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By Biocat

A Norwegian court found Anders Behring Breivik to be mentally sound, just as this terrorist who killed 77 people on Utøya Island claimed. American James Holmes, who was studying for a PhD in Neuroscience, killed 12 people at the premiere of the latest Batman film. Are there some similarities in their brains that explain this criminal behavior? Can science predict how dangerous these apparently normal individuals can be?

B·Debate —an initiative of Biocat and the "la Caixa" Foundation— is bringing together 17 national and international experts on 12 and 13 November to debate current scientific knowledge on issues like sociability, responsibility and criminality. The scientific debates, entitled Neuroethics: from Lab to Law. A Scientific Scrutiny of Sociability, Responsibility and Criminality*, are led by doctors Òscar Vilarroya, head of the “Social Brain” Chair at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), and Adolf Tobeña, director of the UAB Department of Psychiatry and Legal Medicine.

Speakers will include Scott Atran, an anthropologist from the University of Michigan who has researched the behavior of suicide terrorists; Joshua Buckholtz, an expert in the genetics and neurobiology of antisocial and psychopathic behavior; and Molly Crockett, a researcher in the neurochemistry of moral judgment.

Neuroethics is an area of science concerned with morality from a neurobiological standpoint. It includes neuroscience and ethics (research on conscience, values that the brain develops, etc.), as well as the neuroscience of ethics (the benefits and risks of researching the brain). Breakthroughs in these fields have a direct impact on the general population and the laws that govern social order. New knowledge helps determine the extent to which the accused are implicated and responsible, as well as their chances for rehabilitation. Moreover, scientific breakthroughs promise preventative measures and new treatments for psychopathic disorders.

Symposium Neuroethics, decoding the root of good and evil

13 November 2012, at 7 pm
CosmoCaixa Barcelona
C/ Isaac Newton, 26

After the scientific debates, there will be a symposium entitled Neuroethics, decoding the root of good and evil**, open to the general public. Registration is free of charge. Send an e-mail with your name, position, organization and contact information to with “Neuroètica" in the subject line.

(*) By invitation only
(**) Symposium open to the general public

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