criminal law; neuroscience; neurolaw


This Article speculates on the course of neuroscience-as-proof with an eye toward the actual admissibility standards that will govern the acceptance of such evidence by courts, not just as a matter of formal law but also as a function of historical custom. Given the legal system’s spotty record with scientific evidence—which is to say, both the demonstrated willingness of the system to admit unproven “science” or to exclude evidence despite a seemingly adequate scientific foundation—the trajectory of neuroscience in the courts cannot be predicted simply by asking about its scientific legitimacy in the abstract. Rather, an observer must ponder whether patterns of admissibility long evident in criminal and civil courts will persevere with respect to neuroscientific proof.