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Murder in the CourtroomThe Cognitive Neuroscience of Violence$
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Brigitte Vallabhajosula

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199995721

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199995721.001.0001

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Linking Brain Function and Behavior

Linking Brain Function and Behavior

Chapter:
(p.226) 11 Linking Brain Function and Behavior
Source:
Murder in the Courtroom
Author(s):

Brigitte Vallabhajosula

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199995721.003.0011

When a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan shows a gross structural abnormality, such as a brain tumor, the distinction between normal and abnormal is usually clear. Similarly, when a subject scores significantly below the norm on neuropsychological tests, impairment can easily be inferred. The problem arises when one attempts to determine the relationship between an abnormal neuroimage and/or below normal test performance and past behavior. This chapter provides algorithms for the assessment of (a) competency to stand trial, (b) cognitive functioning, and (c) mens rea employing a multimodal/multidisciplinary approach to the assessment of cognitive functioning that is likely to withstand a Daubert challenge and sophisticated cross-examination. This is important because to date not a single study has been able to reliably demonstrate a characteristic pattern of cognitive dysfunction, based on neuropsychiatric, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging techniques, that is predictive of a loss of control applicable to an individual case.

Keywords:   algorithms, competency, cognitive functioning, mens rea, multimodal, assessment, Daubert, cross-examination

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