Over the past decade, the ability of neuroscience to explain, measure, and predict behavior and cognition has expanded tremendously. While still in its infancy, neuroscience gives us an opportunity to understand individual behavior at the level of cells and genes. Not surprisingly, this new knowledge has drawn attention from lawmakers and legal scholars. This course will cover emerging issues in the integration of law and neuroscience. Readings for the course will be split evenly between neuroscience primary literature and legal materials (cases and scholarship). The course assumes no background in law and all legal concepts will be introduced before readings are distributed.
Course Structure and Grading
Each week the instructor will lead discussions in which background concepts related to law and neurobiology are introduced to the class. Readings will then be discussed by the class, with the discussion dynamically moderated by the instructor. Every two weeks, students will be required to submit an extension project which both synthesizes concepts from the previous week’s material and also extends the discussion to an area of particular interest to the student. The assignment requires students to apply their previous knowledge and independent research skills in generating a novel response to a question arising from the course material. Each extension project will be graded for accuracy, novelty, and thoroughness of the research approach.