Owen Jones

Owen D. Jones

Professor of Law & Professor of Biological Sciences
Vanderbilt University

Owen D. Jones holds a joint appointment as Professor of Law & Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University. He is a leading scholar on issues at the intersection of law and behavioral biology. Published in scientific as well as legal venues, he is the author of several dozen articles and book chapters. His current empirical research uses brain-imaging (fMRI), primatology and behavioral economics to learn more about how the brain’s varied operations affect behaviors relevant to law. Most recently, he co-discovered with colleagues at Vanderbilt the brain activity underlying decisions of whether to punish someone and, if so, how much. Professor Jones holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biological Sciences. He is director and former president of the Society for Evolutionary Analysis in Law (S.E.A.L.), an international interdisciplinary scholarly organization, whose members focus on issues at the intersection of law, biology and behavior. Before joining the legal academy, Professor Jones clerked for Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and practiced law with the D.C. law firm Covington & Burling. He came to Vanderbilt from Arizona State University, where he was Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar, Professor of Law, Professor of Biology and Faculty Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law, Science, and Technology. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Yale Law School. In 2004, the Gruter Institute awarded Jones the Bene Merenti Award for Outstanding Achievements in Law and Behavioral Research. In 2007, Professor Jones was appointed co-director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Decision Making, which is exploring the relevance of neuroscience to criminal law.