- Published: June 8, 2015
The practice of law is changing greatly as lawyers and judges continue to view breakthroughs in neuroscience as possibly cures for the problems that are associated with court cases. For instance, neuroscientists have found new and improved ways to detect when someone is lying. We have a greater understanding of what problems can be caused by certain neural abnormalities due to neuroscientific studies. However, many fewer breakthroughs have been made in the possibilities for treatment of these problems. Current treatments involve behavioral counseling and/or the use of medications to control certain brain functions. But, what if scientists did come up with a form of treatment that could cause neural regeneration, which could cure many behavioral problems? How would this treatment be used in the court system?
The problem that arises from such a drug is that it would actually change the brains of the individuals who use it. While we would possibly be able to make a person less violent or less likely to commit a violent crime, we would also be changing other parts of his or her personality. Many of the most successful people in our world have brains that most would consider abnormal. For instance, many professional athletes are much more competitive and aggressive than what is considered normal. Would it be fair to give these people a drug that would take away the competitive edge that makes them great on the field? How would we choose who needs to use the drug? Voluntary use would probably be the best idea. We could trade an amount of jail/therapy time for the use of the drug. Could these criminals be considered competent to make their own decisions on this matter if we know that they have a brain defect? While there is no such drug in existence today, we could conceivably make one, but these questions will be very hard to answer if we ever do.