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Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00120

Three Research Strategies of Neuroscience and the Future of Legal Imaging Evidence

  • 1KIAS Transdisciplinary Research Program, Korea Institute for Advanced Study, South Korea
  • 2Human Research Protection Center, Asan Medical Center, South Korea
  • 3Health Innovation Big Data Center, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea

Neuroscientific imaging evidence (NIE) has become an integral part of the criminal justice system in the United States. However, in most legal cases, NIE is submitted and used only to mitigate penalties because the court does not recognize it as substantial evidence, considering its lack of reliability. Nevertheless, we here discuss how neuroscience is expected to improve the use of NIE in the legal system. For this purpose, we classified the efforts of neuroscientists into three research strategies: cognitive subtraction, the data-driven approach, and the brain-manipulation approach. Cognitive subtraction is outdated and problematic; consequently, the court deemed it to be an inadequate approach in terms of legal evidence in 2012. In contrast, the data-driven and brain manipulation approaches, which are state-of-the-art approaches, have overcome the limitations of cognitive subtraction. The data-driven approach brings data science into the field and is benefiting immensely from the development of research platforms that allow automatized collection, analysis, and sharing of data. This broadens the scale of imaging evidence. The brain-manipulation approach uses high-functioning tools that facilitate noninvasive and precise human brain manipulation. These two approaches are expected to have synergistic effects. Neuroscience has strived to improve the evidential reliability of NIE, with considerable success. With the support of cutting-edge technologies, and the progress of these approaches, the evidential status of NIE will be improved and NIE will become an increasingly important part of legal practice.

Keywords: neuroscience and law, Neurolaw, Neuroethics, brain manipulation, brain function database

Received: 15 Nov 2017; Accepted: 15 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Ioan Opris, University of Miami, United States

Reviewed by:

Xiaoli Li, Beijing Normal University, China
Mirjana R. Jovanovic, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Kragujevac, Serbia  

Copyright: © 2018 Jun and Yoo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Soyoung Yoo, Human Research Protection Center, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea, mesoyoung@gmail.com