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MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience

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September 9, 2016

 

To Neurolaw News Subscribers:

How does the brain render punishment decisions?  Thanks to innovative work by lead author Matthew Ginther , a joint graduate student in law and neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, a just-published study successfully used fMRI brain-scanning techniques to identify and dissociate the four different patterns of brain activities involved in:  

1.     Evaluating the mental state of a defendant

2.     Evaluating the harm the defendant caused

3.     Integrating mental state and harm information

4.     Deciding a punishment amount

The work – published as “ Parsing the Behavioral and Brain Mechanisms of Third-Party Punishment ” in The Journal of Neuroscience – provides the most detailed information yet of how the brain makes punishment decisions. 

The article is a project of The Working Group on Intent and Punishment, led by Research Network Director and principal investigator Owen Jones .  The interdisciplinary team on this project, spanning 5 institutions, consisted of: Matthew Ginther, Richard Bonnie, Morris Hoffman, Francis Shen, Ken Simons, Owen Jones, and Rene Marois. 

Download the paper here .

 

       

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