HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Understanding biological foundation of human behavior critical to improving laws

Laws and public policy will often miss their mark until they incorporate an understanding of why, biologically, humans behave as they do, scholars from Vanderbilt and Yale universities argue in the March issue of Columbia Law Review.

"The legal system tends to assume that either people are purely rational actors or that their brains are blank slates on which culture and only culture is written. The reality is much more complicated and can only be appreciated with a deeper understanding of behavioral biology," said Vanderbilt law professor and biologist Owen Jones. He co-authored the article with Timothy Goldsmith, Yale professor emeritus of molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

All laws at their foundation are designed to influence human behavior, from how we interact with one another, to how we relate to our own property and that of others, to how government agencies interact with each other and with citizens, Jones said.

When developing laws, legislators and legal scholars have traditionally relied heavily on the social sciences, such as economics, psychology and political science, often responding to the popular or political trends of their time. They have rarely looked to incorporate the latest findings from fields such as biology, neuroscience and cognitive psychology, which have grown exponentially in recent years and have shed brand new light on how the human brain is structured and how it influences behavior.

One reason for this imbalance, Jones believes, is a false public assumption that acknowledging biological causes of behavior somehow denigrates human free will or minimizes the importance of social and cultural conditions.

"It may follow from demonstrably false dichotomies, such as 'nature versus nurture,' taking misleading hold in the public mind," he said. "It may also follow from a variety of misunderstandings about how genes, environments and evolutionary processes interact with implications for beha
'"/>

Contact: Melanie Catania
melanie.catania@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-2706
Vanderbilt University
14-Mar-2005


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Understanding why C. difficile causes disease -- its hungry
2. Understanding the global carbon budget -- Woods Hole Research Center expert provides insights
3. Understanding occupational safety and health issues of nanotechnology
4. Understanding the Arctic -- NSF-funded expeditions cover new ground in climate science
5. Understanding climate change: Public forum in Philadelphia next week
6. Understanding food nutrition labels challenging for many people
7. Understanding of cell protection mechanism points to therapies to prevent heart attacks and strokes
8. Understanding the life of C. elegans
9. Drawing a crowd: Understanding the signals that bring inflammatory cells into the lung
10. Jane Lubchenco receives the 2005 AAAS Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award
11. Understanding the oceans microbes is key to the Earths future

Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/17/2014)... Orange, NJ. April 16, 2014. Kessler Foundation has ... $1.8 million from the Department of Defense Spinal ... is principal investigator for the randomized, double-blinded, controlled, ... improve bone and muscle strength after spinal cord ... Performance & Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation. Two ...
(Date:4/17/2014)... N.M. A credit-card-sized anthrax detection cartridge developed at ... business makes testing safer, easier, faster and cheaper. ... anthrax, is commonly found in soils all over the ... in both humans and animals. The bacteria can survive ... B. anthracis may occur through skin contact, ...
(Date:4/17/2014)... Kansas State University engineer has developed a patented ... improvised explosive devices. The same technique could help ... Steven M. and Kay L. Theede chair in ... engineering, and his research team have created a ... in car trunks. The distance detection method ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Kessler Foundation awarded Department of Defense grant for spinal cord injury research 2Pocket-sized anthrax detector aids global agriculture 2Pocket-sized anthrax detector aids global agriculture 3Patented research remotely detects nitrogen-rich explosives 2
(Date:1/15/2014)... IPSWICH, England , January 15, 2014 ... to win races on the Formula 1 track could help ... between McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT), Stowhealth (a GP surgery based ... funded by healthcare provider Simplyhealth. Telemetry technology, which ...
(Date:1/15/2014)... January 15, 2014 2013 was a ... Brain State Technologies®. They saw continued independent research led ... who were awarded a $1 million grant from the ... “Brain and Behavior” a peer reviewed journal, Amy Grant ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... Carahsoft and CDS Federal Services have ... at 2pm EST (11am PST), “Natural Language Processing: Converting ... how technology can turn raw, heterogeneous data into actionable ... The online webinar will last approximately one hour. , ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... 2014 The largest international professional organization of ... therapeutic derivatives thereof has endorsed an educational program ... the challenges of adulterated herb and botanical products. ... The Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Formula 1 Technology Tackles Obesity in Unique Healthcare Partnership 2Formula 1 Technology Tackles Obesity in Unique Healthcare Partnership 3Formula 1 Technology Tackles Obesity in Unique Healthcare Partnership 4Dynamic Innovative Technology Showcased at Scottsdale Company’s Open House 2Dynamic Innovative Technology Showcased at Scottsdale Company’s Open House 3Webcast - Natural Language Processing: Converting Raw Data into Actionable Knowledge – Hosted by Carahsoft and CDS Federal Services 2World's Largest Group of Medicinal Plant Researchers Endorses ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program 2World's Largest Group of Medicinal Plant Researchers Endorses ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program 3World's Largest Group of Medicinal Plant Researchers Endorses ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program 4World's Largest Group of Medicinal Plant Researchers Endorses ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program 5World's Largest Group of Medicinal Plant Researchers Endorses ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program 6World's Largest Group of Medicinal Plant Researchers Endorses ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program 7World's Largest Group of Medicinal Plant Researchers Endorses ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program 8
Cached News: