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September 2, 2013

Brains on Trial with Alan Alda Explores How Neuroscience Could Change the Law  

An innovative two-part television series, Brains on Trial with Alan Alda, will air Wednesday, September 11, 2013 (Part I) and Wednesday, September 18, 2013 (Part II) at approximately 10-11 p.m. on PBS (check local listings for local time).  The program explores how advances in neuroscience may affect how criminal trials are conducted in the future.  

Brains on Trial centers around the trial of a fictional crime.  The first of two episodes examines the guilt phase of the trial concluding with the jury’s verdict.  The second looks at the sentencing phase, when arguments for and against a severe sentence are heard. 

The series consulted a variety of leading neuroscientists, psychologists, and legal scholars including Gene Beresin, Joshua Buckholtz, Jason Chein, Nita Farahany, Joanna Fowler, Jack Gallant, Michael Gazzaniga, Jay Giedd, Hank Greely, Joshua Greene, Patrick Haggard, Marcel Just, Nancy Kanwisher, Kent Kiehl, Steven Laken, Bea Luna, René Marois, Elizabeth Phelps, Robert Sapolsky, Rebecca Saxe, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Nora Volkow, and Thalia Wheatley, as well as with many members of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience Members, including BJ Casey, Owen Jones, Stephen Morse, Marcus Raichle, Larry Steinberg, and Anthony Wagner.  

Some of these interviews are excerpted for the television program itself.  Many others appear as full-length video interviews on an extensive companion website at 

To watch the series trailer and to access the repository of online videos, click here:


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Owen D. Jones
New York Alumni Chancellor's Chair in Law
Professor of Biological Sciences 
Director, MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience

Vanderbilt University
131  21st Avenue, South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181

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