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  • September 7, 2011
  • 05:15 PM
  • 1,143 views

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
  • 1,148 views

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
  • 1,259 views

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
  • 940 views

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
  • 910 views

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
  • 1,407 views

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
  • 1,525 views

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
  • 1,608 views

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
  • 1,390 views

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
  • 1,134 views

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
  • 1,140 views

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
  • 949 views

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
  • 2,020 views

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
  • 1,052 views

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  

  • August 31, 2011
  • 02:30 PM
  • 1,270 views

Mesopotamian Religion: Prelude to Axial Age

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Between 800 and 200 BCE, a remarkable series of sages, mystics, and thinkers gave rise to the transcendental traditions that are known today as “world religions.” In 1949, the German philosopher Karl Jaspers identified several themes common to these traditions and described this  six hundred year period as the Axial Age: “These movements were ‘axial’ [...]... Read more »

Jacobsen, Thorkild. (1963) Ancient Mesopotamian Religion: The Central Concerns. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 107(6), 473-484. info:/

  • August 31, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,310 views

This is what a good leader does not look like

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Narcissists are often gregarious and social upon first meeting. They make a good initial impression. When I was learning about personality disorders in grad school we used to joke that they are wonderful on first dates, and a nightmare after that. But that good first impression wears thin over time and we find ourselves wondering [...]


Related posts:Being a good bragger (but stopping short of narcissism)
Power, Penises and the Role of the Presiding Juror
Mistrials due to lawyers making faces, ........ Read more »

Nevicka, B., Ten Velden, F., De Hoogh, A., & Van V. (2011) Reality at odds with perceptions: Narcissistic leaders and group performance. . Psychological Science. info:/

  • August 30, 2011
  • 02:05 PM
  • 1,650 views

Climbing Mount Chernobyl

by Southern Fried Scientist in Southern Fried Science

Chernobyl Reactor 4, after the explosion In the last century, humans have made dramatic changes to both local and global ecosystems. Some of these changed have been subtle and remained unnoticed until very recently, while others have be so visible and so destructive that their names are indelibly etched into our collective consciousness. [...]... Read more »

Balonov MI. (2007) The Chernobyl Forum: major findings and recommendations. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 96(1-3), 6-12. PMID: 17493715  

Baker, Robert J., & Ronald K. Chesse. (2000) THE CHORNOBYL NUCLEAR DISASTER AND SUBSEQUENT CREATION OF A WILDLIFE PRESERVE. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 1231-1232. info:/

Møller, A., Mousseau, T., de Lope, F., & Saino, N. (2008) Anecdotes and empirical research in Chernobyl. Biology Letters, 4(1), 65-66. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0528  

  • August 29, 2011
  • 01:51 PM
  • 1,283 views

Male Rape Victims: Let's Talk About the Men

by Stephanie Zvan in Almost Diamonds

Fewer men are the victims of rape than women (about 10% of rape victims), but the number is still not small. And we know there's at least one important difference when a rape victim is a man instead of a woman: Men are even less likely to report the crime. Aside from that, though, how well do women's descriptions of rape fit men's experience? Aside from not consistently naming men as victims, do women's discussions of rape do any disservice to male victims?... Read more »

Lipscomb, G., Muram, D., Speck, P., Mercer, B. (1992) Male victims of sexual assault. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 267(22), 3064-3066. DOI: 10.1001/jama.267.22.3064  

  • August 29, 2011
  • 12:08 PM
  • 1,387 views

A spin glass model of cultural consensus

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Does your social network determine your rational rationality? When trying to co-ordinate with a number of other people on a cultural feature, the locally rational thing to do is to go with the majority. However, in certain situations it might make sense to choose the minority feature. This means that learning multiple features might be rational in some situations, even if there is a pressure against redundancy. ... Read more »

STAUFFER, D., CASTELLO, X., EGUILUZ, V., & SANMIGUEL, M. (2007) Microscopic Abrams–Strogatz model of language competition. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 374(2), 835-842. DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2006.07.036  

Castelló, X., Loureiro, L., Eguíluz , V. M., & San Miguel, M. (2007) The fate of bilingualism in a model of language competition. Advancing Social Simulation: The First World Congress, 83-94. info:/

  • August 29, 2011
  • 11:48 AM
  • 1,022 views

When Arguing Damages, "Drop Anchor" Even in Murky Waters

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

This blog frequently covers recent psychological or communications research bearing on legal persuasion, and an important question is how well results hold up when leaving the laboratory and entering the courtroom. One example is the phenomenon of damage "anchoring," or the advantage gained when one side offers an ad damnum number as a starting point for jury deliberations. In a long line of studies in laboratory settings, researchers have demonstrated the process of "anchor and adjust," meani........ Read more »

Shari Seidman Diamond, Beth Murphy, Mary R. Rose, & John B. Meixner. (2011) Damage Anchors on Real Juries . Social Science Research Network. info:/

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