Owen D. Jones to Discuss How Neuroscience Plays a Role in Law at Georgia State Law’s Miller Lecture
ATLANTA—Owen D. Jones, the New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law and professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, will discuss how neuroscience and behavior interconnects with law at Georgia State University’s College of Law in the 60th Henry J. Miller Distinguished Lecture in the Ralph & Marjorie Knowles Conference Center at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 10.
Jones, founder and director of the national MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, uses methods from brain-imaging (fMRI), evolutionary biology and behavioral economics to learn more about how the brain’s operations affect behaviors relevant to law.
The Henry J. Miller Distinguished Lecture Series is supported by the Charles Loridans Foundation Inc. and named for Henry J. Miller, a partner in the law firm of Alston & Bird for more than 50 years. It is an invitation-only event.
Having an interdisciplinary approach to complicated legal issues is important, Jones said. In his lecture, he will share results of experiments co-designed by neuroscientists, judges and legal scholars that provide insight and new frameworks for thinking about such issues.
“My scholarship generally aims to help bridge the behavioral sciences on which legal thinkers inevitably depend, when trying to understand, guide, change or regulate human behavior,” Jones said. “New techniques in neuroscience, such as brain scanning, are enabling discoveries about the brain activities that correlate with decision-making and behavior. What are, and aren’t, the proper implications for law?”
Law is often a tool for society to change, channel, judge or punish human behavior, Jones said. Judges, policymakers, attorneys and law students often must grapple with legal issues involving memory, brain injury, pain, emotions, addiction, dementia, brain death, violence, responsibility, psychoses, behaviors of adolescents and of the elderly, he said.
Because neuroscientific evidence is increasingly being presented in the courtroom, Jones and the Research Network aim to help those in the legal field gain an understanding so that such evidence may be properly evaluated and aid, rather than hinder, the administration of justice.
Jones has published more than 50 scholarly articles, book chapters and essays in such legal venues as the Columbia, Chicago, California, NYU, Northwestern, Cornell, Vanderbilt and Michigan law reviews, and in such leading scientific journals as Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, the Journal of Neuroscience, Current Biology, Evolution and Human Behavior and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He also co-wrote “Law and Neuroscience.”
Before joining the legal academy, Jones was a law clerk for Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and practiced law with Covington & Burling. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.