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Health News

Imaging the Truth

From the Press Association, via Yahoo News:

Brain Waves Module 4: Neuroscience and the Law was written by a group of experts in neuroscience, law, psychology, and ethics. It concludes that brain scans cannot identify would-be murderers, and there is no gene that will inevitably turn a person into a violent psychopath.

However, the report does accept that neuroimaging and genetics may one day contribute to risk assessments in sentencing and probation decisions.

Working group chairman Professor Nicholas Mackintosh, from Cambridge University, said scientists were already close to being able to tell if a person is genuinely feeling pain or just pretending. Brain scans may soon reveal the neural pathways that provide a “signature” of subjective pain. Such a test would open the door to identifying benefit cheats or fraudulent personal injury claims. A team at Oxford University led by Professor Irene Tracey believes this could be achievable within 10 years.

Areas to think about:

  • What are some of the risks and benefits of using brain imaging in legal contexts?
  • Is the case any different for benefit or risk assessments?
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"It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely, well and justly. And it is impossible to live wisely, well and justly without living a pleasant life". - Epicurus

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