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  • September 11, 2011
  • 01:06 PM

Compositionality and Bilingualism

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Languages evolve over time under a pressure to be learned by a new generation. Does learning two languages at once effect this pressure? My experiment says ... maybe.... Read more »

  • September 9, 2011
  • 02:04 PM

The importance of sentimental landscapes

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

When I was packing for the move from Chicago to Cambridge, I figured the transition would be easy for two reasons, both of which are related. First, the two cities share a temperate climate. I grew up in Wisconsin and love—absolutely love—the changing seasons. For example, I’m not merely unfazed by below zero weather, I [...]... Read more »

  • September 9, 2011
  • 01:00 PM

Ingroups, Identities, and In-Memoriams: Why We Must Remember Never To Forget

by Melanie T in PsySociety

It has been ten years since September 11th, 2001. When we remember the events of that day, we often tend to focus on how well we remember all of the seemingly-minor details (despite evidence that these memories may not be quite so accurate). What we were wearing. What we ate for breakfast. Where we were sitting while we watched the news coverage.

Our practically-obsessive focus on these memories actually indicates much more than we realize. Despite mankind’s ever-present focus on the wi........ Read more »

Sahdra, B., & Ross, M. (2007) Group Identification and Historical Memory. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(3), 384-395. DOI: 10.1177/0146167206296103  

Baumeister, R. F., & Hastings, S. (1997) Distortions of collective memory: How groups flatter and deceive themselves. In J. W. Pennebaker, D. Paez, , 277-293. info:/

Milgram, S. (1963) Behavioral Study of obedience. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371-378. DOI: 10.1037/h0040525  

  • September 9, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Would “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” still work?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Catchy slogans, phrases and themes have long been the hallmark of a persuasive courtroom presentation. But new research throws a question on whether they are as effective as we would like to think. Researchers compared the effect of both logos (brands) and slogans (phrases) on subjects. They discuss past research where showing the Apple logo resulted [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: “You know you want to trust me!”
Simple Jury Persuasion: I’m too smart to fall for that!
Simpl........ Read more »

Laran, J., Dalton A., & Andrade, E. (2011) The curious case of behavioral backlash: Why brands produce priming effects and slogans produce reverse priming effects. . Journal of Consumer Research. info:/

  • September 8, 2011
  • 11:12 AM

No Blank Slate (Part 2): In Closing, Treat Your Jurors as Instrumental Arguers

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

Your case has finally gone to the jury, and the panel is now ensconced in the jury room. What are they doing in there? Are they carefully and logically arguing the merits of your case, considering all sides until the truth wins out? If you have ever watched a closed-circuit feed of mock jury deliberations, or talked in detail with actual jurors after a verdict, you know the answer is, "No, not really doing that." What they are likely doing instead is using argument instrumentally, as a tool ........ Read more »

Mercier H, & Sperber D. (2011) Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory. The Behavioral and brain sciences, 34(2), 57. PMID: 21447233  

  • September 8, 2011
  • 09:01 AM

The Language Evolution Tree: Yet more evidence

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

More evidence that acacia trees had a role to play in the evolution of langauge.... Read more »

Sean Geraint. (2011) Language Evolution and the Acacia Tree. Speculative Grammarian, Vol CLXII(4). info:/

  • September 7, 2011
  • 05:15 PM

Smashing Daniel Dennett’s Spell

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Several years ago I read Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006). It wasn’t easy. This is not because Dennett’s ideas and arguments are difficult (they aren’t). It is because I don’t care for Dennett’s style. While I can overlook stylistic deficiencies if the substance is solid, in this case I [...]... Read more »

  • September 7, 2011
  • 12:13 PM

Whose Name Is It Anyway?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would [...]

... Read more »

Goldin, C., & Shim, M. (2004) Making a Name: Women's Surnames at Marriage and Beyond. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18(2), 143-160. DOI: 10.1257/0895330041371268  

Noordewier, M., Horen, F., Ruys, K., & Stapel, D. (2010) What's in a Name? 361.708 Euros: The Effects of Marital Name Change. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 32(1), 17-25. DOI: 10.1080/01973530903539812  

  • September 7, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Surprise! The minority rules

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We use research a lot on this blog to identify potential areas for practice improvement. Sometimes we point to ‘fun’ research that has utility in the courtroom. Research is our friend. Except when it just ticks us off. It’s happened before and it will likely happen again. It certainly is happening now. Scientists at New York’s Rensselaer [...]

Related posts:Surprise! How your brain reacts to the unexpected

Choosing to either disgust your jurors or tick them of........ Read more »

J. Xie, S. Sreenivasan, G. Korniss, W. Zhang, C. Lim, & B. K. Szymanski. (2011) Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities. Phys. Rev. E 84, 011130 (2011). arXiv: 1102.3931v2

  • September 6, 2011
  • 11:58 AM

Freedom to Riot: On the Evolution of Collective Violence

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

From London to the Middle East riots have shaken political stability. Are the answers to be found in human nature? Police cars were overturned and shops looted as the mob descended on the city’s central square. Rioters tore the police station’s outer door off its hinges and “used it as a battering ram” to break [...]

... Read more »

Marco Lagi, Karla Z. Bertrand, & Yaneer Bar-Yam. (2011) The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East. New England Complex Systems Institute. arXiv: 1108.2455v1

  • September 6, 2011
  • 10:42 AM

No Blank Slate (Part 1): In Opening, Treat Your Jurors as Motivated Reasoners

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

The Plaintiff's opening statement in the medical malpractice trial began predictably: This is a case about "incompetence," and "arrogance," and "dangerous decisions," jurors heard. But rather than fostering even an initial leaning against the doctor, this message brought about a defensive response. Jurors were left feeling that all their stereotypes about medical lawsuits and plaintiff attorneys were confirmed, and as they listened, they generated responses, reasoning that "doctors are only h........ Read more »

  • September 5, 2011
  • 05:25 PM

No Bull: The Mithras Cult & Christianity

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

In his 1880 Hibbert Lecture on the history of early Christianity, Ernest Renan commented: “I sometimes permit myself to say that, if Christianity had not carried the day, Mithraicism would have become the religion of the world.” While it is doubtful that a Persian-influenced mystery cult that appealed primarily to Roman soldiers, officials, and aristocrats [...]... Read more »

  • September 5, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Hot hazy weather, violent behavior and the expert witness

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

It’s really hot right now in Texas. We are in extreme drought. This weekend things became heated on my neighborhood email list when someone asked if our HOA had relaxed standards since so many lawns were brown. Multiple others took offense. Finally, someone recommended a cool glass of water for everyone. What’s amusing is that [...]

Related posts:When cross-examination [of the expert witness] offends
But, your honor! That witness was drunk!
The Jury Expert for May 2010 is uploaded
... Read more »

  • September 3, 2011
  • 04:00 AM

Tropical Storm Lee Approaches

by Paige Brown in From The Lab Bench

I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Classes have started, and summer is coming to a close. We know what that means: it is hurricane season down in the Bayou. Talk about needing to be prepared and have a plan for potential dangerous situations. ... Read more »

Holland, G.J. (1993) "Ready Reckoner" Chapter 9, Global Guide to Tropical Cyclone Forecasting. WMO/TC-No. 560, Report No. TCP-31, World Meteorological Organization. info:/

  • September 2, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Don’t ruin the ending for me!

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

I love to read. Now, I tend to read while driving courtesy of my iPod and recorded books. And when this study first came out, I was appalled. ‘Stories are not spoiled by spoilers’. I knew intuitively that it was not true. I want to be pulled along, drawn in and surprised by a good [...]

Related posts:Voir Dire Tip: Are you ‘transported’ by a good story?
“I can look into his eyes and just tell he is lying”
Faulty Logic: Cannabis, psychosis and fish oil
... Read more »

Leavitt JD, & Christenfeld NJ. (2011) Story Spoilers Don't Spoil Stories. Psychological science. PMID: 21841150  

  • September 1, 2011
  • 03:56 PM

Are tightly-knit communities best for obesity prevention?

by Megan Carter in Verdant Nation

I am re-posting a guest-post that I wrote in June for my friend and colleague, Travis Saunders, on his blog: 'Obesity Panacea'. I was too lazy then to put the whole thing up on my own blog...Alas, I've come back to it as potential thesis material, so have decided to take the two minutes to format it. You can also view the original post here. I am hoping that researchers and the public at large are starting to get past the ‘blame the victim’ perspective of obesity. True, choice and prefe........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2011
  • 02:00 PM

Spare or share? Farm practices and the future of biodiversity

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

Farming giveth and farming taketh away. Let’s parse that statement: Farming provides food—that much is obvious. But farming also gobbles up land that would otherwise accommodate endless biodiversity and beneficial ecosystem services. To counter the ecological harm done by farms, we have two options. One is to make farming more ecosystem friendly. Known as land [...]... Read more »

Ben Phalan, Malvika Onial, Andrew Balmford, & Rhys E. Green. (2011) Reconciling Food Production and Biodiversity Conservation: Land Sharing and Land Sparing Compared. Science, 333(6047), 1289-1291. info:/10.1126/science.1208742

  • September 1, 2011
  • 11:36 AM

Guess You Had to be There (Prefer Present Witnesses Over Absent Ones)

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm - The recent trial involved two New York City police officers accused of raping a fashion executive, after helping her out of a taxi at the end of a night of drinking. Without physical evidence (the department's search of the apartment yielded nothing, and the accuser herself had showered), the case depended on the credibility of testimony. A key moment came when earlier grand jury statements were entered into the record, as John Eligon of The New York Times describes the........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2011
  • 06:27 AM

Testing the meaning of the Calatagan pot inscriptions

by nath in Imprints of Philippine Science

In my previous post I have presented the ‘tentative’ reading of the Calatagan pot inscription by Guillermo and Paluga [1]. In this post, I write the authors’ test that made them endorse their reading.

The authors think that the reading should be tested by the following: 1) lexical coherence and simplicty; 2) historical emplotment; and 3) sociological mapping or embeddedness.... Read more »

  • September 1, 2011
  • 03:06 AM

Men, Women and Spatial Intelligence

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Do men and women differ in their cognitive capacities? It's been a popular topic of conversation since as far back as we have records of what people were talking about.While it's now (almost) generally accepted that men and women are at most only very slightly different in average IQ, there are still a couple of lines of evidence in favor of a gender difference.First, there's the idea that men are more variable in their intelligence, so there are more very smart men, and also more very stupid on........ Read more »

Hoffman M, Gneezy U, & List JA. (2011) Nurture affects gender differences in spatial abilities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21876159  

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