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  • March 2, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 692 views

“My brain made me do it”: A neurolaw update 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written about neurolaw fairly routinely here and recently Science Magazine took a look at what they call “the growing use of neurobiological evidence in criminal trials”. In our own experiences with pretrial research, mock jurors are not often accepting of “my brain made me do it” defenses and will roll their eyes and sometimes […]

Related posts:
Neurolaw Update: Who’s in charge here—me or my brain?
On brains, brain damage, pedophilia and other things we don’t like ........ Read more »

  • February 27, 2016
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,021 views

Sticks and stones (3): How names hurt

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

The shock of the old

Most people in Iceland don’t have family names. Instead, Icelanders’ last names are made from their father or mother’s first name, to which males add the suffix -son (son) and females -dóttir (daughter). This practice can seem strange to outsiders, but it was common throughout Scandinavia until surprisingly recently: laws compelling citizens to adopt heritable family names were only enacted in 1828 in Denmark, 1901 in Sweden, and 1922 in Norway......... Read more »

Baek SK, Kiet HA, & Kim BJ. (2007) Family name distributions: master equation approach. Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics, 76(4 Pt 2), 46113. PMID: 17995066  

Chang, J., Donnelly, P., Wiuf, C., Hein, J., Slatkin, M., Ewens, W., & Kingman, J. (1999) Recent common ancestors of all present-day individuals. Advances in Applied Probability, 31(4), 1002-1026. DOI: 10.1239/aap/1029955256  

Colman, A., Sluckin, W., & Hargreaves, D. (1981) The effect of familiarity on preferences for surnames. British Journal of Psychology, 72(3), 363-369. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1981.tb02195.x  

A. Crook. (2012) Personal Names in 18th-Century Scotland: a case study of the parish of Beith (North Ayrshire). Journal of Scottish Name Studies, 1-10. info:/

Guo, J., Chen, Q., & Wang, Y. (2011) Statistical distribution of Chinese names. Chinese Physics B, 20(11), 118901. DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/20/11/118901  

Shannon, C. (1948) A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27(3), 379-423. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1948.tb01338.x  

Shannon, C. (1951) Prediction and Entropy of Printed English. Bell System Technical Journal, 30(1), 50-64. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1951.tb01366.x  

  • February 26, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 823 views

Spiders, dogs, assassins, beards and the demons  of sleep paralysis (things you want to know)

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We read a lot of articles in order to blog regularly and often find intriguing (not to mention weird, odd, esoteric, freakish) pieces of information to which we do not wish to devote an entire post—yet, also do not wish to hoard the information. At times like these, you will see a collection of the […]

Related posts:
Feeling biased? Just go to sleep and wake up bias-free! 
Lumbersexuals with tattoos: Are they new and improved? 
Do you believe there are Angels and Demons among us?

........ Read more »

  • February 24, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 668 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: What would Jesus do? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

A few years ago we were doing a mock trial in New York City and I saw a Rastafarian street vendor selling coffee cups with WWJD on them in block print. I thought it was odd and so looked more closely to find in teeny tiny letters under WWJD, it said “What would Jung do?”. […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: It’s really pretty black and white….
Simple Jury Persuasion: Analytic or Intuitive?
Simple Jury Persuasion: Christian religious concepts increase racial prejudice ........ Read more »

Ginges J, Sheikh H, Atran S, & Argo N. (2016) Thinking from God's perspective decreases biased valuation of the life of a nonbeliever. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(2), 316-9. PMID: 26711991  

  • February 22, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 832 views

Substance use and other mental health concerns among US  attorneys

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Over the past few years, following a number of high-profile attorney suicides, much more attention has focused on mental health needs of attorneys. The study we are featuring today was funded by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. In short, the authors conclude we need to pay more […]

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Reports of novel or contradictory health research reduces public trust  in science
Lying makes me sick!
Defense Attorneys: More Sisyphus........ Read more »

  • February 9, 2016
  • 12:51 PM
  • 807 views

How language changes the way you hear music

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

In a new paper I, together with Roel Willems and Peter Hagoort, show that music and language are tightly coupled in the brain. Get the gist in a 180 second youtube clip and then try out what my participants did. The task my participants had to do might sound very abstract to you, so let […]... Read more »

  • January 27, 2016
  • 10:43 AM
  • 934 views

21 Study Tips: Steal these Learning Strategies from Master Students

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

Can a bunch of study tips really help you do better in school? It’s annoying, isn’t it? You see them in every class. The students who seem to breeze on through. Coolly killing one test after another. How do they do it? Can you pinch the best study tips from these master students? Yep, you […]
Check out 21 Study Tips: Steal these Learning Strategies from Master Students, an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »

  • January 5, 2016
  • 09:16 AM
  • 1,506 views

We Have Become Exhausted Slaves in a Culture of Positivity

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

We live in an era of exhaustion and fatigue, caused by an incessant compulsion to perform. This is one of the central tenets of the book "Müdigkeitsgesellschaft" (translatable as "The Fatigue Society" or "The Tiredness Society") by the German philosopher Byung-Chul Han. Han is a professor at the Berlin Universität der Künste (University of the Arts) and one of the most widely read contemporary philosophers in Germany. He was born in Seoul where he stu........ Read more »

Byung-Chul Han. (2015) The Burnout Society. Stanford University Press. info:/

  • January 4, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 778 views

Four (new) ways to identify a liar…. 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve tracked the literature on deception detection for some time now and so were glad to see recent multiple new entries in the pursuit of identifying liars. Rather than blogging about these strategies one at a time, here’s a combined entry to let you know about them all in a single post. Are children good […]

Related posts:
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
“Everyday liars” and “Prolific liars”
Do great liars know how to tell if you’re lying to them? (Yes, they ........ Read more »

Fenn, E., Blandón-Gitlin, I., Coons, J., Pineda, C., & Echon, R. (2015) The inhibitory spillover effect: Controlling the bladder makes better liars. Consciousness and Cognition, 112-122. DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.09.003  

  • December 25, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 584 views

Here’s an updated version of the meteorologists ‘Santa Tracker’

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’re taking a break until 2016 so we’ll see you in January! Most of us grew up watching the weather report on TV and seeing a NORAD ‘Santa Tracker’ showing where Santa and his sleigh were on their way for a long night of work. But this is 2015 and if you celebrate the holiday, […]

Related posts:
 Psychopaths cannot understand punishment—what does that mean for the courtroom?
fMRIs and Persuasion: Did anyone tell the jurors?
A new neurolaw caveat to minimize punishmen........ Read more »

Hougaard A, Lindberg U, Arngrim N, Larsson HB, Olesen J, Amin FM, Ashina M, & Haddock BT. (2015) Evidence of a Christmas spirit network in the brain: functional MRI study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 26676562  

  • December 21, 2015
  • 01:58 PM
  • 1,187 views

Tattoos as a restorative act (for college-aged women anyway) 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We write a lot about tattoos here—perhaps because we have Millennial aged kids and at least half of them have tattoos.  Okay, more than half. The meaning of tattoos has changed over the years and there seems little stigma still associated with them any longer. The authors of new research on college students (2,394 of […]

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Ponytails, earworms, tattoos on college women,  and emoticons
The new bumper sticker? Tattoos in the courtroom
Lumbersexuals with tattoos: Are they n........ Read more »

Koch, J., Roberts, A., Armstrong, M., & Owen, D. (2015) Tattoos, gender, and well-being among American college students. The Social Science Journal, 52(4), 536-541. DOI: 10.1016/j.soscij.2015.08.001  

  • December 18, 2015
  • 06:12 PM
  • 989 views

A world by design – even atheists intuitively think the natural world has a designer

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Research over the past few years has shown that many people intuitively think that things in the natural world exist for some ulterior purpose – almost as if they had been designed that way. We have a tendency to agree with statements such as ‘water condenses to moisten the air’, or ‘the sun shines in [Read More...]... Read more »

  • December 14, 2015
  • 03:49 PM
  • 955 views

Self-Explanation: A Good Reading Strategy for Bad Texts (& Good)

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

One of the important study skills we need in our increasingly technology driven world is the ability to learn from hard-to-understand text. Maybe you’re trying to grasp a biology textbook chapter on sexual reproduction. Or perhaps you’re reading articles on the web to figure out how to extend your home network by repurposing an old…
Check out Self-Explanation: A Good Reading Strategy for Bad Texts (& Good), an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »

  • December 9, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,188 views

The Mobile Phone Problem Use Scale and how much you really  use your smartphone

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us don’t know how much we rely on smartphone use and this is likely a very important piece of information to help us understand why it’s so very hard for many jurors to stay away from their phones while serving jury duty. While only a small study (29 participants between the ages of […]

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The NoMoPhobia Scale (NMP-Q): What  happens when you are without your smartphone
More than half of your potential jurors have  smartphones now
Stop looking at your smartphone........ Read more »

  • December 4, 2015
  • 12:02 PM
  • 726 views

Ponytails, earworms, tattoos on college women,  and emoticons

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here it is, our last 2015 collection of things you may find intriguing to know (or not) that we found in our travels but to which we do not choose to devote an entire post. For the most part, these tidbits are based in scientific research and have helped some academic somewhere to obtain tenure. […]

Related posts:
Lumbersexuals with tattoos: Are they new and improved? 
Tattoos: When should you clean up your witness?
“Glasses can’t hide neck tattoos”


... Read more »

  • December 3, 2015
  • 10:09 AM
  • 1,190 views

Conspiracy theories flourish when people feel like things are slipping out of control

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

You young ‘uns may not remember the dark days of 1999, when the imminent arrival of the millennium was met with a fair degree of fear and trepidation. And it wasn’t just your usual end-times hysteria. There was actually some real concern that a software bug – the infamous Y2K bug – a could cause [Read More...]... Read more »

  • November 18, 2015
  • 05:49 PM
  • 1,049 views

Sticks and stones (2): How names work

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

A stranger in the village On immigrating to Sweden, migrants are given the option of exchanging their current last name for one that sounds a little more Swedish. The process is administered by the Patent- och registreringsverket – the Patent and Registration Office (PRV) – and of the many rules it enforces, an important one requires that anyone wanting to adopt a Swedish surname prove their […]... Read more »

Brown, P. F., Pietra, V. J. D., Mercer, R. L., Pietra, S. A. D., & Lai, J. C. (1992) An estimate of an upper bound for the entropy of English. Computational Linguistics, 18(1), 31-40. info:/

Shannon, C. (1948) A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27(3), 379-423. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1948.tb01338.x  

  • November 18, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 744 views

The Motivation to Express Prejudice Scale 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We hear a lot more these days about covert or “modern prejudice” than we do about plain old overt prejudice. So it’s a little surprising to see this measure but it makes sense. There are some people who do want to express prejudice and here is a scale you can use to measure their wishes […]

Related posts:
Detecting Deception Using the Law of Sufficient Motivation
The Bias Awareness Scale 
The Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale 


... Read more »

Forscher PS, Cox WT, Graetz N, & Devine PG. (2015) The motivation to express prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(5), 791-812. PMID: 26479365  

  • November 15, 2015
  • 06:00 PM
  • 1,444 views

Critical Thinking Skills: What are They and How Do I Get Them?

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

Critical thinking is often touted as a superior way to confront the issues one faces. But what is critical thinking, really? How is it done?   Can anyone do it, or are Spock-like mental abilities required? Critical thinking is sometimes talked about as a near-mystical skill that exercises untapped parts of your brain. The supposed…
Check out Critical Thinking Skills: What are They and How Do I Get Them?, an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »

  • November 13, 2015
  • 04:24 PM
  • 1,187 views

Make people uncertain then remind them about God, and they become more fearful of sin

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

There’s plenty of research about suggesting that feeling uncertain can increase the strength of belief in god in different ways. But what’s not clear is whether belief in god reduces the ill effects of uncertainty, or is a response to it. One theory is that a belief in God provides a kind of reassurance, which [Read More...]... Read more »

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