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About the Blog

What is this?

Welcome to an Exercise in Exceptions! Here, we'll take weekly forays into the intersection psychology, law, and science - and how for every rule, there's an exception that can affect the justice in the legal system. Given that much of law and psychological science is written for lawyers and scientists, we are two experimental psychology professors that write for a broad scope of readers, from undergraduates who are just getting interested in how psychology can inform the justice system, to practitioners, academics, and policy-makers that are interested in what we know, and what we don't, about psychology and the law.

Posts are of two primary types: blog posts, and chats. Blog posts are what you're used to seeing on blogs. We'll analyze and discuss topics such as real life cases, exciting new research, how psychology research can be applied to the law, and how psychological science works in general. We may even have guest posts in this format from time to time.

In Chat formats, we'll invite guests into a conversation about some topic we'd like to discuss. This could include fellow researchers talking about their newest work, reactions to real-world events, or folks talking about their experiences in the justice system.

Overall, we'll use this blog to talk about what we know, and what we need to know, to make the justice system fair. To learn more about how the blog works, check out first post, An Exercise in Introductions.

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Popular posts from this blog

You have the right to remain silent....unless you are free to leave

Guest post by Fabiana Alceste.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” These words have likely been burned into our collective consciousness by the ubiquitous and fantastic TV series Law & Order (in my case, Law & Order: SVU). These words are often spoken as Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler handcuff the main suspect of the episode—the last words trail off as they walk offscreen and the show cuts to a commercial break. We know this scene, and we know the words…but why do these warnings exist and for whom are they intended?
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, custodial interrogations are sometimes characterized by the use of police intimidation, trickery or other psychological tactics, a restriction of one’s personal liberty, and a feeling of compulsion to speak against one’s will1. Recognizing this, in 1966’s infam…

An international collaborative replication study

Will and Timothy are joined by guest Dr. Mario Baldassari, for a chat about an international collaboration to replicate a previously published study.
In this chat format, we gather regular authors and guests in Slack and have a moderated conversation, guided by prompts and questions selected in advance. Participants get to respond to each other's points, make comments, and ask each other questions in real-time.
The transcript has been lightly edited.


Will Crozier &#x1F419 Welcome to another Exercise in Exceptions chat! Today we’re joined by Dr. Mario Baldassari to talk about an issue that isn’t directly related to psych and law, but science in general. Mario was recently a part of a team that did an internationally collaborative replication – that is, a large team of researchers across the world ran a previously-published psychology study, to see if it still worked (or how far the effects generalized).
Big international collaborations that produce replications are a bit of a new …

We find the defendant....

If you’ve ever heard the jury foreman give a jury’s decision, you’ll notice that they never say the defendant is “innocent.” Instead, they’ll conclude that the defendant is “not guilty.” Although the terms may sound interchangeable, “not guilty” and “innocent” actually mean two different things. “Not guilty” is a legal conclusion, whereas “innocent” means the person didn’t commit the crime. For example, think of O.J. Simpson. In a court of law, he was found “not guilty” of killing his ex-wife – but if you ask the majority of Americans, they’ll tell you he’s not innocent. Here, we’re going to talk a bit about the distinction between the two conclusions – and why it matters to psychology and law researchers*.

When we say that “not guilty” is a legal decision, we mean that it’s a decision based on criteria described by laws – namely in the U.S., if the prosecutor can convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt. This is based partially on the amount of evidence that points toward the defend…