Federica Coppola

Federica Coppola is a criminal lawyer who specializes in neurolaw. She conducted research as a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience from 2017 to 2020. Her project focused on using psychology and neuroscience to understand how emotions impact moral decision-making and social behavior. She aimed to use this scientific knowledge to improve criminal law, theories of punishment, and correctional methods. Her main goal was to shift the focus from punitive approaches to criminal violence and instead emphasize social rehabilitation in the criminal justice system.

She has authored articles and chapters on topics like criminal culpability, excuse doctrines, and the use of neuroscience in law. Her book, "The Emotional Brain and the Guilty Mind," introduces new culpability concepts. She also co-edited "Social Rehabilitation and Criminal Justice."

Federica holds a JD, LLM, and a PhD in law, focusing on a culpability theory informed by neuroscience. She previously worked as a criminal defense attorney and, in 2021, joined the Max Planck Institute for Crime, Security, and Law as a senior researcher. She is now an Assistant Professor of Law at IE Law School in Madrid, Spain, while maintaining her affiliation with the Max Planck Institute as a research affiliate.

Federica is the 2017 Robert A. Burt Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

Project Title

Reinventing Criminal Justice with Social and Affective Neuroscience

Paul Appelbaum 
Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Law, Columbia University

Geraldine Downey
Robert Johnston Niven Professor of Humane Letters in Psychology, Columbia University

Jeffrey Fagan
Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia University

Criminal Law and Neuroscience (L8792)
Columbia Law School, Spring 2019