Forensic neuroscience: problems and promises – 2018

Forensic neuroscience has made substantial strides over the last two to three decades. As illustrated in the articles in this special issue, our understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of various crime-related phenomena such as self-regulation, psychopathy, aggression, fear, anxiety and other emotions, and empathy, morality, and social decision making has been substantially progressed with wide-ranging implications for prevention, rehabilitation, and the legal system. In this commentary I argue that forensic neuroscience holds much promise for enriching our theoretical understanding of criminal and antisocial and for reducing the harm of crime in society. However, a degree of caution is warranted: In order to provide complete explanations for crime-related phenomena, neurobiological approaches need to be integrated with those from other levels of analysis (including evolutionary theory), and the implications of forensic neuroscience for reducing crime and improving outcomes in the legal system may – at our current level of knowledge – be relatively limited.

Russil Durrant
Psychology, Crime & Law: Volume 24, 2018 – Issue 3: Applications of Neuroscience in Forensic Psychology, 07 Mar 2018