Judges Reduce Sentences if Genetics, Neurobiology Are Blamed

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Researchers from the University of Utah found, in a nationwide survey of 181 state trial judges presented with a hypothetical case, that “evidence presented at sentencing in support of a biomechanics cause” of the convict’s behavior significantly reduced sentencing.

Abstract → 

Aspinwall, L., Brown, Teneille,. Tabery, J., “The Double-Edged Sword: Does Biomechanism Increase or Decrease Judges’ Sentencing of Psychopaths?” Science, August 17, 2012; 337 (6096) 846-849

Related Items:
In Mock Case, Biological Evidence Reduces Sentences

Psychopaths Get A Break From Biology: Judges Reduce Sentences If Genetics, Neurobiology Are Blamed

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]