Many fundamental legal concepts are built upon mental constructs, such as the reasonable person and the rational actor. Law also relies on concepts of mind to analyze competency and mental states, and to make predictions about future behavior. Do the approaches to and assumptions about mind and behavior in these different areas of law cohere into a “model of mind”? How can contemporary neuroscience contribute to the law’s understanding of models of mind?
This course will explore recent advances in neuroscience (most notably, neuroimaging) to explore how the law relies on implicit models of mind and how neuroscience can be used to refine these models. Students will gain an understanding of how fMRI, PET, and other brain images are created and interpreted. Research on “mind reading,” “lie detection,” moral conflict, gender and brain difference, and psychopathy will be reviewed. The course will conclude by asking whether neuroscience can or should be used to help devise a general model of mind to inform the design of legal institutions.
Students will write short response papers and a final paper based on class readings. With instructor permission, a paper written for this seminar may be used to satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement
Current & Previous Instructors:
Amanda C. Pustilnik;
|542Q (CRN: ) Credits: 3|
Spring, 2016 (Day).