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Sociability, Responsibility, and Criminality: From Lab to Law

Edited by Edited by Oscar Vilarroya and Adolf Tobeña (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Sociability, Responsibility, and Criminality: From Lab to Law

Published: September 2013

Volume 1299

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Neuroethics is a developing scientific field addressing the neurobiological bases of critical sociological issues. The field of neuroethics includes both the \"neuroscience of ethics,\" an exploration of the neurology underpinning ethical concepts like moral judgment, the neural predisposition toward criminality, and legal responsibility; and “the ethics of neuroscience,” which focuses on the ethics of applying neuroscientific or genetic information toward legal, predictive, and therapeutic ends. Recent progress has been made in understanding the neurological processes and constraints in decision making and the neurological and genetic factors underlying criminal and addictive behaviors, as well as the sociocultural vectors and value systems driving the dynamics of insurgency and terrorism. Advances in neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, and genetics offer new possibilities for evaluation and intervention for problematic attributes of human behavior. Proponents of neuroethics argue that such new understandings of neurobiology can have tremendous benefits to human society, but that interpretations of these findings require careful critical and ethical consideration. As our understanding of moral decisions, values, and responsibility progresses, it becomes necessary to rigorously define the ethics of predictive psychiatry and the limits of the manipulation of will, character, and belief.