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Your Brain & the Law with Adriana Galván and Francis Shen

September 13, 2023

Who this is for:

Ethicists and Social Scientists
Science Communicators

How are insights about the adolescent brain affecting young people—in terms of legal culpability and incarceration, age restrictions for controlled substances, and their rights to make decisions about their own medical care?

At this Secret Science Club event, pioneering researchers Francis Shen and Adriana Galván discuss groundbreaking discoveries about the adolescent brain—and how these scientific insights are affecting our legal system, public policy, and society.

Adriana Galván is a professor of psychology and dean of undergraduate education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). An expert on the adolescent brain and the author of over 100 scientific papers, she has made seminal discoveries about brain development in children, teens, and adults. In 2019, she received the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Her research on the adolescent brain has played a central role in landmark Supreme Court decisions regarding the culpability and punishment of juvenile offenders.

Francis X. Shen is a professor at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics and an affiliated faculty member at Harvard Law School. He is a pioneer in establishing the interdisciplinary field of law and neuroscience, and conducts research on how insights from neuroscience and artificial intelligence can make the legal system more just and effective. In 2021, he was awarded the Early Career Scholars Medal from the American Law Institute. He is the director of Harvard’s Shen Lab: Law, Ethics, Neuroscience & Artificial Intelligence, where the motto is “every story is a brain story.”

This Dana Foundation Neuroscience & Society Talk is part of the Dana Education program, which includes the coordination of Brain Awareness Week in mid-March. The Dana Foundation is dedicated to advancing neuroscience and society by supporting cross-disciplinary intersections such as neuroscience and ethics, law, policy, humanities, and arts.

The Secret Science Club is a science lecture, arts, and performance series, curated by Dorian Devins and Margaret Mittelbach. This event was held virtually on March 15, 2023.


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