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Consortium Lecture Series: Prof. Laurence Steinberg
"Should the Science of Adolescent Brain Development Inform Legal Policy?"
Laurence Steinberg, PhD
Distinguished University Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology Temple University
Studies of adolescent brain development have influenced debates on issues such as the constitutionality of the juvenile death penalty, if sentencing juveniles to life without the possibility of parole is moral, to whether states should raise the legal driving age, to permitting minors to obtain an abortion without parental consent. In this lecture, Prof. Steinberg will examine whether burgeoning research on adolescent brain development should influence legal policy.
Prof. Steinberg will offer an overview of the major changes in brain structure and function that take place during adolescence, and discuss what we do, and do not, gain with respect to our understanding of adolescence from neuroscience beyond what we already know from behavioral science. After applying this analysis to the specific case of adolescent criminal culpability, he will consider how developmental neuroscience might influence questions concerning the drawing of legal age boundaries more generally.