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My Brain Made Me Do It

The cornerstone of our legal system is free will: anyone who is not insane is accountable for crimes ranging from tax evasion to murder. But an emerging body of science is challenging that notion, using brain scans and genetic testing to suggest that some people may be born criminals. Does neuroscience really support the idea that some people can’t help but break the law? What happens if we can detect criminal propensity in toddlers? Should criminals diagnosed as psychopaths spend less time in prison because it’s not their fault, or additional time because they are more likely to act again? And what happens to our basic legal framework if almost any defendant can say, “My brain made me do it”?

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12:00 p.m. – Actions Speak Louder than Images
     Stephen J. Morse
     Associate Director, Center for Neuroscience & Society, University of Pennsylvania
     Law School

12:15 p.m. – Does the Brain Scan Tell All?
     Kent Kiehl
     Associate Professor of Psychology, University of New Mexico

     Kayla Pope
     Director of Neurobehavioral Research, Boys Town National Research Hospital

     Sally Satel
     Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
     Psychiatrist, Partners in Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation Counseling

     Laura Helmuth
     Science and Health Editor, Slate

1:15 p.m. – Empathy and the Adolescent Brain
     Abigail Marsh
     Assistant Professor of Psychology,Georgetown University

1:30 p.m. – Not Guilty By Reason of Biology

     Gary Marchant
     Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law, and Ethics; Sandra Day O’Connor
     College of Law, Arizona State University

     Hank Greely
     Director, Center for Law and the Biosciences; Director, Stanford Interdisciplinary
     Group on Neuroscience and Society; Stanford Law School

     Jeff Rosen
     Professor of Law, George Washington University
     Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic

2:15 p.m. – Coffee and conversation

Event Time and Location

Monday, October 22, 2012 - 12:00pm - 3:00pm
New America Foundation
1899 L Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

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Event Photos

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