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Neurolaw is a field of interdisciplinary study that explores the effects of discoveries in neuroscience on legal rules and standards.[1] Drawing from neuroscience, philosophy, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and criminology, neurolaw practitioners seek to address not only the descriptive and predictive issues of how neuroscience is and will be used in the legal system, but also the normative issues of how neuroscience should and should not be used.

An example of an fMRI brain scan. fMRI BOLD outputs (yellow) are overlaid on a brain anatomy image (gray) averaged from several humans. Similar images are used in a variety of applications, now including law.

The rapid growth of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research has led to new insights on neuroanatomical structure and function, which has led to a greater understanding of human behavior and cognition. As a response, there has been an emergence of questions regarding how these findings can be applied to criminology and legal processes.[2] Major areas of current neurolaw research include courtroom applications, legal implications of neuroscience findings, and how neuroscience-related jurisdiction can be created and applied.[3][4]

Despite the growing interest in neurolaw and its potential applications, the legal realm recognizes the substantial opportunity for misuse and is proceeding cautiously with novel research outcomes.[2][5][6][7]