Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:08pm BST
Insight - Neuroscience in court: My brain made me do it
"He was once a respected pediatrician, loved by patients and their parents for over 30 years. Now DM faces trial for pedophilia [sic], accused of making sexual advances towards little girls in his care.
Scientific experts will argue in court that his damaged brain made him do it, and his lawyers will ask for leniency.
It's the latest example of how neuroscience - the science of the brain and how it works - is taking the stand and beginning to challenge society's notions of crime and punishment.
The issue has been thrown into the spotlight by new technologies, like structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scans and DNA analysis, that can help pinpoint the biological basis of mental disorders.
A series of recent studies has established that psychopathic rapists and murderers have distinct brain structures that show up when their heads are scanned using MRI.
And in the United States, two companies, one called No Lie MRI and another called Cephos Corp, are advertising lie-detection services using fMRI to lawyers and prosecutors."
Neuroscience in court: Can we blame the brain?