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Taxi Drivers - Mental Illness and Work - Neuroscience and the Law

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 13 December 2011

London Taxi drivers have to learn 25 000 streets and 20 000 landmarks to qualify and get the Knowledge. New research by Professor Eleanor Maguire from University College London has followed trainee taxi drivers over the years they learn the knowledge and found an area of their brains important for memory and navigation grows in response to learning. Does this mean all our brains have this plastic capacity?

Should you disclose if you have any mental health problems to your employer? Listeners give their opinion and Seaneen Molloy, author of the Secret Life of a Manic depressive talks about her experiences of going back to work.

The Royal Society publishes its latest Brain Waves report on Neuroscience and the Law. Claudia explores what the latest developments in neuroscience could mean for the legal process and asks what kind of new brain based information might be submissible as evidence in court? What are the ethical and legal issues raised by the possibility of predicting criminal behaviour? Could sentencing and probation decisions be influenced by a better knowledge of the brain basis for certain kinds of behaviours? Professor of psychology, Nick Mackintosh and Joanna Glynn, QC discuss what this means for our understanding of decision-making, notions of free will and responsibility and the law.

Producer: Pam Rutherford.

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