Check it out: The first neurobiological model for third-party punishment
Here’s a a very recent update to my last post on the Neurobiology of Punishment by Joshua W Buckholtz and René Marois, breaking down the events that take place in the brain when asked to make decisions regarding punishment. Of the five processes you have the frontal cortex (higher mental functions) the amygdala (emotional responses) and the intraparietal sulcus and temporal-parietal junction (interpreting the intent of others, thoery of mind).
In the modern criminal justice system, judges and jury members – impartial third-party decision-makers – are tasked to evaluate the severity of a criminal act, the mental state of the accused and the amount of harm done, and then integrate these evaluations with the applicable legal codes and select the most appropriate punishment from available options. (…)
One of the key take aways is that:
..it’s assumed legal decision-making is purely based on rational thinking, research suggests that much of the motivation for punishing is driven by negative emotional responses to the harm. This signal appears to be generated in the amygdala, causing people to factor in their emotional state when making decisions instead of making solely factual judgments.
Getting ahead of ourselves: glossy brain porn v. emotion
What happens if the jury is presented with neuroscientific evidence suggesting what may have caused the accused to offend, e.g., a brain scan showing a tumor? This may challenge the negative emotional response since it’s been reported that this type of evidence is so seductive to juries. >law & order, donk donk<
[Img: Parts of the brain involved in third party punishment. (Rene Marois, Deborah Brewington/Vanderbilt University)]