This past May, then-Visiting Professor of Law Susan Bandes organized a fascinating conference that brought together scholars working in philosophy, neuroscience, neuroeconomics, sociology, psychology, and political science to consider the intersection of legal institutions and human emotion. For example, legal institutions consistently make assumptions about how people individually or collectively respond to new information, assess risks, or decide whom to trust or fear, about what motivates people to forgive or to seek vengeance, or about how to promote or discourage empathy. The conference explored the complex interaction between emotion and social structure to consider both how institutional context affects the experience and expression of emotion, and how emotion norms affect the shape and operation of legal institutions. Included in the proceedings were Chicago faculty members Scott Anderson, Mary Anne Case, Richard Epstein, and Martha Nussbaum. Audio recordings of many of the talks are now available on the conference website.
The conference was sponsored by the University of Chicago Law School, the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, the DePaul University College of Law and the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School.