The Implications of Behavioral Biology for Law: Evolutionary Perspectives

Wednesday, December 7, 2005 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union

Society uses law to encourage people to behave differently than they would behave in the absence of law. This fundamental purpose makes law highly dependent on a sound understanding of the multiple causes of human behavior. The better that understanding, the better law can achieve social goals with legal tools. In this lecture, Prof. Jones will argue that many long-held beliefs about where behavior comes from are rapidly becoming obsolete as a consequence of developments in the various fields constituting behavioral biology. By helping to refine law's understandings of behavior's causes, he will argue, behavioral biology can help to improve law's effectiveness and efficiency.

Listen to Professor Jones' interview on Minnesota Public Radio


David W. Stephens, PhD


Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota

Susan M. Wolf, JD


Professor of Law and Medicine

Chair of Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences

University of Minnesota

Owen D. Jones is Professor of Law and Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University. Prof. Jones specializes in issues at the intersection of law and human behavioral biology, subjects on which he has written, spoken, and taught widely. His numerous publications have appeared in journals of the Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Michigan, Cornell, University of California- Berkeley, and Northwestern law schools. He is the founding President of the Society for Evolutionary Analysis in Law. In 2004, The Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research awarded Prof. Jones the Bene Merenti Award for distinguished achievements in law and biology. 

December 7, 2005