Bunge: So, for example, a child who commits a crime at the age of sixteen - is that a child who should be treated as an adult and put in prison for life? Or is it a child who still has a potential for remediation and still should be considered a child in the eyes of the law?
Narrator: Psychologist Silvia Bunge of the University of California, Berkeley has recently discovered that an adolescent's pre-frontal cortex - the area of the brain involved in decision making - is not as developed as an adult's. Bunge is part of the new Law and Neuroscience Project, which has neurobiologists working to incorporate neurology data into the legal system.
Bunge: So, maybe this research on the developing brain can help us eventually modify laws to take into consideration the fact that the brain is still changing quite a bit throughout our early twenties.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.