Neuroscience in the courtroom? We first need a protocol

Harald L G J Merckelbach, Sophie E M Merckelbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

Abstract

Neuroscientific evidence is prominently present in courts of law and may come in many forms. For example, it may consist of neuroradiological and/or neuropsychological results that are brought to courts to make the point that the claimant is suffering from dementia, ruling out his legal capacity to sign contracts. Neuroscientific evidence has an aura of solidity and objectivity and has been found to have a strong influence on the sentencing decisions of professional judges. In this article, we address one often overlooked issue, namely the biasability of neuroscientific evidence. We argue that neuroscientific evidence is sensitive to pathology bias, allegiance effects, and malingering (by claimants and defendants). In our view, neuroscientific evidence requires a protocol protecting expert witnesses against the biasing effects that are often inherent to the legal context. Such a protocol could, for example, emphasize blinding of procedures.

Original languageDutch
Article numberA7020
JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Volume158
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Expert Testimony
  • Humans
  • Neurosciences

Cite this

@article{e25c369a8edf4dd783daa6d4e5de7416,
title = "Neurobewijs in de rechtszaal?: Eerst een protocol",
abstract = "Neuroscientific evidence is prominently present in courts of law and may come in many forms. For example, it may consist of neuroradiological and/or neuropsychological results that are brought to courts to make the point that the claimant is suffering from dementia, ruling out his legal capacity to sign contracts. Neuroscientific evidence has an aura of solidity and objectivity and has been found to have a strong influence on the sentencing decisions of professional judges. In this article, we address one often overlooked issue, namely the biasability of neuroscientific evidence. We argue that neuroscientific evidence is sensitive to pathology bias, allegiance effects, and malingering (by claimants and defendants). In our view, neuroscientific evidence requires a protocol protecting expert witnesses against the biasing effects that are often inherent to the legal context. Such a protocol could, for example, emphasize blinding of procedures.",
keywords = "Evidence-Based Medicine, Expert Testimony, Humans, Neurosciences",
author = "Merckelbach, {Harald L G J} and Merckelbach, {Sophie E M}",
year = "2014",
language = "Dutch",
volume = "158",
journal = "Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde",
issn = "0028-2162",
publisher = "Bohn Stafleu van Loghum",

}

Neurobewijs in de rechtszaal? Eerst een protocol. / Merckelbach, Harald L G J; Merckelbach, Sophie E M.

In: Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, Vol. 158, A7020, 2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

TY - JOUR

T1 - Neurobewijs in de rechtszaal?

T2 - Eerst een protocol

AU - Merckelbach, Harald L G J

AU - Merckelbach, Sophie E M

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Neuroscientific evidence is prominently present in courts of law and may come in many forms. For example, it may consist of neuroradiological and/or neuropsychological results that are brought to courts to make the point that the claimant is suffering from dementia, ruling out his legal capacity to sign contracts. Neuroscientific evidence has an aura of solidity and objectivity and has been found to have a strong influence on the sentencing decisions of professional judges. In this article, we address one often overlooked issue, namely the biasability of neuroscientific evidence. We argue that neuroscientific evidence is sensitive to pathology bias, allegiance effects, and malingering (by claimants and defendants). In our view, neuroscientific evidence requires a protocol protecting expert witnesses against the biasing effects that are often inherent to the legal context. Such a protocol could, for example, emphasize blinding of procedures.

AB - Neuroscientific evidence is prominently present in courts of law and may come in many forms. For example, it may consist of neuroradiological and/or neuropsychological results that are brought to courts to make the point that the claimant is suffering from dementia, ruling out his legal capacity to sign contracts. Neuroscientific evidence has an aura of solidity and objectivity and has been found to have a strong influence on the sentencing decisions of professional judges. In this article, we address one often overlooked issue, namely the biasability of neuroscientific evidence. We argue that neuroscientific evidence is sensitive to pathology bias, allegiance effects, and malingering (by claimants and defendants). In our view, neuroscientific evidence requires a protocol protecting expert witnesses against the biasing effects that are often inherent to the legal context. Such a protocol could, for example, emphasize blinding of procedures.

KW - Evidence-Based Medicine

KW - Expert Testimony

KW - Humans

KW - Neurosciences

M3 - Article

C2 - 25017979

VL - 158

JO - Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde

JF - Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde

SN - 0028-2162

M1 - A7020

ER -