Penn Professor Named to Leadership Role in New Neuroscience and Law Project

PHILADELPHIA - Stephen Morse, a University of Pennsylvania law and psychiatry professor, is among scientists, legal scholars, jurists and philosophers who will help integrate new developments in neuroscience into the U.S. legal system.  

The Law and Neuroscience Project, based at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is being created by a $10 million MacArthur Foundation grant.  The program is the first systematic effort to bridge the fields of law and science in considering how courts should deal with new brain-scanning techniques as they apply to matters of law.

Three working groups will address addiction, brain abnormalities and decision making as they relate to such issues as criminal responsibility.

The project involves scientists and legal scholars from more than two dozen universities.  Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is honorary chair, and Michael S. Gazzaniga, a UCSB psychology professor, is the director and principal investigator.  Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, professor of philosophy and legal studies at Dartmouth College, co-directs the project.  

Penn's Morse and Robert Desimone, professor of neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will lead a group addressing addiction issues.

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