This week, the Petrie-Flom Center of Harvard Law School and the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior (CLBB) at Massachusetts General Hospital are hosting a series of posts on how brain imaging can help the law address issues of physical and emotional pain. Our contributors are world leaders in their fields, who participated on June 30, 2015, in the CLBB/Petrie-Flom conference Visible Solutions: How Brain Imaging Can Help Law Reenvision Pain. They addressed questions including:
- Can brain imaging can be a “painometer” to prove pain in legal cases?
- Can neuroimaging help law do better at understanding what pain is?
- How do emotion and pain relate to each other?
- Does brain imaging showing emotional pain prompt us to reconsider law’s mind/body divide?
Professor Irene Tracey, D.Phil., a pioneer in pain neuroimaging and director of the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, opened the conference with a keynote explaining what happens when the brain is in pain.
Professor Hank T. Greely, Edelman Johnson Professor of Law and Director of the Program in Neuroscience and Society at Stanford Law School, provided a keynote explaining the many implications of brain imaging for the law.
This conference was the culmination of CLBB’s year of work on pain neuroimaging and law. As the first CLBB-Petrie-Flom Center Senior Fellow on Law & Applied Neuroscience, I focused on pain because it is one of the largest social, economic, and legal problems that can be addressed through new insights into the brain. Pain imaging can be a test case for how neuroscience can contribute positively to law and culture. (Full conference video proceedings are available here.) Please read on below! Continue reading