Some snippets from around the web that caught my eye this month:
Providentia’s Dr Romeo Vitelli (14 June) highlights a new article in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on Dating Violence, Sexual Assault Linked to Suicide Attempts in Teenagers.
Also recommended, Dr Vitelli’s post on the Tarasoff Decision, the ruling that when a client tells their therapist something that indicates that an identifiable individual may be at serious risk of harm from that client, the therapist has a duty to warn such a potential victims (see also this site).
Renowned eyewitness expert Professor Gary Wells provides some advice for law enforcement about best practice in line-ups (Nieman Watchdog, via CrimProfBlog, 13 June)
Mistaken eyewitness identification is the most common cause of the conviction of innocent people. Since 1992, there have been 200 definitive exonerations of people whose convictions were overturned using forensic DNA testing, and mistaken eyewitness testimony was involved in 154 of those cases. Scientists who study psychology have examined the mistaken identification problem and made recommendations regarding critical safeguards when conducting police lineups that can help prevent these mistakes.
Mind Hacks (23 June) links to an interesting article in Reason Magazine on neuroscience, mental health expert witnesses and insanity pleas:
By testifying in trials as expert witnesses, mental health professionals help us reclassify complicated moral and legal questions as seemingly clear-cut scientific matters. An endless stream of news stories about the latest advances in brain scans and the chemical conquest of personality enhances the experts’ credibility and feeds into a belief that we have come to a sophisticated understanding of the intersection between mind, brain, and behavior. […However,] despite all those popular accounts of high-tech tools for understanding the mind, the real role of psychiatry in the courts is far from objective and unimpeachable.
Carnival Against Sexual Violence 25 is up at Abyss2Hope (15 June).
Violence costs the US $7 billion each year, according to a study from Phaedra Corso, associate professor of health policy at the University of Georgia College of Public Health, and colleagues (University of Georgia Press release, 5 June):
The researchers found that most of the costs of violence stem from males and young adults. Sixty-eight percent of the costs from assaults and 63 percent of the costs from self-inflicted injuries were in males aged 15 to 44… “The most burdensome category is among young males who are victims of assaults with firearms,” Corso said. “So if you want to prevent those costs from occurring, you need to focus on prevention in that particular population.”
The Situationist Blog (7 June) featured a story about a nine-year-old professional video gamer known as Lil’ Poison:
Lil’ Poison is the world’s youngest known professional videogame player. He has earned thousands of dollars in tournaments across the globe, playing and excelling at games like the violent first-person shooter Halo 2. His success has drawn him much attention, as he has appeared on 60 Minutes, hired a publicist, and, in recent months, been the subject of a filmmaker’s documentary–all of which can be read about on his official website. Lambert’s story [in the New York Times] reflects on the possible pressures Lil’ Poison faces and examines the role of his father’s enthusiasm.
Also on the Situationist (21 June), some comments on deindividuation and the perpetrator of April’s Virginia Tech massacre:
In today’s Washington Post, Sari Horwtiz has a fascinating piece on Seung Hui Cho […] According to investigators, Cho, among other things, radically changed his identity in the days and weeks leading up to the shooting. […] His identity modifications included:
- When Cho was ready for his shooting spree, he wrote “I am Ax Ishmael,” an identity thought to be based on the biblical figure Ishmael, who lived as an outcast.
- Taking pictures of himself in poses associated with other persons, including those where he mimics the appearance of Jesus Christ on the cross and where he depicts himself as a soldier.
- Eliminating any traces of his identity as Seung Hui Cho from his computer, such as by deleting his Hotmail account and removing his hard drive.
- Methodically obtained weapons and clothing, such as the cargo pants he wore during the rampage, to become a “soldier.”
Photo credit: bigeoino, Creative Commons License