Science with Moxie

Science with Moxie

Musical notes on neuroscience

Tonight is the premiere of PBS’ Brains on Trial


If you are interested in the intersection of neuroscience and the law, tune into your local PBS station tonight at 10 pm (Eastern time, check local listings) to see the first episode in a new two-part series, Brains on Trial. The first episode takes us to the real-life New York Southern District courtroom of Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who is presiding over a case of a young man charged with robbery and murder. Throughout the case, host Alan Alda takes us to meet with various neuroscientists and scholars who explain different ways in which advances in neuroscience might apply to future criminal cases.

Brains on Trial is a great introduction to thinking about how the law and neuroscience can intersect. In fact, I think I might start linking people to this program when they inevitably ask me how someone can combine Neuroscience and Public Policy in a graduate program. I've been fortunate to see two of scholars featured in the program, Judge Jed Rakoff and Duke University law professor Nita Farahany, present at my graduate program's seminar series.

The first episode, "Determining Guilt," airs tonight and deals with lie detection, racial bias, and eyewitness reconstruction. The second episode of the series, "Deciding Punishment" airs on September 18th.

Image from Brains on Trial courtesy of Michael J Lutch/PBS.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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