Putting The Brain On Trial

“The most interesting part of this is getting into the hardwiring of morality and free will,” Swerdlow said. “It raises the question, how free is free will?”

This philosophical question is being investigated by doctors across the country. And the answers they find through their research could have serious implications – not just for individual treatment but for the criminal justice system as well.

Brain scans conducted on murderers, for example, show that there is sometimes damage or poor function of the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that lies just behind the forehead and eyes.

Such scans and other scientific studies of the mind may one day be widely used in courts as evidence for the defense, as it was for Swerdlow’s patient.

“This guy was going to go to prison and what he needed was an operation, not incarceration,” Swerdlow said. WMBB (Florida)