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Teenage Capital Punishment

The U.S. Supreme Court will later this year hear a case that will use our scientific advantages to determine the outcome. Researchers are looking further into whether a teenager convicted of murder should receive capital punishment or not. J. Anthony Movshon, a neuroscientist from New York University, said " [the] brain data [that we have collected] create [s] reasonable doubt that a teenager can be held culpable for a crime to the same extent that an adult is." The researchers believe that the delayed frontal-lobe maturation of teenagers may affect their ability to make long-term plans and control their impulses, which means that the teenagers convicted of murder may not be completely culpable for their crimes; their brain development (or lack of) may be also to blame. Although much evidence supports this theory, Kagan, a Harvard researcher, logically argues that "if incomplete brains automatically reduce adolescents' capacity to restrain their darker urges, we should be having Columbine incidents every week." The researchers supporting the theory that teenagers shouldn't receive capital punishment for murders tested and found that most teenagers are unable to identify emotion from facial expression due to an undeveloped section of the brain called the amygdala. Due to the fact that the' amygdala is not fully functional in most teenagers, they could also mistake some emotions for threats, which may drive them to murder.
This article will directly affect juveniles convicted of murder, but may also change how society looks at the teenage brain. If the research done does end up being true, then society may see that teenagers are not just like adults, but not because of hormones, because of their underdeveloped brain. In this article, this issue is addressed as a life-or-death problem, which is true because whatever the Supreme Court decides could determine whether some teenagers live or die. I liked …

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