Macquarie University
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Neurolaw: potential applications of fMRI in courts

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posted on 2022-03-28, 21:23 authored by Daniel Chau
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a neuroimaging technique used to study cognitive functions. Despite fMRI having successfully been used to identify many cognitive capabilities, recent research has not found any successful submissions of fMRI evidence in criminal courts in Australia, Canada, England and Wales. Neurolaw is an interdisciplinary area involving neuroscience, law, and philosophy. Publications in neurolaw and research investigating the applications of fMRI in the legal context are increasing. One probable explanation for the lack of admissions of fMRI in the courts is that this is due to the numerous limitations of fMRI. However, many potential applications of fMRI have been recommended. These include lie detection, testing of guilty knowledge, and mind reading. After evaluating the medical uses of fMRI, analysing court cases involving functional neuroimaging evidence and considering the history of imaging evdence,my thesis identifies several potential areas where fMRI might be applicable within the legal context. My study also suggests a hypothetical case that supports a conceptual claim that fMRI migh have potential to be useful in court. Moreover, the hypothetical case supplies a few directions for further study.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Criminal law and neuroimaging -- Chapter 3. Limitations of fMRI and the current status -- Chapter 4. Discussion -- Chapter 5. Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 88-95

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Philosophy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jeanette Kennett


Copyright Daniel Chau 2015. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (v,95 pages)

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