Neuroprediction, the use of neuroscientific data to predict human behavior, can sound like science fiction. But with the advent of neuroimaging and the continuing rapid development of other non-invasive brain measurements, neuroprediction is increasingly a real-world phenomenon.
Deep philosophical, legal, and neuroscientific questions arise regarding the use of these methods to predict behavior. Like all scientific tools, whether or not these technologies are used responsibly depends on who uses them. For instance, recent research illustrates the potential use of neuroprediction to assess an individual’s risk of (re-)engaging in antisocial conduct in forensic contexts. While the use of brain-based data may add predictive value to existing risk assessment tools, at the same time, the use (or misuse) of neuroprediction in courtrooms may imply violations of individual rights and liberties under the pretext of enhancing public safety. Additionally, neuroprediction presents several technological and neuroscientific challenges. The non-invasive measures currently available are only indirect measures of cognitive activity, and there are serious questions regarding the predictive validity and reliability of data at the individual level. Understanding the conceptual, ethical, and legal dimensions surrounding the use of neuroprediction technologies helps crystallize the issues at hand and potentially provides moral guidance for those who wish to capitalize on these new tools as their prevalence and specificity continue to advance.
In this seminar, four experts from neuroscience, law, and philosophy will discuss recent findings in neuroprediction research, the predictive power of brain-based evidence compared to behavioral evidence, as well as the ethical and legal concerns emerging from the entrance of neuroprediction in the courts of law.