In this article, we explore the emerging and potential influence of adolescent brain science on law and public policy. The primary importance of this research is in policy domains that implicate adolescent risk taking; these include drug and alcohol use, driver licensing, and criminal justice. We describe the emerging importance of brain science in the Supreme Court and other policy arenas. Finally, we argue that current research cannot contribute usefully to legal decisions about individual adolescents and should not be used in criminal trials at the present time, except to provide general developmental information.

Richard J. Bonnie & Elizabeth S. Scott, The Teenage Brain: Adolescent Brain Research and the Law, 22 Current Directions in Psychological Science 158–161 (2013).