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The troubled relationship between neuroscience and criminal responsibility: an overview and case study

Zampieri, Ilaria (2022) The troubled relationship between neuroscience and criminal responsibility: an overview and case study. Advisor: Pietrini, Prof. Pietro. pp. 111. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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Criminal behavior and the assessment of legal insanity have always been topics of primary concern for the justice system and, at the same time, of great interest to mental health experts. Neuroscience has given mental health specialists an incredible tool to investigate the brain, but the use of neuroimaging techniques in criminal trials has been received with a significant degree of resistance. This thesis illustrates an overview of the techniques involved in the study of the brain that gave birth to modern neuroscience. Moreover, it highlights the philosophical consequences of some neuroscientific experiments that have alerted legal scholars to the problems of free will and criminal responsibility. This contribution goes in-depth in analyzing the normative components of criminal responsibility according to Italian law, and it presents some comparisons with Anglo-American law. Additionally, the present work focuses on the judgment of criminal responsibility in insanity defense cases and the controversies around the mental conditions that can be relevant for a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict. Some real forensic cases are illustrated and discussed. They concern the role of neuroscientific evidence and a debate on the relevance of a personality disorder for the insanity defense. This thesis addresses the problems of translation of legal terms into scientific concepts and, the other way around, of scientific findings into pieces of evidence that are meaningful for legal doctrine. In conclusion, the thesis aims to give an overall outlook on the relationship between law and contemporary forensic neuroscience.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
PhD Course: Cognitive, Computational and Social Neurosciences
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2022 09:03
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/355

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