Tag Archive: science

How to Convince Someone They’ve Committed a Crime

Interrogation-RoomA new study finds that providing true details mixed with a fake event convinces two in three the story was real.

From Pacific Standard

It’s not uncommon for police suspects, worn down after long hours of hostile police interrogation, to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Stranger still, a new report suggests that, with some concrete detail and the strong assertion that they did in fact commit the crime, those suspects might actually believe they’re guilty.

Motivated in part by revelations of major mistakes and outright abuse on the part of police, researchers have spent a lot of time grappling with false confessions in recent years. Among the things criminologists and psychologists have discovered, a good number of suspects in the interrogation room come to actually believe they’ve committed the crime in question—something known as a persuaded false confession. Often, those confessions result from investigators providing specific details of a crime or suggesting ways a crime may have gone down, which psychologists suspect creates a framework a person can unwittingly use to construct false memories, and the ensuing false confession. But how susceptible is the average person to that kind of thinking?

Pretty susceptible, argue Julia Shaw and Stephen Porter. After getting approval from 126 undergraduates, Shaw and Porter contacted their parents for details of emotional events from those students’ childhoods. The researchers first screened out students who’d experienced one of six events—assaulting someone, assaulting someone with a weapon, committing theft, being in an accident, being attacked by an animal, and losing a great deal of money. Next, they told 60 students who’d made it through the screening that they actually had been involved in one of the six events. To bolster their case, they incorporated details from actual events into a description of fictional happenings. (more…)

Solitary Confinement May Dramatically Alter Brain Shape In Just Days, Neuroscientist Says

A solitary cell at Angola prison in the early 1970s

A solitary cell at Angola prison in the early 1970s

From Think Progress

Solitary confinement has been called a “living death,” cruel and unusual, and torture. Studies of the prison practice of placing inmates in a solitary, often concrete windowless cell for 23 hours a day with almost no human contact, have found that the psychological impact is dramatic after just a few days.

A University of Michigan neuroscientist suggested Friday that the physical impact on the brain could be just as significant if not moreso, and could “dramatically change the brain” in just a matter of days. Speaking on a panel about solitary confinement, neuroscientist Huda Akil said inaccess to inmates has prevented much formal study on brain changes while held in confinement. But she said a number of other studies have documented how each of the factors involved in solitary confinement change the physical shape of the brain. The lack of physical interaction with the natural world, the lack of social interaction, and the lack of touch and visual stimulation alone are each “by itself is sufficient to dramatically change the brain,” Akil said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

She said particular parts of the brain that are subject to extreme stress can “actually shrink,” including the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory, spatial orientation, and control of emotions. (more…)

Haunted House- Zombie Research Facility

haunted2From Internationalist Books

For one night only come tour Dr. Graves’ Zombie Research Facility. Witness the exciting medical breakthroughs and social benefits of harnessing zombie labor. Our future is zombies!

October 31st 7pm to 11pm
@ The Hillsborough Rd. Coop
621 Hillsborough Rd. in Carrboro

$5 Under 18
No Onsite Parking- a short walk from downtown Carrboro
(ride a bike or trick or treat your way there)

Benefit For Internationalist Books and
The Weaver Community Housing Association