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How lawyers’ brains function and how neuroscience will boost their capabilities

You may feel smarter just from reading this post!

Much research is underway regarding how our brain operates and what that means for how we can effectively use them (See my posts of Aug. 20, 2006: neuro-economics; and Aug. 16, 2006: another aspect of brain physiology.). I predict that neuro-lawyering, the translation of findings in neuroscience to the practice of law, will become commonplace in the next decade.

Brain research is starting to help us understand some of our emotional reactions (See my posts of Oct. 29, 2006: why pro bono feels good; Feb. 17, 2008: why we pay expensive law firms; June 11, 2007: the sway of well-known brands; and Feb. 12, 2006: the amygdala hijack.).

The more we know about how the brain operates, the better we can understand some of our actions and reactions. Neuroscientists are slowly decoding how the brain handles many things (See my posts of April 19, 2006 and May 3, 2007 #2: choices and conflict between two parts of the brain; May 30, 2006: leadership; May 31, 2006: fear of change; April 19, 2006: our attraction to systemic solutions over personal interaction; April 13, 2007 #3: collaboration; July 10, 2007: our propensity to generalize; March 18, 2005: intuition and decisions; and March 23, 2006: neurophysiological pharmacology and happiness.).

Since thinking and analysis represent two of the most important contributions of lawyers, neuroscience has the potential to significantly effect the way we practice law (See my posts of June 5, 2006: neurological changes as we learn; June 6, 2006: gamma wave bursts precede creativity; June 7, 2006: attention density; May 30, 2006: working memory; and April 23, 2008: schema created by the neocortex.).

Pill-popping to think better may become a common practice for in-house lawyers and the lawyers they retain (See my posts of Feb. 7, 2007: 40 drugs that may enhance cognitive abilities; June 11, 2008 #1: cogniceuticals; Aug. 19, 2007 #2: α2b-adrenoceptor and memory-enhancing drug yohimbine; March 2, 2008 #4: ampakines and the neurotransmitter glutamate; April 22, 2008: caffeine and adenosine; and April 22, 2008: six drugs that may enhance mental abilities.).

Other than swallowing capsules, in-house counsel will start to nurture their neurons in other ways (See my posts of Feb. 25, 2008 and May 2, 2008: exercise jogs a lawyer’s brain; April 27, 2006: brain health and longevity; Aug.19, 2007 #1 and March 25, 2008: transcranial magnetic stimulation; June 11, 2008: glucocorticoids and cognitive degradation from stress; and June 20, 2007#3: arachidonic acid and docosoahexaenoic acids are fat for the brain.).

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