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

On September 11 and 18, PBS will air a two-part series which looks at the role neuroscience evidence may play in criminal trials. A trailer of the program is available here. The program will air from 10-11 pm on UNC-TV. The series uses a mock trial scenario in which a teenager is facing murder charges for a robbery gone bad. The first episode looks at the guilt phase of the trial and the second episode looks at the sentencing phase. The role of neuroscience in these two phases of trial is examined.

The program will look at topics including: the juvenile brain, how memories are formed, whether a brain scan can reveal guilty knowledge, what neuroscience can say about juror bias and decision-making, how judges use their brains, and what neuroscience can reveal about psychopathy, remorse, and recidivism.

The series consulted with leading neuroscientists, psychologists, and legal scholars, including several Duke professors. A viewing of the program will be held at the Nasher Museum Auditorium on September 11, 2013 from 4-5:30 pm. Program host Alan Alda will lead a panel discussion with Duke professors Nita Farahany, Scott Huettel, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Ahmad Hariri. More information about this event is available here.

Tune in to this program to explore role neuroscience may play in the courtroom in the near future and take a look at the website for videos of the interviews and additional resources.

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