Neuroscience and the Law

Neuroscience and the Law

As far back as he can remember, Randy Hopper has had a curiosity and passion for neuroscience and the human brain. In tandem with building a successful legal practice, over the past three decades, Mr. Hopper has independently researched and studied the human brain, advances in neuroscience, and the possible implications of some of the more recent neurological discoveries, especially neuroimaging technologies.  To that end, Mr. Hopper has been astounded by the tremendous leaps and bounds that have been made in the field of neuroscience over the past few decades. Such discoveries are having a profound effect on the interaction between neuroscience and the law and are calling for a new ethic to guide decision-making by judges, lawyers and policy makers.

Specifically, Mr. Hopper is interested in the many probable implications these advances will have on business ethics, the civil & criminal justice system, litigation strategy, and predictions and explanations of behavior, which were not previously available until the recent emergence of a greater understanding of the way the brain functions and dysfunctions.  Mr. Hopper is working to implement knowledge of these new discoveries into his own law practice, as well as into the substance and curriculum of his lectures at various institutions of higher education.

Mr. Hopper’s studies have led him to the works of several leading neuroscientists, including Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University; Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D., Director, Sage Center for the Study of Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara; and Antonio Damasio, Professor of Neuroscience, University of Southern California.

In April of 2013, Mr. Hopper had the honor of being invited as a guest lecturer at the Haslem School of Business at the University of Tennessee, lecturing on “Capitalism, Markets and Ethics – the Insights and Implications of Neuroscience”; and, in October of 2014, Mr. Hopper was invited to speak on “Neuroscience in the Coming Decades: Implications for the Law, Public Policy and Ethics”, in a colloquium at the UT College of Law and College of Arts and Sciences.

Additionally, over the past few years, Mr. Hopper has been working closely with Jerrold Vitek, MD, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Neurology, Stephen Haines M.D., Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, Kamil Urgurbil, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Brain Imaging and Magnetic Resonance at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Francis Shen, a McKnight Land-Grant Professor and Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota, and other of University of Minnesota Departments in the medical sciences (including psychiatry, and neuroscience research) to develop a major initiative regarding neuroscience and the brain.


For Mr. Hopper’s complete Curriculum Vitae click here.


Recommended Reading:

Damasio, Antonio R. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. New York: Putnam, 1994. Print.

Lawrence, Paul R., and Nitin Nohria. Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002. Print.

Doidge, Norman. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. New York: Viking, 2007. Print.

Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Print.

Gazzaniga, Michael S. The Ethical Brain. New York: Dana, 2005. Print.

Schwartz, Jeffrey, and Sharon Begley. The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. New York: Regan /HarperCollins Publ., 2002. Print.

Williams SCP and Deisseroth K.  Optogenetics. PNAS. October 2013.

Chung K, Deisseroth K.  CLARITY for mapping the nervous system. Nature Methods. June 2013. 10(6):508-13.

Schwartz, Michael with London, Anat.  Neuroimmunity: A New Science That Will Revolutionize How We Keep Our Brains Healthy and Young. New Haven & London:  Yale Univeristy Press, 2015. Print.



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