Murder in the Courtroom: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Violence

ISBN : 9780199995721

Brigitte Vallabhajosula
352 Pages
163 x 234 mm
Pub date
Feb 2015
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Answers to many legal questions often depend on our understanding of the relationship between the human brain and behavior. While there is no evidence to suggest that violence is the sole result of cognitive impairment, research does suggest that frontal lobe impairment in particular may contribute to the etiology of violent behavior. Murder in the Courtroom presents a comprehensive and detailed analysis of issues most relevant to answering questions regarding the link between cognitive functioning and violence. It is the first book to focus exclusively on the etiology and assessment of cognitive impairment in the context of violent behavior and the challenges courts face in determining the reliability of neuroscience evidence; provide objective discussions of currently available neuropsychological tests and neuroimaging techniques, and their strengths and limitations; provide a methodology for the assessment of cognitive dysfunction in the context of violent behavior that is likely to withstand a Daubert challenge; and include detailed discussions of criminal cases to illustrate important points. Clinical and forensic psychologists and psychiatrists, cognitive neuroscientists, and legal professionals will be able to use this book to further their understanding of the relationship between brain function and extreme violence.


Chapter 1. Violence, Free Will, and Legal Responsibility
Chapter 2. The Human Brain and Cognition
Chapter 3. The Basics of Neuroimaging
Chapter 4. Neuropsychological Assessment
Chapter 5. The Etiology and Neurobiology of Violence
Chapter 6. Violence and the Adolescent Brain
Chapter 7. The Admissibility of Scientific Evidence
Chapter 8. The Issue of Evidentiary Reliability
Chapter 9. Malingering and its Assessment
Chapter 10. Neuroscience and the Law
Chapter 11. Linking Brain Function and Behavior
Chapter 12. A Cautionary Tale
About the Author

About the author: 

Brigitte Vallabhajosula, Ph.D., is a consultant in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice. She holds master's degrees in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice and a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice with specialization in Forensic Psychology. Dr. Vallabhajosula has an understanding of the development of PET radiotracers and their clinical applications and potential utility in understanding the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. For the last eight years she has focused her attention exclusively on the use of neuroimaging modalities within the forensic population.

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