Advanced Interdisciplinary Research in Law and Politics

  • SDG8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • SDG10 Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • SDG16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Shozo Ota
Graduate Schools for Law and Politics
Junko Kato
Graduate Schools for Law and Politics
The Center for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research, established in 2017 inside the Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, the University of Tokyo, has been promoting researches that cut across disciplines of legal, human, social, and natural sciences. Interdisciplinary collaboration is crucial for solving contemporary challenges brought about by rapid technological and scientific developments and globalization. Working with scholars in the natural sciences, we have launched three projects and are attempting to advance our understanding of human behavior by fully integrating interdisciplinary studies into our knowledge and findings in the disciplines of law and politics. Our projects are as follows.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) experiments on human behaviors in society Greater attention is being paid to the neural correlates of human social behavior. However, investigation has been significantly constrained by the difficulty in conducting experiments to learn about implications that are relevant to the real society. We have incorporated specialized knowledge in law and political science and devised an experimental framework to simplify and replicate actual problems. We specifically examine the role of reasoning and emotion when ordinary people make legal judgements, in order to explore problems facing a citizen judge system. In collaboration with the Intelligent Systems & Informatics Laboratory (Professor Yasuo Kuniyoshi), we have investigated the neural correlates of systematic bias in social decision making. Takeshi Asamizuya (Assistant Professor) is mainly in charge of implementation of this project.
Examining the Nature of Human Sociality in Research on Dog-training Programs in Correctional Institutions The evolutionary basis of human nature attracts serious attention as our society is experiencing rapid technological advances and increasing complexity. Many correctional institutions in Europe and North America (i.e., prisons and juvenile schools) have dog-training programs and claim that they are effective in decreasing the recidivism rate of program participants and in facilitating their subsequent adjustment to society. Often those claims are impressionistic and lacking in hard-scientific evidence. Scientific investigation into the effect thereof has yet to be done, partly because an examination based on a random-assignment is virtually impossible. In the face of this difficulty, we have established a research collaboration project with Professor Takefumi Kikusui in veterinary science, who have recently found a recursive increase in the secretion of a brain hormone, oxytocin, which is associated with trust and bonding relationship between humans and dogs. We have specifically examined whether oxytocin has played a role in mediating an growing bond between the boy and the dog, and in improving their social adjustment of program participants in a juvenile school in Japan. Hiroharu Saito (Assistant Professor) is mainly in charge of implementation of this project.
Interdisciplinary studies on evidence-based policy-making The complexities and complications of policy problems in contemporary society require expertise and deep knowledge that cut across multiple disciplines in the social and natural sciences. We have established inter-departmental research collaborations for evidence-based policies and evidence-based law at the University of Tokyo.
Organization of Project
Neuroscience seminar (Professor Daeyeol Lee, Yale Medical School: July 2017)

Research collaborators

Professor Yasuo Kuniyoshi (Graduate School of Information Science and Technology)
Professor Takefumi Kikusui (Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Azabu University)

Related publications

  • Hirofumi Takesue, Carlos Makoto Miyauchi, Shiro Sakaiya, Hongwei Fan, Tetsuya Matsuda, & Junko Kato 2017“Human Pursuance of Equality Hinges on Mental Processes of Projecting Oneself into the Perspectives of Others and into Future Situations,” Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 5878
  • Takeshi Asamizuya, Hiroharu Saito, Ryosuke Higuchi, Go Naruse, Shozo Ota, Junko Kato, Effective Connectivity and Criminal Sentencing Decisions: Dynamic Causal Models in Laypersons and Legal Experts, Cerebral Cortex, 2022;, bhab484,
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