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Neuroscientists in court


Neuroscientific evidence is increasingly being offered in court cases. Consequently, the legal system needs neuroscientists to act as expert witnesses who can explain the limitations and interpretations of neuroscientific findings so that judges and jurors can make informed and appropriate inferences. The growing role of neuroscientists in court means that neuroscientists should be aware of important differences between the scientific and legal fields, and, especially, how scientific facts can be easily misunderstood by non-scientists, including judges and jurors.

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Figure 1: Cumulative growth in the number of 'law and neuroscience' publications.


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The authors are members of The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, Vanderbilt Law School, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Preparation of this article was supported, in part, by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Its contents reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of either the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation or The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience. We are grateful for helpful comments from N. Farahany, D. Kaye, M. Saks and F. Shen.

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Correspondence to Owen D. Jones.

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Jones, O., Wagner, A., Faigman, D. et al. Neuroscientists in court. Nat Rev Neurosci 14, 730–736 (2013).

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