Federica Coppola

  • Lecturer in Law

Federica Coppola, PhD, is a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University. Her work uses psychological and neuroscientific knowledge about the role of emotions in moral decision-making and social behavior to inform changes in criminal law doctrines, theories of punishment and correctional interventions. Currently, her main focus is to use this branch of scientific findings to reform restrictive and retributive approaches to criminal violence and redirect criminal justice towards social rehabilitation. She has published articles and book chapters on criminal culpability, excuse doctrines, punishment, as well as on the use of neuroscientific tools for forensic purposes.

Dr. Coppola earned a JD summa cum laude from University of Bologna Law School in 2010 and an LLM in Comparative, European, and International Laws from the European University Institute in 2014. She received a PhD in Law from the European University Institute in 2017. In her doctoral dissertation, she developed a general theory of culpability informed by neuroscientific insights into emotions, moral decision-making and antisocial behavior. In 2016, she was a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and at the Penn Center for Neuroscience and Society. She has been a lecturer at the School of Law and Neuroscience at the University of Pavia, as well as a guest lecturer in Criminology at the University of Passau Law School. Prior to joining academia, Federica worked as a criminal defense attorney on cases involving crimes against the person and crimes against public administration.