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Neuroscience in the Courtroom - Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, Inc.

Neuroscience in the Courtroom

$ 45.00

  • Author: William R. Uttal
  • ISBN 10: 1-933264-38-1
  • ISBN 13: 978-1933264-38-7
  • Copyright Date Ed:  September 1, 2008
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Binding Information: Paperback
  • Size: 6 ✕ 9 Inches (US)

Reading a person’s mind is often attempted in legal cases. There are many legal and ethical questions surrounding these attempts and the science behind them. Neuroscience in the Courtroom presents the most current research in the neuroscience area as it relates to the legal arena. In this text you will learn about the distinctions between the brain and the mind. You will also be introduced to the most recent research on detecting deception, control of aggression and the brain, cognitive disorders and brain adaptations, ethics and reliability and validation of testing and studies, and more. Actual science is distinguished from pseudo-science . This text discusses the scientific validity of information from this research as it relates to use in the courtroom. The author, William R. Uttal, also compares the results to the standards for scientific evidence presented in trial set by the Frye and Daubert criteria. He also makes recommendations as to whether or not this type of information should be admissible in court at this time. This book is an excellent starting point for any legal professional looking to understand the human mind and how research on it has impacted today’s court proceedings and evidence presented.

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Topics include:

  • The mind
  • The brain
  • Challenges to reading the mind
  • Detection of deception
  • Brain imaging
  • Neuropsyhchology
  • Neuropsyhcological testing
  • Aggression
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Mental illness
  • Multifactorial nature of behavior
  • Ethics
  • Admissibility in court
  • And more

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: What is the Mind?
1.1 Introduction
1.2 A Short History of the Mind
1.3 What are the Major Challenges to Mind Reading in the Courtroom?
A. Inaccessibility
B. Irreducibility and Modularity
C. Complexity
D. Stochastic Nature of Mind
E. Explanation and Description

Chapter 2: What is the Brain?
2.1 Introduction
2.2 A Short History of the Brain
2.3 Theories of How the Mind is Produced by the Brain
2.4 Brain Imaging Methods
A. Positron Emission Tomography
B. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
2.5 The Analysis of fMRI Data
2.6 On Variability and Reliability

Chapter 3: Brain Images and the Detection of Deception
3.1 Introduction
3.2 A History of Lie Detection
3.3 A Meta-Review of the Empirical Literature Supposedly Supporting the Use of Brain Imaging as a Lie Detector
A. Spence, Farrow, Herford, Wilkinson, Zheng, and Woodruff (2001)
B. Langleben, Schroeder, Maldjian, Gur, McDonald, Ragland, O’Brien, and Childres (2002)
C. Lee, Liu, Tan, Chan, Mahankali, Feng, Hou, Fox, and Gao (2002)
D. Ganis, Kosslyn, Stose, Thompson, and Yurgelun-Todd (2003)
E. Spence, Hunter, Farrow, Green, Leung, Hughes, and Ganesan (2004)
F. Kozel, Revell, Loberbaum, Shastri, Elhai, Horner, Smith, Nahas, Bohning, and George (2004)
G. Kozel, Padgett, and George (2004)
H. Kozel, Johnson, Mu, Grenesko, Laken, and George (2005)
I. Langleben, Loughhead, Bilker, Rupare, Childress, Busch, and Gur (2005)
J. Davatzikos, Ruparel, Fan, Shen, Acharyya, Loughhead, Gur, Langleben (2005)
K. Phan, Magalhaes, Ziemlewicz, Fitzgerald, Green, and Smith (2005)
L. Lee, Liu, Chan, Ng, Fox, and Gao (2005)
M. Nunez, Casey, Egner, Hare, Hirsch (2005)
N. Abe, Suzuki, Tsukiura, Mori, Yamaguchi, Itoh, and Fujii (2006)
O. Grezes, Berthoz, and Passingham (2006)
P. Mohamed, Faro, Gordon, Platek, Ahmed, and Williams (2006)
3.4 A Summary of the Sixteen Experiments on Brain Images and Lie Detection
A. Which Areas are Identified as the Point of Maximum Activity?
B. What Areas, Other than Maximum Peaks, Are Involved?
C. Some Inescapable Conclusions
3.5 Evaluation of the Use of Brain Images as Lie Detectors
A. There is No Single Place or Group of Places that Has Been Empirically Associated with Deception or Any Other Mental Process
B. Brain Images Do Not Measure Mental Activity Any More Directly Than Does the Polygraph
C. Lying or Deception is an Ill-Defined Process Probably Composed of Many Different Mental Processes
D. Validity of the Measures
E. Practical Problems
3.6 Interim Conclusions

Chapter 4: The Brain and the Control of Aggression
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Who are the Neuropsychologists?
A. Neuropsychologists
B. Forensic Neuropsychologists
C. Cognitive Neuroscientists (Physiological Psychologists)
D. Psychiatrists (Biological and Functional)
E. Neurologists
4.3 What is Neuropsychology?
A. Case Studies
4.4 The Problems of Neuropsychological Test Reliability and Validation
A. Neuropsychological Tests
B. Reliability
C. Validity
4.5 Classic Physiological Psychology and Definitions of Aggression
4.6 A Traditional History of Brain Mechanisms of Aggression and Violence
4.7 The Modern Empirical Literature on Aggression
A. The Limbic System
B. The Papez Circuit
4.8 Human Aggression and Brain Mechanisms
4.9 Interim Conclusions

Chapter 5: The Neuroscience of Cognitive Dysfunction
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Some Caveats
A. Prematurity and a Lack of Robust Replication
B. Legal Culpability in the Face of Neuroscientific Findings
C. Variability
D. The Multifactorial Nature of Behavior
E. Differing Standards and Criteria
F. Linguistic Confusions
5.3 Some Plausible Relations of Mental Dysfunction and Neuroscience
A. Cognitive Deficits Attributable to Brain Deficits: The Agnosias, Aphasias, Amnesias, and Apraxias
B. Consciousness and Coma States
C. Brain Death
5.4 When "Neuroscience" is not Neuroscience
A. Mental Illness
B. Other Behavioral Mysteries Lacking a Neuroscientific Foundation
5.5 Interim Conclusions

Chapter 6: Some Concluding and Summarizing Comments
6.1 Introduction
6.2 What is the Current State of Cognitive Neuroscience Theory?
6.3 Ethics

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Enrico Pelazzo
Forensic Teacher Magazine

We all have a brain, and we all have a mind. However, the author begins this book by noting there isnt now, nor has there ever been, a way of examining the brain and knowing whats going on in the mind of an individual. MRI scans, PET studies, and gut feelings of knowing what someone is thinking can never convey what is going on in someones mind. And this can be problem for lawyers. The first two chapters are concerned with the mind and the brain respectively. The author shows how and why it is impossible to look at a persons behavior and be able to discern the underlying mental processes that spurred that behavior. Thus, a persons mind cannot be read despite mathematical theory, laboratory experimentation, introspective report, or behavioral observation. The brain, however, has been documented for thousands of years, but understood in structural terms for much less than that. Many theories exist about how the brain produces the mind, but all suffer from limitations. The next chapter discusses lie detectors and the mental process of lying. The author notes that brain imaging during the act of deception is no more accurate than the polygraph because no particular brain region is responsible for the process of lying. Chapter Four discusses that our knowledge about the role of particular brain regions in determining aggressive behavior is inconsistent and incomplete. Chapter Five examines why the neuroscience of cognitive dysfunction still does not meet the Daubert criteria, for ADD, PTSD, and other examples of cognitive dysfunction of interest to both cognitive neuroscientists and the law. A fascinating chapter, it also examines mental illness. Chapter Six sums up the findings in the book and notes the difficulties of applying cognitive neuroscience to the courtroom because of the danger of judicial misuse by premature, fallacious, and pseudoscientific findings and theories. The authors purpose is to address the technical issues concerning how the brain and mind are related, and how this information may or may not be applied to the courtroom. He notes the list of ethical issues is long, and the dichotomy between theoretical and empirical knowledge in this field is so vast as to make its introduction into legal proceedings little more than a smokescreen to shift responsibility from the individual to an organic condition. When I initially saw this book my first thought was that it dealt with the mind, lying, and testimony from a scientific standpoint. It does. My second thought was to substitute the word "Classroom" for "Courtroom" and "Teacher" for "Lawyer". The gist of the book remained the same, and its a very interesting examination of the concept of truth, whether in the courtroom or the classroom, especially since the vocabulary of neuroscientists and lawyers often differ in meaning for the same words.; The book is well thought out, extensively documented, and, while it doesnt apply so much to the classroom, it does offer a fascinating, step-by-step examination of the legal and scientific issues of defining if the mind can be read.

Jack A. Gottschalk, JD, MSM, MA
The Journal of Psychiatry and Law

This is the latest in a long list of books by this author. The audience for the book will consist principally of trial attorneys, law school professors, judges and, to some extent neuroscience professionals. ... The theme and purpose of the book are to set out the myths and truths about the mind, the brain, and related subjects briefly at the begining of each chapter, and then to explore those myths and truths at length later in the chapter. ... The author saves some of his most significant observations for the latter part of the book. There he criticizes the drug companies for the manner in which there product are created for use in psychiatry and neuropshychiatry. ... Dr Uttal also raises the releventquestion about whether or not several well-known psychiatric "dissorders are actually "diseases." These include autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ("ADHD"), and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD"). ... It is Obvious that a great deal of effort went into creating this book, and it should be considered a scholarly contribution to knowledge. Despite this reviewer's criticisms of this thought-provoking book, it is a "must read" for those with a serious interest in the field of neuroscience and its application to the law.

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