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Law and Neuroscience: Our Growing Understanding of the Human Brain and its Impact on our Legal System

Location Acquafredda di Maratea, Italy
Date 26 - 31 October 2009
Calendar file .vcs  .ics

In the past two decades, the field of Cognitive Science has made significant progress in understanding the human brain. Many expect that this research will make further strides over the next decade. And many suggest that this knowledge could have a profound impact on the future of our legal system and legal practice.

There has been much speculation over whether developments in neuroscience will overturn legal paradigms (e.g. by shattering the concept of free will). This conference will sidestep such speculations to address empirical evidence and current research on the likely impacts of neuroscience on legal practice, with a specific focus on European legal systems.

Discussion topics included:

  • The legal and societal impact of developing accurate neuroscience-based lie detectors;
  • The role of cognitive science in determining competencies and legal capacities;
  • The role of the legal system in the debate on cognitive enhancement;
  • The risk of discrimination based on neuroscientifc information;
  • Privacy and confidentiality issues surrounding neuroscientific data.

The conference established a dialogue between neuroscientists, legal practitioners, researchers in sociolegal studies and social scientists, to further mutual understanding and made some realistic evaluations of the potential developments at the intersection of neuroscience and law.

Invited Speakers

  • Roger Brownsword, Kings College, UK
  • Avshalom Caspi, Duke University, US – London Institute of Psychiatry, UK
  • Lisa Claydon, University of the West of England, UK
  • Nigel L.G. Eastman, St. Georges Hospital Medical School, UK
  • Mark Flear, Queen’s University, UK
  • Michael Freeman, University College, UK
  • Jennifer Gristock, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), IT
  • Peter Kinderman, University of Liverpool, UK
  • Matthias Mahlmann, University of Zürich, CH
  • Hans J. Markowitsch, University of Bielefeld, DE
  • Terrie E. Moffitt, Duke University, US – London Institute of Psychiatry, UK
  • Tomas Paus, Nottingham University, UK - McGill University Montreal, CA
  • Andreas Roepstorff, Aarhus University, DK
  • Michael Rutter, Kings College London, UK
  • Renata Salecl, London School of Economics, UK - University of Ljubljana, SI
  • Amedeo Santosuosso, Milan court of appeals - State University of Milan, IT
  • Thomas Scheffer, Free University Berlin, DE
  • Ilina Singh, London School of Economics, UK
  • Kamila Ewa Sip, University Aarhus, DK
  • Irina Sirotkina, Institute for the History of Science and Technology, RU
  • Roger Smith, Lancaster University, UK - Institute of Psychology of the Russian
  • Academy of Sciences, RU
  • Cheryl Thomas, University College London, UK
  • Lieve van Daele, Federal Science Policy Office, BE
  • Ira van Keulen, Rathenau Institute, NL
  • Nicole Vincent, Delft University of Technology, NL

For more information please visit the ESF Research Conferences website.

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Chaired by

Prof Nikolas Rose
BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society
London, United Kingdom


Contact Information

Ms Antje Teegler
Conference Officer
COST Office
Avenue Louise 149
B-1050 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 533 3857
Fax +32 2 538 8486


Hotel Villa del Mare

I-85041 Acquafredda di Maratea

Website of venue