University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar > Reconciling the opposing effects of neurobiological evidence on criminal sentencing judgments

Reconciling the opposing effects of neurobiological evidence on criminal sentencing judgments

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(Co-authored with Eyal Aharoni, Corey Allen, Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby and Gidon Felson)

Legal theorists have characterized physical evidence of brain dysfunction as a double-edged sword, wherein the very quality that reduces the defendant’s responsibility for his transgression could simultaneously increase motivations to punish him by virtue of his apparently increased dangerousness. However, empirical evidence of this pattern has been elusive, perhaps owing to a heavy reliance on singular measures that fail to distinguish between plural, often competing internal motivations for punishment. In this talk I will present a new study that employed a test of the theorized double-edge pattern using a novel approach designed to separate such motivations. This is the first study of its kind to quantitatively demonstrate the paradoxical effect of neuroscientific trial evidence and raises implications for how such evidence is presented and evaluated.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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