Imaging study reveals variation in brain activity depending on the severity of punishment a person decides
Making decisions about crime and punishment is, it turns out, as complicated as a legal brief. For the first time, scientists have peered into the brains of people who are deciding whether a crime deserves punishment and how severe the penalty should be.
Those decisions involve parts of the brain associated with rational thought, but emotion-processing regions weigh in too, a team of law and neuroscience researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., show in a new study in the Dec. 11 Neuron. The findings suggest that brain areas active in deciding a harsh punishment for a crime deliberately committed are different than those active when