And already, neuroscience had been making its way into the courts. A study by Duke bioethicist Nita Farahany revealed that neuroscience evidence was twice as likely to appear in a judicial opinion in 2008 as compared to just three years earlier. The Supreme Court cited developmental neuroscience to prohibit the death penalty for crimes committed as a juvenile. Mental health courts and veterans courts, which make accommodations for people with brain trauma and PTSD, were cropping up around the country.
When a dieter refrained from eating junk food, activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex revved up, but when a dieter gave in to temptation, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex remained conspicuously quiet. The researchers concluded that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex acted as a taskmaster, tempering activity in more appetitive brain regions so the dieters could exert self-control.