Yesterday’s big show was the Neuroscience and the Law symposium. Here is a good summary. Most interesting work was Abigail Baird’s–she’s at Vassar College: teenagers apparently get themselves in trouble by too much engagement of their prefrontal cortex rather than trusting their gut (amygdala and insula). That’s completely counter-intuitive to me because I have always viewed the prefrontal cortex as pretty much the last part of the brain to “get wired up” during human development. Her thesis: too much analytic/executive engagement of prefrontal cortex leads to potentially flawed logical decisions (perhaps especially when we haven’t had a lot of experiences) and too much sensitivity to peer pressure.
Registration is now open for our two decision-maker short courses being offered for one incredibly intense week, next June.
The courses are aimed at the following quite common scenario: you or your boss is a principal and is called upon to make a consequential policy decision involving the very rapid recent changes in neuroscience or computational social science (think neurolaw, modeling the Lehman Brother’s crash, deception-detection or migration effects of climate change).
There is a proposal on the table, it requires the ability to think critically at the intersection of policy, business and the wave of new technological tools–the key is to have a good decision, informed by an appreciation for the difference between what’s real and what’s pie-in-the-sky.
We aim to educate principals and their top staff to make realistic consequential decisions informed by the latest research. Our faculty are experts in their disciplines and they all have the ability to communicate in plain English–we’ve minimized the jargon.
The venue will be Mason’s brand new Mason Inn Conference Center and your cohort of high-level fellow attendees will be as engaged as you. There will be additional ample opportunities for face-to-face social networking (still the best kind, in my opinion).
Jim Fallon of UC Irvine is a good friend and former professor. He’s all over the news this week because of he’s found a correlation between his brain imagery, his genetics and those of psychopaths. He’s also apparently related to the famed Lizzie Borden.
But before we go out and profile the population for violent crazies, a couple of important cautions:
First, Jim Fallon is definitely not a psychopath. Having known him for thirty years, loyal readers can rest assured. So the correlation is not sufficient for the phenotype.
Second, it’s likely that there are many varieties of psychopaths. As there are many kinds of cancer, each with its own specific etiology, so there are many brain disorders which may lead to what we might legally call psychopathic behavior. My guess is that the variability here is enormous.
Apparently No Lie FMRI is getting its first case–hat tip to ScienceInsider.