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Duke Experts Join Alan Alda to Discuss 'Brains on Trial'

Program to be broadcast on WUNC-TV Thursday night

brains on trial

Duke's Nasher Museum of Art was transformed into a television sound stage Wednesday afternoon for a new PBS program that considers how advances in neuroscience may affect the criminal justice system.

Four Duke professors joined actor and science journalist Alan Alda to discuss issues raised in his series, "Brains on Trial," which began airing nationally on Wednesday evening. Nita Farahany, Ahmad Hariri, Scott Huettel and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong considered questions raised by four video clips from the series. These ranged from whether brain scans can show if a person is lying to how well the brain can recall faces it sees only briefly and whether younger criminals should be sentenced differently because their brains are still developing the capacity for self-control.

Duke students, faculty and visitors watched as five cameras filmed the discussion within the Nasher auditorium. They also participated in a question-and-answer session with the four Duke experts immediately after the program finished. Outside the museum's door, a production truck captured the action for UNC-TV, which organized the event with the series' producers and Duke officials. At 10 p.m. Thursday, the station's North Carolina NOW program will air an edited version of Alda's discussion with the panelists.

Pictured below, Alan Alda talks with Duke professors Ahmad Hariri (back to camera), Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Scott Huettel prior to the taping.  Photos by Megan Morr/Duke University Photography


brains on trial