chapter  4
18 Pages

Brain in the Balance: Neuroimaging in the Courtroom

ByDaniel S. Barron, Spencer Higgins, Alexander Westphal

In this chapter, we discuss the use of neuroscience in the courtroom with particular attention to brain imaging, or neuroimaging. Because neuroimaging measures brain structure and function, it has been applied as legal evidence in assessing criminal behavior and moral responsibility. Aft er briefl y discussing some of these applications, we discuss the legal, philosophical, and scientifi c admissibility of neuroimaging: in Legal Admissibility we review relevant rules of evidence and case law; in Philosophical Admissibility we explain how the court’s view of free will may be unhelpful in assessing criminal behavior and moral responsibility, arguing for an approach based on cognitive neuroscience; in Scientifi c Admissibility we review neuroimaging’s theoretical headwaters, as much to showcase its strengths as its limitations. Our overarching goal is to present a pathology-based framework rooted in neuroscience that could help guide legal deliberations.