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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Apr;7(4):311-8.

Neuroscience and legal determination of criminal responsibility.

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  • 1St George's, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK.


Neuroscience is increasingly identifying associations between biology and violence that appear to offer courts evidence relevant to criminal responsibility. In addition, in a policy era of 'zero tolerance of risk', evidence of biological abnormality in some of those who are violent, or biological markers of violence, may be seized on as a possible basis for preventive detention in the interest of public safety. However, there is a mismatch between questions that the courts and society wish answered and those that neuroscience is capable of answering. This poses a risk to the proper exercise of justice and to civil liberties.

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