reaction times, and brain activity are summarized. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the substantive and methodological implications that the research has for debates about persuasion in courtroom settings. Specifically, it emphasizes that the experiments show the value of tying together both behavioural results and brain data in analyses of persuasion and trust. Although the study represents only a first step in this endeavour, future research on persuasion (and other topics of interest to legal scholars) can potentially benefit from simultaneously assessing behaviour and brain activity.

Keywords: neuroscience; legal practice; persuasion; study of law

Chapter.  5976 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law

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