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Morse Studies Links in Brain, Behavior and Crime
BY AISHA MOHAMMED
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FACULTY NEWS FLASH
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Neuroscience “is only useful if it teaches us something about human behavior that we don’t already know,” says Morse. As an example, he cites Roper v. Simmons case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional for 16 and 17 year olds. The American Medical Association presented neurological evidence that showed adolescent brains are, on average, anatomically immature. While neuroscience did give us a “partial causal story” about why adolescents behave less rationally than adults, says Morse, it told us what we already knew from common sense and behavioral evidence — adolescents are less rational and therefore less responsible than adults. Also, the evidence did not show that “they are necessarily insufficiently rational.”

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