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Learning Law Young: Good for the Brain

Posted by: Deborah Fishman

August 28, 2012

“Just studying for the law school entrance exam alters your brain structure—and could make you smarter,” the Wall Street Journal reported today, citing a new research paper by neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley as reported in Frontiers in Neuroanatomy. Among those studied were 24 college students and recent graduates, before and after 100 hours studying for the LSAT over three months.
Three months? What, then, do the brains look like of those who have studied law for around 8 years? Those would be the brains of Jewish day school students, who study Jewish law in both elementary school as well as high school.
Rabbi Michael Broyde, a law professor at Emory University, speaks to this topic in his ELI talk, “Learning Law Young: What Happens When Elementary Schools Teach (Jewish) Law.” He says, “Jewish education is the only educational system I’m aware of that systemically teaches our students to think about law in a law-thinking kind of way and we produce a different product when you finish high school in terms of tools in your toolbox. We analyze hard problems from a law perspective in ways that almost no one else does—not Jewish problems, not law problems, but life problems.”
Watch Professor Broyde’s ELI talk below:

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