Would communicating the neuroscience of crime nudge the public to offend?

Blakey_Robert
Would communicating the neuroscience of crime nudge the public to offend?
Supervisor: Mr Robert Blakey, University of Oxford
 
This study aims to evaluate the impact of criminal justice policies informed by neuropsychology, which has tremendous implications for the real world. As a new way of explaining criminal behaviour, neuroscience could make offenders appear less blameworthy but more likely to reoffend. Neuroscience could also be used to screen and treat potential offenders. However, if crime is blamed on the brain, people may feel less morally responsible for their own wrongdoings and therefore may be more likely to offend. Hence this project will assess the potential for criminal justice policies based on neuroscience to backfire, making people more (rather than less) likely to offend. This hypothesis will be tested by running an experiment in which participants are given the opportunity to violate social norms.
 
Mr Robert Blakey is a PhD student at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford in England. He also holds a BA in Experimental Psychology and an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice. His main research interests are whether one day criminal behaviour will be treated like a brain-based cancer, rather than punished like evil, and the role of neuroscience in convincing the public to support such policy changes. He is researching this using public opinion experiments at the National Theatre and Science Museum in London.