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. 2017 Nov 8;11:621.
doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00621. eCollection 2017.

Integrating Brain Science and Law: Neuroscientific Evidence and Legal Perspectives on Protecting Individual Liberties

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Integrating Brain Science and Law: Neuroscientific Evidence and Legal Perspectives on Protecting Individual Liberties

Calvin J Kraft et al. Front Neurosci. .
Free PMC article


Advances in neuroscientific techniques have found increasingly broader applications, including in legal neuroscience (or "neurolaw"), where experts in the brain sciences are called to testify in the courtroom. But does the incursion of neuroscience into the legal sphere constitute a threat to individual liberties? And what legal protections are there against such threats? In this paper, we outline individual rights as they interact with neuroscientific methods. We then proceed to examine the current uses of neuroscientific evidence, and ultimately determine whether the rights of the individual are endangered by such approaches. Based on our analysis, we conclude that while federal evidence rules constitute a substantial hurdle for the use of neuroscientific evidence, more ethical safeguards are needed to protect against future violations of fundamental rights. Finally, we assert that it will be increasingly imperative for the legal and neuroscientific communities to work together to better define the limits, capabilities, and intended direction of neuroscientific methods applicable for use in law.

Keywords: cognitive liberty; freedom of thought; legal neuroscience; neuroevidence; neuroimaging; neurolaw; privacy.

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