Carrying out justice involves a bunch of tough decisions. Juries, judges, witnesses, attorneys, victims and the media all play different parts. Amid the cacophony of conflicts and uncertainties that make up our justice system, the stakeholders have at least one thing in common: brains. In this interview, Dr. Pate Skene explains how those brains take shortcuts and succumb to biological influences that lead to errors. For example, judges make much harsher parole decisions when hungry. Skene says eyewitnesses, in particular, are “one of the worst kinds of evidence you can have,” yet juries give a lot of weigh to them. Beyond helping us understand mistakes, neuroscience puts questions of free will, responsibility and punishment in a new light. Join as Dr. Skene explores how the law and neurobiology intersect.

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