Francis Shen

  • Professor of Law
  • McKnight Presidential Fellow
  • University of Chicago, B.A.
  • Harvard Law School, J.D.
  • Harvard University, Ph.D.

Office: 330
Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor Francis X. Shen joined the faculty as an associate professor in 2012. He also serves as Executive Director of Education and Outreach for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience.

Professor Shen completed his B.A. in economics and English at the University of Chicago in 2000, his J.D. at Harvard Law School in 2006, and his Ph.D. in government and social policy at Harvard University and the Kennedy School of Government in 2008. During graduate school he was a doctoral fellow in the Harvard University Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy, supported by the National Science Foundation. From 2007-09, he was a teaching fellow, lecturer, and assistant director of undergraduate studies in the Harvard Department of Government and received five Certificates of Distinction for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center.

In 2009 he joined the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project, at the University of California Santa Barbara, as a post-doctoral research fellow. In 2010-11 he became associate director of the Project and a visiting scholar at Vanderbilt Law School. In 2011-12 he was a visiting assistant professor at Tulane University Law School and The Murphy Institute.

Professor Shen conducts empirical and interdisciplinary research at the intersection of law and the brain sciences. He is co-authoring the first law coursebook on law and neuroscience (forthcoming, Aspen Publishers), and has explored the implications of cognitive neuroscience for criminal law, tort, and legislation in the United States. Additional research areas of focus are criminal law and crime policy, and education law and policy.

His research has been published in a variety of outlets in law, political science, psychology, and education, and he has made more than 50 professional presentations. He has co-authored two books, The Education Mayor (Georgetown, 2007) and The Casualty Gap (Oxford, 2010), and has authored or co-authored 14 articles and 9 book chapters.

For further information on Professor Shen, please see his PDF iconcurriculum vitae and his personal web site.


Law and Neuroscience

Introduction to American Law and Legal Reasoning



  • Law and Neuroscience (Aspen Publishers, 2d ed., 2021) (coursebook) Owen D. Jones & Jeffrey Schall
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  • Law and Neuroscience (Aspen Publishers, 1st ed., 2014) (coursebook) Owen D. Jones & Jeffrey Schall
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  • The Casualty Gap: The Causes and Consequences of American Wartime Inequalities (Oxford University Press, 2010) Douglas L. Kriner
  • The Education Mayor: Improving America’s Schools (Georgetown University Press, 2007) Kenneth K. Wong, Dorothea Anagnostopoulos & Stacey A. Rutledge

Selected Research Grants

  • Grant from National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH) (#1-RF1-MH123698-01 ) (2020-24), on Highly Portable and Cloud-Enabled Neuroimaging Research: Confronting Ethics Challenges in Field Research with New Populations (Francis Shen, Susan M. Wolf, Frances Lawrenz (PIs))

Journal Articles

  • Teaching Law and Artificial Intelligence, 22 Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology 23 (2021) Brendan Johnson
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  • Aging Judges, 81 Ohio State Law Journal 235 (2020)
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  • Ethical Issues Posed by Field Research Using Highly Portable and Cloud-Enabled Neuroimaging, 105 Neuron 771-775 (2020) Susan M. Wolf, Ramon Gilberto Gonzalez & Michael Garwood
  • The Intersectionality of Age and Gender on the Bench: Are Younger Female Judges Harsher with Serious Crimes?, 40 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 128 (2020) Morris B. Hoffman, Vijeth Iyengar & Frank Krueger
  • Concise Review: Human‐Animal Neurological Chimeras: Humanized Animals or Human Cells in an Animal?, 37 Stem Cells 444 (2019) Andrew T. Crane, Joseph P. Voth & Walter C. Low
  • Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence, and the Case Against Solitary Confinement, 21 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law 937 (2019)
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  • The Failure of Youth Sports Concussion Laws and the Limits of Legislating Health Education, 19 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics 1 (2019) Sydney Diekmann, Christine Egan & Carly Rasmussen
  • Are Youth Sports Concussion Statutes Working?, 56 Duquesne Law Review 7 (2018)
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  • Decoding Guilty Minds: How Jurors Attribute Knowledge and Guilt, 71 Vanderbilt Law Review 241 (2018) Matthew R. Ginther, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones & Kenneth W. Simons
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  • How Dangerous Are Youth Sports for the Brain: A Review of the Evidence, 7 Berkeley Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law 67 (2018) Carly Rasmussen, Sydney Diekmann, Christine Egan & Tyler Johnson
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  • Minority Mens Rea: Racial Bias and Criminal Mental States, 68 Hastings Law Journal 1007 (2017)
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  • The Limited Effect of Electroencephalography Memory Recognition Evidence on Assessments of Defendant Credibility, Journal of Law and the Biosciences (2017) Emily Twedell, Caitlin Opperman, Jordan Dean Scott Krieg, Mikaela Brandt-Fontaine, Joshua Panduro Preston, Jaleh McTeigue, Alina Yasis & Morgan Carlson
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  • Conscription, Inequality, and Partisan Support for War, 60 Journal of Conflict Resolution 1419 (2016) Douglas L. Kriner
  • Invisible Inequality: The Two Americas of Military Sacrifice, 46 University of Memphis Law Review 545 (2016) Douglas L. Kriner
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  • Law and Neuroscience 2.0, 48 Arizona State Law Journal 1043 (2016)
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  • Neurolegislation: How U.S. Legislators Are Using Brain Science, 29 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 495 (2016)
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  • Neuroscientific Evidence as Instant Replay, 3 Journal of Law and the Biosciences 343 (2016)
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  • Parsing the Behavioral and Brain Mechanisms of Third-Party Punishment, 36 Journal of Neuroscience 9420 (2016) Matthew R. Ginther, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Kenneth W. Simons, Owen D. Jones & René Marois
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  • The Legal Implications of Detecting Alzheimer’s Disease Earlier, 18 AMA Journal of Ethics 1207 (2016) Joshua Preston, Jaleh McTeigue, Caitlin Opperman, Jordan Krieg, Mikaela Brandt-Fontaine & Alina Yasis
  • The Overlooked History of Neurolaw, 85 Fordham Law Review 667 (2016)
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  • Red States, Blue States, and Brain States Issue Framing, Partisanship, and the Future of Neurolaw in the United States, 658 The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 86 (2015)  Dena M. Gromet
  • Reassessing American Casualty Sensitivity: The Mediating Influence of Inequality, 58 Journal of Conflict Resolution 1174 (2014) Douglas L. Kriner
  • Responding to War on Capitol Hill: Battlefield Casualties, Congressional Response, and Public Support for the War in Iraq, 58 American Journal of Political Science 157 (2014) Douglas L. Kriner
  • Sentencing Enhancement and the Crime Victim’s Brain, 46 Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 405 (2014)
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  • The Language of Mens Rea, 67 Vanderbilt Law Review 1327 (2014) Matthew R. Ginther, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Rene Marois & Kenneth W. Simons
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  • Legislating Neuroscience: The Case of Juvenile Justice, 46 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 985 (2013)
  • Mind, Body, and the Criminal Law, 98 Minnesota Law Review 2036 (2013)
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  • Neuroscience, Mental Privacy, and the Law, 36 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 653 (2013)
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  • Rape, Money, and the Psychology of Taboo, 43 Journal of Applied Social Psychology 1015 (2013)
  • Community Support for Mayoral Control of Urban School Districts: A Critical Reexamination, 44 Education and Urban Society 342 (2012)
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  • How Citizens Respond to Combat Casualties: The Differential Impact of Local Casualties on Support for the War in Afghanistan, 76 Public Opinion Quarterly 761 (2012) Douglas L. Kriner
  • Brain Scans as Evidence: Truths, Proofs, Lies, and Lessons, 62 Mercer Law Review 861 (2011) (Symposium issue: Brain Sciences in the Courtroom) Owen D. Jones
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  • How We Still Fail Rape Victims: Reflecting on Responsibility and Legal Reform, 22 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 1 (2011)
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  • Law and Neuroscience: Possibilities For Prosecutors, 33 CDAA Prosecutor’s Brief 17 (2011) (invited essay)
  • Sorting Guilty Minds, 86 New York University Law Review 1306 (2011) Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Joshua D. Greene & Rene Marois
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  • The Law and Neuroscience Bibliography: Navigating the Emerging Field of Neurolaw, 38 International Journal of Legal Information 352 (2010)
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  • The Overlooked Utility of the Defendant Class Action, 88 Denver University Law Review 73 (2010)
  • Limited War and American Political Engagement, 71 Journal of Politics 1514 (2009) Douglas L. Kriner
  • Iraq Casualties and the 2006 Senate Elections, 32 Legislative Studies Quarterly 507 (2007) Douglas L. Kriner
  • Mayoral Leadership Matters: Lessons Learned From Mayoral Control of Large Urban School Systems, 82 Peabody Journal of Education 737 (2007) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Measuring the Effectiveness of City and State Takeover as a School Reform Strategy, 78:4 Peabody Journal of Education 89 (2003) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Big City Mayors And School Governance Reform: The Case of School District Takeover, 78:1 Peabody Journal of Education 5 (2003) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Politics of State-Led Reform in Education: Market Competition and Electoral Dynamics, 16 Educational Policy 161 (2002) Kenneth K. Wong

Book Chapters

  • Race, Ethnicity, and Education Policy, in The Oxford Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Politics in the United States (David L. Leal, Taeku Lee, & Mark Sawyer, eds., Oxford University Press, published online 2014) Jennifer L. Hochschild
  • Law and Neuroscience in the United States, in International Neurolaw: A Comparative Analysis 349 (Tade Spranger, ed., Springer, 2012) Owen D. Jones
  • Monetizing Memory Science: Neuroscience and the Future of PTSD Litigation, in Memory and Law 325 (Lynn Nadel & Walter P. Sinnott-Armstrong, eds., Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • Education Mayors and Big City School Boards: New Directions, New Evidence, in The Future of School Board Governance: Relevancy and Revelation 441 (Thomas L. Alsbury, ed., Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2008) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Charter Law and Charter Operation: Re-Examining the Charter School Marketplace, in Charter School Outcomes 131 (Mark Berends, Matthew G. Springer & Herbert J. Walberg, eds., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Politics and Religion, in Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election (Larry Sabato, ed., Pearson/Longman, 2006) Russell Muirhead, Nancy L. Rosenblum & Daniel Schlozman
  • When Mayors Lead Urban Schools: Assessing the Effects of Mayoral Takeover, in Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics 81 (William G. Howell, ed., Brookings Institution Press, 2005) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Political Economy of Charter School Funding Formulas: Exploring State-to-State Variations, in Money, Politics and Law: Intersections and Conflicts in the Provision of Educational Opportunity 171 (Karen DeMoss & Kenneth K. Wong, eds., Eye on Education, 2004) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Does Title I Money Matter? Federal Compensatory Funding and Student Achievement, in Efficiency, Accountability, and Equity Issues in Title 1 Schoolwide Program Implementation 57 (Kenneth K. Wong & Margaret C. Wang, eds., Information Age Pub., 2002)

Book Reviews

  • Mayors and Schools: Minority Voices and Democratic Tensions in Urban Education, 43 Urban Affairs Review 288 (2007) (reviewing Stephanie Chambers, Mayors and Schools: Minority Voices and Democratic Tensions in Urban Education (Temple University Press, 2006))

Editorials, Commentary & Letters

  • You Can Love the Brain and Football, Too, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Jan. 31, 2018 (op-ed)
  • Chicago Wants An Elected School Board: Here’s What Needs To Happen Now, Crain’s Chicago Business, Feb. 26, 2015 (op-ed)
  • Neuroscience is coming to the law. Can we keep politics out of it?, Washington Post, Feb. 25, 2015 (op-ed) Dena Gromet
  • For Better Minneapolis Schools, Embrace Mayoral Control, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sept. 18, 2013
  • America’s “Casualty Gap”, Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2010, at A25 (op-ed) Douglas L. Kriner
  • Baseball’s What We Need, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 26, 2004, at C15 (op-ed)
  • No Clear Picture Of Charter Schools, San Diego Union-Tribune, July 8, 2001 (op-ed) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Lessons From State’s Charter Schools, Grand Rapids Press, June 22, 2001, at A7 (op-ed) Kenneth K. Wong

Other Publications

  • Battlefield Casualties and Ballot-Box Defeat: Did the Bush–Obama Wars Cost Clinton the White House?, 53 PS: Political Science & Politics 248 (2020) Douglas L. Kriner
  • Racial Injustice and Neuroethics: Time for Action, 11 AJOB Neuroscience 212 (2020)
  • How the Burden of Afghanistan Could Fall on Trump’s Supporters, Politico Magazine, Aug. 23, 2017 Douglas L. Kriner
  • Keeping Up with Neurolaw: What to Know and Where to Look, 50 Court Review 104 (2014)
  • When Elected School Boards Disappear, Living Education eMagazine (Summer 2013)
  • Mayors Can Be “Prime Movers” of Urban School Improvement, 29:7 Education Week S11 (Oct. 14, 2009) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Assessing Charter School Performance in Illinois: A Pilot Study Using Error-Band Analysis (National Center on School Choice Working Paper, 2007) Kenneth K. Wong
  • An Evaluation Of Intradistrict Equity In Massachusetts (Pioneer Institute for Public Policy, 2003) (Research Brief) Martin R. West
  • Does School District Takeover Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of City and State Takeover as a School Reform Strategy, The State Education Standard 19 (Spr. 2002) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Can School District Takeover Work? Assessing The Effectiveness Of City And State Takeover As A School Reform Strategy, ERIC/CUE Digest EDO-UD-02-3 (2002) Kenneth K. Wong
  • Rethinking the Fiscal Role of the States in Public Education, 17:5 Government Finance Review 8 (Oct. 2001) Kenneth K. Wong

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